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Sanford students go around the world for the internships, here to India and Geneva.

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Internship Requirements

The internship is a culmination of the core coursework and gives students a chance to see how the skills from these classes apply in a real world context. It also gives students the opportunity to gain exposure to different parts of the policy field and helps them prepare for their eventual job search.

The core courses teach the skills and critical thinking necessary to gain the most from the internship experience. Students must complete required the core classes to receive credit for an internship that counts toward the completion of a major in public policy. Please see the Handbook link for details.

The Sanford Career Services staff will help all majors through the internship process. When students declare thePublic Policy major, they should immediately create an account in Sanford Career Link to be matched with an internship TA to get them started and direct them to opportunities, workshops, and requirements. 

PDF: Step-by-step internship instructions (Student Handbook)  

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