Wilson Center Research Assistant internships

Wilson Center Research Assistant internships

The Wilson Center does NOT sponsor visas for interns. International students that are not already studying in the U.S. on a F-1/J-1 visa must go through a university exchange program or an outside organization (internship placement agency) that will sponsor their visa.

Wilson Center Research Assistant internships

Research Assistant interns are talented undergraduates, recent graduates, or graduate students who combine part-time hours at the Center with their studies and other activities. Students in this role provide 12-15 hours of research assistance each week to their assigned scholar (the number of hours can be adjusted accordingly to fulfill academic requirements). Students work one-on-one with an expert in their field of study to conduct in-depth, academic analysis of today’s most pressing issues. This experience is invaluable for students wishing to develop a deeper understanding of their field of study. In addition to assisting with their scholars’ research projects, interns have the opportunity to network with experts in their chosen fields, attend events on relevant topics, and explore how research and public policy intertwine in Washington.

Research Assistant internship opportunities are offered year-round, and are generally consistent with academic semesters. Research Assistants are paid a monthly stipend of $500, and may also complete an internship for academic credit. Students are also encouraged to apply for independent grants or scholarships through their schools or outside sources to financially support them during their internship appointment. In-person, remote, and hybrid opportunities are available, with the specific arrangement determined by the scholar. 


Most scholars who come to the Wilson Center spend their time carrying out research, writing books, and making public presentations. Research Assistant interns have the unique opportunity to work directly with these experts, as they examine issues of contemporary public policy or explore topics that provide the historical context behind today’s pressing policy debates. The Wilson Center hosts a diverse cohort of scholars each year, including distinguished university professors, journalists, current and former government officials (such as diplomats and ambassadors) or occasionally executives from the private sector. 

In support of the scholars, Research Assistants spend much of their time searching for information using the Wilson Center Library’s resources. Other duties include proofreading, editing, compiling bibliographies, writing literature reviews, summarizing research materials, etc. Less than 20% of these tasks are administrative. Consequently, a strong sense of responsibility and the ability to work with a minimum of supervision are strong assets. Foreign language skills are oftentimes useful, and should be noted in the application.

While at the Center, all interns are encouraged to fully assimilate into the Wilson Center’s community, and go beyond their particular internship responsibilities and to attend our many panel discussions, conferences, symposia, and social events.


This opportunity is open to highly qualified undergraduates, recent graduates, or graduate students. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA (or equivalent). Applicants must be current students, recent graduates (within one calendar year), and/or have been accepted to enter an advanced degree program. Non-degree seeking students are ineligible.

International students studying in the U.S. are eligible, but they must hold a valid F-1 or J-1 visa and appropriate work authorization. All international students must obtain written permission (or CPT/OPT) from their Designated School Official or Responsible Officer for visas at their university stating that they are in valid immigration status and eligible to do an internship at the Center.

The Wilson Center does NOT sponsor visas for interns. International students that are not already studying in the U.S. on a F-1/J-1 visa must go through a university exchange program or an outside organization (internship placement agency) that will sponsor their visa.

New scholars are always arriving at the Wilson Center, and it can be difficult to predict what specific projects will be carried out in the future. For that reason, all interested students are encouraged to apply.

Important Dates

Applications for the Spring 2024 term are now OPEN. Please complete the Research Assistant Internship application NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 3RD. Incomplete applications or applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

November 3, 2023: Applications for the Spring term open

December 3, 2023: Applications for the Spring term close

January 17, 2024: Start date for Spring internships

Most scholars arrive and interns start their internships at the beginning of a semester (January, June, September). However, the Intern Coordinator can work individually with students or schools on a quarter system schedule.

Spring 2024 Scholars

The following scholars are seeking research assistants for the Spring 2024 term.

  • Melinda Baldwin-Fulford, Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland College Park. “In Referees We Trust? Peer Review and Public Policy in the U.S., 1945-1990.” (Science and Technology Innovation Program)
  • Jennifer Eaglin,Associate Professor of Environmental History and Sustainability, The Ohio State University. “Going Nuclear: The Rise of Brazilian Nuclear Energy.” (Brazil Institute) *Applicants with German language skills encouraged to apply
  • Haifeng Huang, Professor of Economics, Peking University HSBC Business School, China. “Waste Management for Global Sustainability: Comparing China-US Policies and Practices.” (Wilson Fellow) (China Environment Forum)
  • Robert Jefferson, Associate Professor of History, University of New Mexico. “When Jim Crow Faced a New Army: World War II and The Nonsegregation of the United States Military.” (History and Public Policy Program)
  • Natalie Koch, Professor of Geography, Syracuse University. “The Geopolitics of U.S. Diplomacy in the Arabian Peninsula.” (Middle East Program)
  • Alyssa Park, Professor of History, University of Iowa. “Homeward: Korean Refugees and the Politics of Occupation, Division, and War, 1945-50.” (History and Public Policy Program /Asia Program)

Application Process

To apply, applicants will need to submit the Research Assistant Internship Application form and required documents, listed below.

Application materials include:

  • Completed Wilson Center Internship Application Form 
  • Cover Letter (indicating academic interests or areas of interest)
  • Current Resume (indicating relevant coursework)
  • 3-5 page Writing Sample (excerpts of a research paper are acceptable) with bibliography
  • 2 letters of recommendation, or a brief list of references
  • Transcript(s) (unofficial copies are acceptable)
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.

For questions, contact [email protected]

DEADLINE: 03 December, 2023

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