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Undergraduate Internship Program-Directorate of Operations

As a Directorate of Operations Undergraduate Intern for CIA, you will support the Directorate of Operations (DO) mission of collecting human intelligence on critical international developments.

  • Internship
  • Starting salary: $46,300 ($22.18 per hour)
  • Full-time student pursuing an undergraduate degree
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About the Job

Applications are no longer being accepted for DO Undergraduate Internships. Please check back circa late 2021 to apply for Summer 2023/2024 DO Internships.

As a Directorate of Operations Undergraduate Intern for CIA, you will support the Directorate of Operations (DO) mission of collecting human intelligence on critical international developments. The DO is the covert arm of the CIA.

Working in the Washington, DC area, you will perform duties typical of a Collection Management Officer or Staff Operations Officer, teaming with knowledgeable professionals to facilitate the collection and dissemination of foreign intelligence used by U.S. national security, defense, and foreign policy officials and intelligence analysts.

Interns are generally freshmen at the time of application and are interested in pursuing a DO career upon graduation. Competitive applicants that apply early in the application process – as opposed to the final week – have a better chance of making it through the stringent security and medical processing that must be completed before entering on duty as a Directorate of Operations Undergraduate Intern the following summer. Should you have any planned travel outside of the United States, please indicate the dates in your cover letter. Applicants that plan on participating in an extended study abroad program between Fall 2021 and late Spring 2023 do not qualify for the DO Undergraduate Internship program.

Who You’ll Work With

At the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), we recognize our Nation’s strength comes from the diversity of its people. People from a broad range of backgrounds and viewpoints work at CIA, and our diverse teams are the reason we can keep our country safe.

Read more about diversity and inclusion

What You’ll Get

The CIA offers various benefits to students, including:

  • Paid time off
  • Federal health and life insurance
  • Retirement
  • Education and training
  • Health services
  • Child care center
  • Credit union

As a CIA employee, you’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing your work is part of something bigger than yourself. Our work is driven by one mission: to keep our Nation safe. Every day is an opportunity to enhance U.S. national security.

Learn more about working at CIA

Minimum Qualifications

  • Full-time student pursuing an undergraduate degree in a 4-year academic institution with at least one semester/quarter completed at the time of application; there is no preferred major or program of study. Please include your college/university information under the Education Section of the on-line application with your anticipated graduation date.
  • Competitive applicants enrolled in 2-year degree programs that feed into accredited 4-year programs will be considered. Please address your plans to continue studying at a 4-year college/university in your cover letter. If competitive, proof of acceptance into the 4-year program is required prior to entering on duty.
  • At least a 3.0 GPA on a 4-point scale at the time of application and maintained throughout the application process and internship program. Please submit transcripts that document your full-time status along with GPA.
  • Availability to complete two 90-day summer internships (the first summer internship typically starts May or June 2022 and the second will start May or June 2023)
  • Attending school on a full-time basis before/following this internship
  • Impeccable integrity
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrated interest in foreign affairs and national security issues
  • Commitment to serving the interests of our country
  • Interest in a career with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations following graduation
  • Due to processing requirements, the DO will not consider applicants who travel out of the US for more than three consecutive months between February 2021 – May 2023. Extended foreign travel is discouraged between January 2023 – May 2023 as well.
  • Ability to meet the minimum requirements for joining CIA, including U.S. citizenship and a background investigation

Desired Qualifications

  • Foreign language skills and/or overseas experience

What You’ll Need to Apply

The following items must be attached to your on-line application (PDF format preferred):

  • A cover letter (no more than two pages) describing yourself, telling us why you are interested in a DO career, highlighting characteristics and experiences that distinguish you from other applicants.
  • Completed Qualifications Supplement (see important application instructions below).
  • College transcripts showing Fall 2020 grades (copies of unofficial transcripts are acceptable at this stage of processing).


  • Serious applicants are encouraged to complete their application well in advance of the midnight (EDT) 15 March 2021 deadline to allow for timely processing of competitive applicants.

Intelligence Profession Reading List

We encourage all applicants to read about the Agency. Please review our Intelligence Profession Reading List.

All statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in these books are those of the authors and do not reflect the official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or any other U.S. Government agency. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying U.S. Government authentication of information or CIA endorsement of the authors’ views. Because the CIA does not endorse any of these books, Section13 of the CIA Act of 1949, 50 USC § 403m, prohibits the appearance of a book on this list from being used in connection with any commercial activity, including promotions or advertisements.