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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

About FDA

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Office of Policy Internships

The Office of Policy offers unpaid internships for interested graduate (including  masters, law, and other doctoral programs) and undergraduate students.  Office of Policy interns have had diverse educational interests, such as law, public health, public policy, pharmacy, government, economics, and management. Our interns have worked on a broad range of issues including human subject protection, food safety, nanotechnology, drug importation, novel disease outbreak issues, legislative analysis, regulation and guidance drafting, and briefings for senior agency officials. An Office of Policy intern can expect to work on substantive policy and legal projects, develop additional professional skills, improve research skills, and benefit from the personal attention of a mentor.  The Office of Policy has a limited number of internships.

Purpose of Internship Program

The primary purpose of the Office of Policy internship program is to give students an opportunity to learn about federal programs, public policy, and regulatory and governmental practices first-hand.  We do work with interns to help them earn educational credits, if available through their educational institution.  By the end of the internship, each student should have the skills and knowledge necessary to allow her or him to make a significant contribution to public health.

How To Apply For An Internship

To apply for an internship, you must submit:

  • A current resume and cover letter through email at FDA.Policy.Internships@fda.hhs.gov.
  • Expected date of graduation.
  • The names of three references including name, title, relationship to applicant, telephone number, and email address of each reference.

If you do not submit a current resume, expected date of graduation, cover letter, and reference information, you will not be considered.

Minimum Intern Qualifications

Before the first day of an internship, if selected, an intern must:

  • Be a current undergraduate or graduate student attending a college or university or have recently graduated (within three months) of the start of the internship.
  • Have completed at least two years (four full semesters) of college/university education.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.

Interview Process

  • The Office of Policy has a limited number of internships and often receives a significant number of resumes.  We are unable to interview all applicants.
  • Applicants who submit the above required documents and meet the minimum qualifications will be considered for an interview; we will notify an applicant if s/he is selected for an interview.
  • All interviews are conducted only by phone. 
  • We may ask for additional information/documentation before or after the interview.

Selection Process

As a general matter, the Office of Policy interviews potential interns three times a year:

  • Summer Internships
    We interview usually in January or February of each year and expect applications by the end of the previous calendar year in December.
  • Fall Internships
    We interview usually in May or June of each year and expect applications by the end of April.
  • Spring Internships
    We interview usually in September or October of each year and expect applications by the end of August.

If an internship is desired for a different time frame, we will consider those on a case-by-case, and on a very limited, basis.

Interns will be selected for an internship based on the application, interview, and demonstrated interest in public service. The documents and factors considered may include:

  • Resume.
  • Cover Letter.
  • Academic excellence.
  • Reference recommendation.
  • Demonstrated interest in and knowledge of government, policy, and current events.
  • Evidence of the skills needed to work with the FDA Office of Policy.
  • Personal and professional maturity.
  • The candidate’s potential contribution to the Office of Policy and FDA.
  • The anticipated benefits for the candidate.

Upon acceptance, candidates must consent to the following:

  • Undergoing security clearance review prior to the anticipated start date, including fingerprinting and background checks
  • Potential random drug test

If the security clearance and background check reveal information that requires cancellation of the offer of an internship, this will be conveyed to the candidate prior to the anticipated start date.

All security measures are confidential and intended to protect the applicant as well as FDA.

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