The Niskanen Center Internship Program offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to gain experience and develop skills in public policy, communications, and federal affairs. Our program provides a collaborative and fast-paced environment on Capitol Hill, with opportunities to network and engage in intellectual discussions with our scholars. We are currently expanding and formalizing our program, and offer both remote and D.C.-based internships.

As an intern at the Niskanen Center, your day-to-day activities may include attending meetings with Hill staff, conducting research and data analysis for policy papers, writing commentaries, or assisting in the development of communications plans for new policy initiatives.

Policy interns will work closely with Niskanen Center scholars to research and write policy papers, website commentaries, and op-eds. Candidates should have a strong understanding of their chosen policy area. We have opportunities available in various policy areas including climate, criminal justice, immigration, family economic security, housing, employment policy, and healthcare policy.

Digital media interns will work closely with the communications team. Responsibilities may include updating the website, tracking media coverage, managing social media accounts, creating graphics, and editing videos. Strong research and writing skills are required, and a degree in English, Public Relations, Journalism, Communications, and/or Marketing is a plus.

Legal interns will work closely with the Niskanen Center legal team. This internship opportunity is designed for rising 2L and 3L law students who are interested in pursuing careers in nonprofit and public interest litigation, particularly in the area of siting and permitting issues related to proposed interstate energy infrastructure projects.

All Niskanen Center interns receive up to a $1,000 monthly stipend.

How to Apply

Summer Semester 2024: May 28, 2024 to August 9, 2024 — Applications are due by March 10, 2024; we will be notifying applicants on a rolling basis with a final deadline of March 25, 2024 for all offers.

Fall Semester 2024: September 10, 2024 to December 6, 2024 — Applications are due by July 15, 2024; we will be notifying applicants on a rolling basis with a final deadline of August 9, 2024 for all offers.

Please note that semester start and end dates are firm, unless you seek prior approval.

Application Submission

Please submit the following using the link below:

  • Resume
  • Identify no more than two policy department interests
  • One writing sample (do not exceed 3,000 words)
  • Explanation about why you are applying to Niskanen (do not exceed 300 words) 

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Equal Employment Opportunity

In order to provide equal employment and advancement opportunities for all individuals, employment decisions at the Niskanen Center are based on merit, qualifications, and abilities. Niskanen Center does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or any other characteristics protected by law. This policy governs all aspects of employment, including selection, job assignment, compensation, discipline, termination, and access to benefits and training. Applicants living abroad/​international applicants are encouraged to apply but will need to be authorized to work in the United States and must be able to work in the United States during the internship to participate.


Please note that if you are placed with us through the Peterson Foundation, you will not be eligible for the Niskanen Center’s monthly stipend, as you will be compensated directly through the Peterson Foundation.

This summer, we will be one of the organizations participating in the Peterson Foundation’s Fiscal Internship Program. The program engages students with fiscal policy by providing them with first-hand research experience. If you have a specific interest in fiscal policy, you may choose to apply to this program and may have the option to be placed at the Niskanen Center.

Niskanen Intern Accomplishments

Among other projects, Niskanen interns have accomplished the following:

  • Spearheaded a research project to inform coalition-building efforts for the climate department
  • Co-wrote and published a policy brief with senior staff in immigration
  • Wrote blog posts cited in the Washington Post and in the Washington Examiner
  • Built and managed the Niskanen Center’s Instagram account
  • Developed and managed content calendars for Niskanen Center communications efforts

Where Are They Now?

Here’s a look at how past interns are using the experience they’ve gained at Niskanen in their studies and careers:

  • One is enrolled in a Master’s of Public Policy program at UC Irvine.
  • One is Fulbright scholar.
  • One is a regulatory and government affairs lead at Analytical Space.
  • One is an editorial associate at SmithBucklin.
  • One is an immigration policy fellow at the Niskanen Center.
  • One is a welfare policy analyst at the Niskanen Center.

Our interns are now also at MSNBC, Booz Allen Hamilton, McKinsey, Foreign Policy, the Daily Caller, the Cato Institute, the Department of Defense, Americans for Prosperity, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Charter Cities Institute and others. Other former interns are in law school and some are pursuing graduate degrees in public policy, public administration, and economics.