Our student (internship and co-operative education) programs offer highly unique and rewarding student experiences as you help keep our Nation safe. Work alongside experts in your field of study as you gain real-world experience within the Intelligence Community.
Our year-round internship programs allow undergraduate students to work in several areas before they graduate. These paid opportunities span a range of studies, including, but not limited to:
- Foreign language
- Information technology
Schools with co-operative programs typically have specific requirements to receive co-op credit. So, we designed our co-op program at the CIA to help students meet those requirements. As part of our program, students work on an alternating semester basis for at least three semesters before they graduate. This can include a summer work session as well. Since our Agency does not work with an established list of co-op programs, students will need to work with their schools to receive academic credit.
Students have to go through our medical and security process. Interested in our internship or co-op programs? For most of these opportunities, please apply at least 12 months before your desired start date. If you are applying for the Directorate of Operations Internship or our scholarship programs, you will need to submit your application during the timetable listed on the program’s page.
Student Opportunities Overview
Student Intern — My designs help identify and thwart drug trafficking.
IT Grad Student — My IT work helps derail terrorist activities.
Political Science Intern — I help to discover the truth for America.
That’s what CIA offers college students.
The chance –
To contribute our skills –
To protect our nation.
Real World Opportunities
When I was younger, I wanted to be three different things – a rock star, an astronaut, and an anthropologist.
I love my country, and I believe that as an American, we all have the opportunity to be whoever we want to be, but I’m not a rock star, an astronaut, or an anthropologist. I’m a whiz with networking, and I love working with computers, networks, and people. I work hard, and somewhere deep inside of me, I know that I want to use my skills and abilities to protect my country in a way that makes sense for me.
CIA was a natural choice for my career goals with a paid internship that offers benefits like health and life insurance, retirement investment options, paid time off, sick leave, and potential tuition assistance. My needs are met. Here, I have a clear view of a rewarding future as my career grows along a well-worn path and increased responsibility that matches my ambitions. CIA offers a career experience you’d expect from any company. The difference is every night I go home knowing that the work I do really matters, and every day I share my work with a group of colleagues who feel the same way.
What are you going to do with a political science degree? That’s what my parents kept asking me when I declared my major, and to be honest, I wasn’t really sure. National security and foreign affairs had always interested me.
So I went to the CIA booth at my campus career fair to see what options were available, and I was surprised by all the different opportunities there at the CIA. There’s graphic design, finance, IT, communications, science, and much more. I found my niche in the National Clandestine Service, but the CIA needs talented and dedicated people from all professions. So no matter what your major is, chances are there’s a position to match your skills and that drive inside of you to make a difference.
Everything I was interested converged into one amazing intern opportunity. I felt I found a place in the professional world that was just the right fit for me.
I’ve always wanted to make the world a better place. Whether it was starting a class recycling program in fourth grade or tutoring inner city kids in math all through college. And after meeting CIA recruiters on campus last year, I made the decision to follow my passion into a career.
I applied to the undergraduate scholarship program, and I knew going into it that the vetting process would be lengthy. Two months passed, and I was sure that I didn’t make the cut, but then CIA contacted me, and the application process continued.
I was interviewed several times by different people and answered many questions regarding my personal and professional conduct.
Had I been involved with illegal drugs or downloading?
How would I behave in a difficult situation?
What were my core values?
I took a polygraph test. I had a complete medical evaluation. I remember thinking, wow, this is serious, and then I realized how serious CIA was about me. That inspired me to stick with it. I answered everything honestly, openly, and thoroughly.
The big payoff was receiving my acceptance letter. Knowing that our government chose me to participate in the work that protects our nation continues to empower me every day.
This internship opportunity has changed my life for the better. Forever.
Housing Transportation, and My Social Life
How will I get there? That was my first thought after I was accepted into the program. Then where will I live, and who will I talk to. So, yeah, those things were kind of daunting at first, but I shouldn’t have worried.
CIA assists with transportation costs and provides access to lots of local information and resources. CIA provided housing options from corporate housing partners to university programs. They have a variety of resources to help you find housing accommodations close to your work location. You can even rent a room from a CIA employee.
