UN Internship Programme
An internship at the UN could be the ideal start if you are considering a career in the Organization. It will give you exposure to high-profile conferences, political decision making or work on the ground, as well as the opportunity to contribute to the projects and mandates of the United Nations. You can apply for any internship around the world, regardless of nationality.
As an intern, you will:
- Enhance your educational experience through practical work assignments
- Deepen your knowledge and understanding of the Organization’s goals, principles and activities
- Work in an international environment, and network with international civil servants, career professionals and senior management
- Provide the UN with assistance in your area of expertise
As part of a team, interns can do things like the drafting of documents, analysis of data, research, the organization of conferences or events, work on media campaigns and outreach, and much more.
Who can apply?
Anyone who is
- enrolled in the final year of an undergraduate university programme (e.g., a bachelors programme),
- enrolled in a graduate programme (e.g., a master’s or Ph.D. programme),
- a recent graduate with a university degree.
When can I apply?
Internships are available on a part-time or full-time basis at any time throughout the year and vary in length according to the availability and academic requirements of the intern, as well as the needs of the UN. The minimum duration is two months full time and the maximum is six months.
Will I get paid?
Our Member States have decided that the UN Secretariat cannot provide financial compensation to interns at this point but conversations are ongoing. Some UN agencies, though, do offer internship positions with various types of monetary support.
Can I get academic credit?
Yes, you may get academic credit from your institution of higher education for the internship. Check with your university to confirm their academic credit policy for internships.
Will my internship lead to employment?
Your internship will not automatically lead to a job with the UN, but with the experience you have acquired during your time as an intern you might be interested in applying for General Service or consultancy positions.
If you want to apply to positions at the Professional and Higher or Field Service levels, we ask you to let at least six months pass after the end of your internship before you submit your application, and ensure that you fulfill not only the educational but also the work experience requirements that are outlined in each job opening.
What to Expect:
Explore firsthand insights, practical advice, and success stories shared by individuals who have embarked on this transformative internship experience. Discover the diverse opportunities available within the United Nations and how they can shape your future career path. Our blog aims to demystify the application process, shed light on the expectations, and provide a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a UN intern.
Stories of Impact:
Dive into inspiring narratives of interns who have made a tangible difference during their time with the UN. From participating in meaningful projects to collaborating with professionals from around the world, these stories highlight the profound impact that the UN Internship Programme can have on one’s personal and professional development.
Building a Global Network:
Discover the importance of networking and connecting with like-minded individuals who share a passion for creating positive change. Our blog emphasizes the significance of building a global network and leveraging the experiences gained during a UN internship for future career opportunities.
Join Us on the UN Internship Adventure:
Embark on this adventure with us, as we uncover the secrets to a successful UN Internship Programme experience. Whether you’re a student, recent graduate, or young professional, our blog aims to guide and inspire you on your path toward a fulfilling and impactful career with the United Nations.
If you are interested in internships with other United Nations funds and programmes listed, please apply with them directly through the links below.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Internships give students and recent graduates the opportunity to get a taste of UNDP’s community and mission. Internships may take place in UNDP Country Offices, at Regional Hubs or at Headquarters in New York.
Interns are selected on a competitive basis. UNDP seeks applicants who exhibit an interest in the field of development and in our mission. UNDP internships should not exceed 6 months. Exceptionally, internships may last 9 months when they are being completed for academic credit.
Applicants to UNDP internships must at the time of application meet one of the following academic requirements:
- Be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher);
- Be enrolled in the final academic year of a university degree (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent);
- Have graduated with a university degree (as defined in (a) and (b) above and, if selected, must start the internship within one year of graduation.
Language: Applicants should have written and spoken proficiency in at least one, and preferably two of the three working languages of the UNDP: English, French and Spanish. Fluency in Arabic, Portuguese, Russian or Eastern European language is an asset.
Financing: UNDP interns are provided with a monthly stipend dependent on duty station, among other factors.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
The UNICEF Internship Programme offers students and recent graduates from diverse academic backgrounds the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with UNICEF through global internship opportunities.
Interns at UNICEF get experiential learning opportunities in the humanitarian sector and a meaningful internship experience that will support their academic, professional and personal development.
What we offer
Our Internship Programme offers students and recent graduates the opportunity to gain direct practical work experience.
• Duration: The duration of an internship is normally between six and twenty-six weeks. Internships can be on a full-time or a part-time basis.
