Your office has a program that needs a critical review, a new initiative that needs a jumpstart, or a project that needs fresh eyes.

Hire a Harvard Kennedy School student as an intern this summer to get it done right.

Our students are problem solvers. They are trained to look at public problems from different angles and develop solutions using the knowledge, tools, and skills they’ve developed through their HKS coursework in economic and institutional analysis, strategic management, political advocacy and leadership, and in wide-ranging policy areas.

They look for interesting challenges across sectors, taking on summer internships in intergovernmental organizations; national, regional, and local government departments and agencies in the United States and around the world; policy institutes; nonprofit organizations; community-based organizations; and in consulting and other private companies.

Read our guidelines below to help you recruit the right HKS student intern for your organization this summer.

Design a meaningful internship

Choose a project that is important to your organization and to students

Most of our students have several years of work experience. They look for internships that will deepen their knowledge, analytical skills, professional experience, and speak to their interests and values.

Internships are valuable opportunities for students to get involved in a project that presents unique challenges and allows them to be independent, take responsibility, and provide input for implementation. The internship should be useful to your organization, but it should also allow students to see how their work contributes to your organization’s success.

Write a strong job description 

Your job description must be clear and accurate for students to determine whether they are interested and fit for the task. Include the following details in your job description:

  • Organization overview: include your organization’s mission, geographic focus, types of projects it takes on, and whether it is in the public, nonprofit, or private sector
  • Organization’s website
  • Project description and internship responsibilities: be specific and detailed. Some of the best internships involve fieldwork and desk time.
  • Logistics: provide the start and end dates, hours per week, and describe the work culture and environment
  • Qualifications: identify the skills or other qualifications needed (for example, Spanish fluency, STATA skills, security clearance, etc.)
  • Citizenship: indicate any citizenship requirements that you may have.
  • Application requirements: provide application instructions, how you want to receive applications (email, through your website, or collected by HKS), and correct contact information
  • Deadline and timeline: provide the application deadline and timeline for responding to applicants. When will students hear from you? What is your hiring process and interview format? When will you make your final decision?
  • Compensation: Many of our students fund their own education; adequate compensation will make your internship more attractive. If you cannot pay students, consider other forms of compensation  such as free or subsidized housing, covered local transportation costs, etc. Students may still be interested in your organization and internship even if you cannot offer any form of compensation.

    Our students may apply for modest HKS summer funding only if they secure and confirm unpaid public or nongovernmental organization internships. The demand for funding far exceeds supply. Students have the best chance of receiving funding if they apply as early as possible, so please consider making your official internship offer to students ahead of our HKS Summer Internship Fund grant application deadline (see dates below).

Recruit an HKS intern

Advertise your opportunity

Register in JACK, our career management system, and post your internship project. You are also welcome to hold virtual briefing sessions, participate in our virtual career events, and meet with individual students virtually. We recommend holding briefings for summer internships in November, early December, or February. Complete our Employer Information Request Form to schedule.

Application deadline and internship timeline

We recommend your internship application deadline be no later than late February—the application process among students can be competitive. Our students actively research summer internships in January and February for opportunities that run from late May through mid-August and last 8-12 weeks.

2022-2023 Key Dates at Harvard Kennedy School

Aug 31-Dec 2 Fall semester
Jan 23-Apr 28 Spring semester
Mid/late March Student deadline: Summer Internship Fund, Round I grant applications 
Late April Student deadline: Summer Internship Fund, Round II grant applications
May 12 Final exams and papers complete
Late May Student deadline: Summer Internship Fund, Round III grant applications if funding is still available






Contact us

The HKS Office of Career Advancement is your partner in finding the right student intern for your organization. Email us with questions.