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Internship Requirements

The internship is a culmination of all of your core coursework and gives you a chance to see how the skills you have acquired in these classes apply in a real world context. It also gives you a chance to gain exposure to different parts of the policy field and helps you on your way to finding a job post-graduation.

We believe the core courses teach the skills and critical thinking necessary to gain the most from the internship experience. A student must complete all the core classes (PPS 155, 301, 302, 303 and Stats 101) to receive credit for an internship that counts toward the completion of a major in public policy. The internship is not meant to be something that students check off on their way to graduation, but a culminating synthesis of course work and other PPS-related experiences.

The Career Services staff helps you through the internship process. As soon as you declare a Public Policy major, create an account at Sanford Career Link to stay informed of opportunities, workshops, and requirements. 

PDF: Step-by-step internship instructions (Student Handbook)  Video: Landing an Internship in 12 Steps

What types of internships qualify?

It doesn't matter if it is a publicly or privately-funded enterprise or if it is paid or unpaid. The important thing is that there is clear public policy relevant activity and content in the internship.

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  • Shandiin Herrera standing at podium

    Gaining Knowledge, Applying Skills in D.C.

    "My favorite part of my internship, which was working with Senator Udall’s staff on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on the hearing regarding the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, legislation that greatly impacts my tribe (Navajo)." —Shandiin Herrera PPS'19 Udall Native American Congressional Intern, Senator Tom Udall (NM). Read more about Shandiin Herrera

For example, an internship would qualify if a student was looking at alternative energy sources and dealing with government regulation of environmental policy for a non-profit organization or an Internet startup. But, it would not qualify if the student worked in consulting, investment banking or marketing.

Duke offers a number of policy-related internship programs that also satisfy the internship requirements. Examples of these programs include the Hart Leadership Program, the Stanback Internship Program, Duke Engage Internships, etc.

It is the substance of the work that matters most.

Sample internship locations:

  • US Department of State
  • US Agency for International Development
  • The White House
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature
  • WGBH TV/Radio
  • Asia Society
  • National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism
  • Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence

Full lists of past internships are offered to majors in Sanford Career Link so you can see places where Duke already has employer and/or alumni connections. 

Amulya smiling“The Career Services staff walked me through every part of the internship search and remained valuable advisors and mentors to me through my time at Duke. I applied for, and received funding from the Sanford Career Center that made my internship in D.C. possible. I used many of the same skills and resources when I began my post-Duke job search." —Amulya Vadapalli, PPS'19