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UCDC program administrators will help students find an internship placement in a Washington organization whose work is in the area the student wants to study. Students are expected to work three to four days a week in the placement. A list of typical placements might include the following areas of interest and organizations.

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Internships by Major 

Use the following resources to search for internships:

For more information visit the UC Washington Internship Site.

Internship Search Engines

Use the search engines below to search for opportunities in Washington, DC. Search by field and geographic location, and try different keyword searches to find opportunities that fit your interests and goals. Although you may apply directly using these search engines, we recommend that you go to the organization’s website and apply using their application tool whenever possible. 

High Demand Internships

The below internships tend to have earlier deadlines than the UCDC applications. It is allowed for students to begin applying to internships even before being accepted into the UCDC program. 

Other Internship Resources

Applying for Internships and Additional Considerations

Courtesy of UC Santa BarbaraTo find the right internship for your term in Washington, D.C., you should expect to:

  • Research possible internship sites
  • Apply to at least 10 internships
  • Seek approval from the UCDC Program office
  • Secure your internship

The staff at the UC Washington Center will start working with you as soon as they are notified of your acceptance. They will work with you throughout the search process, providing feedback and assistance.

You will have access to the UCDC database, which features 1,200+ organizations in the DC area that offer internships and with whom UCDC has worked.  The database is also a platform where students will document their experience by completing forms and providing feedback.

There will be professional development events through the UCDC mentoring program, Monday Night Forums, and other opportunities.

Following the seven steps listed below, as well as seeking assistance from the UCDC Program staff, can help to ensure that you find the right internship at the right time.

Step 1: Determine your goals

What type of internship experience are you looking for? The questions below can help you narrow your vision:

  • What is my mission/purpose for seeking this internship?
  • What do I hope to gain from this experience? (connections, a future position, insight into what a job in this field is really like, etc.)
  • Do I want to learn something related to my intended career?
  • Do I want my internship to be related to my major?
  • Do I prefer to work in the private sector, government, non-profit, etc.?
  • Would a bigger or smaller organization be best for me?
  • Do I want a company with a formal mentoring program?

Step 2: Research internship sites that align with your goals

It is wise to use as many resources as possible when conducting your internship search.  After you’ve been accepted into the program, the UCDC staff will provide you with lists of available internship positions.  You are also encouraged to perform your own research as well if you have particular interests not reflected in the site listings.

Step 3: Identify the application processes for 10 or more internship sites

Understand what the application entails and the deadlines.  

Step 4: Prepare your application materials and apply

Each internship site will require different application materials.  Listed below are some common application elements and tips.

  • Cover letter – Be sure to state that you are a UC Santa Cruz UCDC participant and include your participation dates.
  • Resume – As much as possible, tailor your resume (and your cover letter) to each organization. Highlight the experiences most relevant to each internship.
  • Writing Sample – Carefully follow the internship site’s instructions. Some sites make very specific writing sample requests, while others simply want to verify that you can write well. For example, you may use your UCDC essay or a research paper you have written for a class as your writing sample.
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation – If sites want more than one letter of recommendation, you may need to obtain letters beyond the ones you used for your UCDC application. If you want to use your UCDC letters of recommendation for an internship application, request them from your UCDC Program Administrator, Alfreda Brock, or your UCSC UCDC Coordinator, Ashley Bayman.
  • When applying, you may use any of the materials (writing sample, letters of recommendation, etc.) that you submitted to UCDC. If you plan to submit your application materials via email, remember to convert your documents to PDFs in order to preserve formatting. Finally, proofread everything carefully (don‘t just spell check)!

Step 5: Follow up

It is critical that you remain proactive with your internship search and record the dates you expect to hear back from each internship site. If you have not heard from a site by the time specified, you must follow up to check your application status and/or set up an interview time (if necessary). Continue to keep track of any information you receive about a new time frame, and continue to follow-up, if needed. If an internship site is not getting back to you in a prompt fashion (allow at least one week for them to respond), you may need to apply to another internship site.

Step 6: Participate in interviews

Most internship sites will want to conduct a phone/virtual interview with you. If you need assistance in preparing for an interview, UCSC Career Success is a fantastic campus resource. Be sure to conduct your interview in a quiet place without music or roommate interruptions. Send a thank you email within 48 hours of your interview.

Step 7: Secure and commit to a placement

Once you are offered a position, you should make a decision promptly (generally within two weeks of receiving an offer). The UCDC Program must officially approve your internship position before you can accept the offer.  Be sure to notify them and provide them with the details of your internship organization and position duties.

If your departure is approaching (within 3 weeks), and you still have not secured an internship, contact your UCDC program coordinator as soon as possible.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT accept an internship if you are not sure that you want it. It reflects poorly on you and the UCDC Program if you commit to a position, only to decline after accepting it.

Last modified: Apr 22, 2024