I stayed with four other CIA students in an apartment that was close to work and public transportation. On my days off, I took advantage of the nearby public transit and toured the city sites. Now when I visit my family, I’m the reigning US history trivia winner, and I’m sure it has everything to do with easy access and interest in seeing so many monuments, parks, and museums in our nation’s capital.
I have plenty of people to talk to in and outside CIA. I formed close bonds with a group of fellow CIA interns and grad students, and through the Northern Virginia Cooperative Education Association, we participate in a lot of activities and social events. So we are never bored.
Our leaders and mentors are amazing, and even though we come from so many different backgrounds and fields of study, we all share common values. When I listen to my non-CIA friends talk about their working lives, I realize it’s not just the kind of work here that’s unique. It’s the teamwork and solidarity that really sets CIA apart. It may not be for everyone, but I think you know when it’s for you.
What will I do here?
That question was always on my mind during the weeks and days before my internship started. I kept thinking about IQ tests and some cheesy Hollywood spy movies. In reality, as an intern, I was expected to work at a professional level on tasks that really challenged me. And I learned about the mission of the CIA. How it all works. How complex it really is, and above all, how important it is, too.
Make no mistake. The CIA serves as our first line of defense. It protects our country and our citizens from a host of threats, but the way that it does that may surprise you.
CIA’s primary goals are collecting information, analyzing it, and providing assessments to our senior policymakers and the President himself. So imagine a real big project, with all kinds of moving parts – translations, measurements, projections, auditing, analysis, and more. Then imagine all the behind-the-scenes work to get those projects up and running – operations, budgeting, scheduling, resource management, information technology, etc. When you work at the CIA, you’ll find yourself working on just about any part of those projects.
And in the end, the hard work you put it ends up in some very impressive places. That’s how every job contributes to the Agency’s mission, and you’re a part of it every day in everything that you do.
Well, six years ago I joined CIA as an intern in the financial management department. I was a junior in college then, and after I graduated, I accepted a full-time position in the same department, working with many of the same people that mentored me during my internship. Being an intern before becoming a full-time employee gave me a unique perspective on both my work and position. As an intern, you really want to do your best every single day, but you’re still figuring out what that is and how it applies to the work you’re doing.
For me, that was about analyzing budgets, and I learned from my mentors how to dive deeper in discovering new efficiencies that made the best use of our resources. And now as a full-time employee, my promotions and pay and responsibility are based on my own performance.
I am proud of what I’ve achieved and am grateful for the recognition I’ve received. I’m looking forward to more challenging assignments in the many years ahead. Many more challenges do still lay ahead of me, and one of my biggest professional challenges starts today.
My job is about so much more than my work and goals. It’s about helping shape the future of CIA by welcoming new interns so they can grow their career and share in our passion to protect our nation.
Finance Intern — We can’t do this alone.
Engineering Co-Op — We need people like you with your knowledge and abilities to join our team.
Linguistics Intern — And advance the Agency’s mission.
We know you have what it takes.
Now, it’s just a matter of what you’ll do.
You have the power to protect our nation.
Apply online at CIA.gov and start thinking like the intelligence officer you hope to become.
Our Graduate Studies Program is available to full-time students in accredited graduate or doctoral programs. As part of our program, students complete at least one 90-day tour before graduating. This program is an exciting opportunity for graduate students to gain real-world work experience. It is also an excellent opportunity for graduates to transition from academic life to a career in national service.
Students have to go through our medical and security process. Interested in our Graduate Studies Program? Please apply at least 12 months before your desired start date.
We offer financial needs-based scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to a year-round salary, scholarship recipients will get up to $25,000 in tuition assistance per calendar year. All recipients must be either entering or attending an accredited university.
- Undergraduate students must work at least one, and preferably two, 90-day session(s) at CIA before graduating
- Graduate students must work at least one 90-day tour at CIA before graduating
- After graduation, all scholarship recipients must work at CIA for a period of 1.5 years per year of paid scholarship received
Students have to go through our medical and security process. Interested in our scholarship programs? We accept applications from March 1 – June 18 for the summer of the following year.
Learn More or Apply
We are the Students of CIA
We are the student employees of the Central Intelligence Agency.
We’re contributing to the work of a nation before we graduate.
We learn from incredible colleagues how to apply our skills to protect our nation.
We gain real, practical experience working on meaningful assignments.
We are the student employees of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The work of a nation. The center of Intelligence