• Expenses we cover: UNICEF provides a monthly stipend to interns. A one-time lump sum, as a contribution towards travel and visa costs, may also be granted when funding is available.
• Visa: If necessary, UNICEF will provide relevant supporting documents for our visa applications.
United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA)
The UNFPA Internship Program offers a small group of outstanding students the opportunity to acquire direct exposure to UNFPA operations. It is designed to complement development-oriented studies with practical experience in various aspects of UNFPA work.
Applicants should have expressed interest in the field of development; ability to adapt to new environments and work with individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Interns work under the supervision of a staff member at UNFPA. The background of the interns is matched with the needs of the organization.
Qualifying for an Internship:
Candidates for the internship programme are selected on a competitive basis. The profiles of the interns are matched with the needs of the organization. The following qualifications are required for consideration:
• Students should be enrolled in an advanced degree programme or have recently graduated;
• Students must have written and spoken proficiency in English; fluency in French, Spanish or Arabic is an asset.
Interns do not receive a salary or any other form of remuneration from UNFPA. The costs associated with an intern’s participation in the programme must be assumed either by the nominating institution, which may provide the required financial assistance to its students, or by the students themselves, who will have to meet living expenses as well as make their own arrangements for accommodation, travel and other requirements. In addition, applicants must have medical insurance for the duration of the internship. Proof of insurance will need to be submitted before the internship begins.
United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
We offer exciting internship opportunities in many countries around the world. To qualify you need to be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate university degree programme, or have completed the degree within the past 3 years.
To apply for an internship, please create a UNOPS Jobs Account. This involves submitting details such as personal information, education, experience, languages, skills and other information.
Learn more about how to apply.
Please note the profile doesn’t need to be completed in one go but can be saved and updated on an ongoing basis and all vacancies close at midnight CET time.
United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
UNHCR is looking for talented, motivated and passionate individuals – like you – from around the world who bring knowledge, innovative thinking and different ideas to enhance our capacity to support people forced to flee.
UNHCR’s Internship Programme offers eligible students and recent graduates the opportunity to gain experience in the humanitarian sector in line with their academic programme and future career aspirations.
To be considered for an internship, candidates must:
- be a recent graduate* or current student in a graduate/undergraduate school programme from a university or higher education facility accredited by UNESCOLink is external;
- have completed at least two years of undergraduate studies in a field relevant to, or of interest to, the work of the organization; and
- not have immediate relatives (father, mother, brother, or sister) working for UNHCR as a staff member on any contract type or as an affiliate at the time of application.
*Recent graduates are considered to be candidates who completed their studies within two years of applying for an internship with UNHCR.
Internships are offered at various locations, including UNHCR headquarters in Geneva, the Global Service Centres in Amman, Budapest and Copenhagen, or in field country offices. Subject to approval of their managers, interns may telework within or outside of the country of duty station.
Internships are made available based on the needs of offices and their capacity to receive and supervise interns and provide them with meaningful assignments.
United Nations Environment Programme
The United Nations Office at Nairobi offers internships to students who are currently enrolled in at least the final year of a first university degree program or in a graduate school (second university degree or higher) program at the time of application, or if they have graduated, can commence their internship within one year after graduation.
The Internship is for a minimum period of two months and a maximum of six.
The purpose of the United Nations internship program is two-fold:
(a) to provide a framework by which students from diverse academic backgrounds gain exposure to the United Nations through assignment to offices within the Secretariat to enhance their educational experience and gain experience in the work of the United Nations; and
(b) to provide United Nations offices with the assistance of qualified students specialized in various professional fields.
The Staff Development and Training Unit (SDTU/HRMS) manages the internship program on behalf of the following UN Organisations:
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) including out-posted offices
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) including out-posted offices
- United Nations Offices at Nairobi (UNON)
- United Nations Dispute Tribunal, Office of Administration of Justice (OAJ)
Please read carefully the ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA before applying.
Due to the large number of applicants and the limited number of places available per year, applicants are strongly advised to note the following minimum eligibility criteria for an Internship at UN-HABITAT, UNEP, and UNON administered by the SDTU. If all of the requirements are not met, your application will not be processed. A successful application does not guarantee placement.
Applicants to the United Nations internship program must at the time of application meet one of the following requirements:
(a) Be enrolled in a graduate school program (second university degree or equivalent, or higher);
(b) Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree program (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent);
(c) Have graduated with a university degree (as defined in (a) above) and
(b) if selected, must commence the internship within one year of graduation