The CIR Internship Program

The Committee on International Relations (CIR) Internship Program at the University of Chicago was created several years ago to provide graduate students with compelling experiences and career opportunities that build upon their educational preparation. The program seeks to identify opportunities with organizations that can host challenging internships aligned with our research training. The internships take place the summer after students complete their coursework and feature positions in top think-tanks, cabinet-level government agencies, and private firms. We generally focus our placements with organizations in DC, but also seek positions across the country and around the world with particular attention to organizations that can employee international students. 

As the oldest international relations program in the US, CIR has a long tradition of training its students to undertake cutting‐edge analytical work in government and the private sector. Our educational preparation has a reputation for intellectual rigor, which deepens our students’ skill set for critical thinking and problem-solving. During their internships, students apply these skills to the complex interactions between institutions, nations and policy.  

Funding and Project Scope

The CIR Internship Program is competitive and meant to provide funding for positions that might be unpaid or require relocation. In the past, funding was attached to specific internship opportunities with partner organizations. This was successful, but also limited participation if students were not drawn to the offerings with a particular partner or project. This year, we continue to share worthy opportunities for student consideration, but students will also have the freedom to pursue all relevant opportunities related to their interests and propose possible research projects with partners, essentially designing their own experience. Once a position or commitment is secured, students may then apply for internship funding with little restriction on scope. Funding can be used to cover living expenses, travel, or in lieu of wages. Stipends will be awarded in a lump sum payment to the student.

This year, requests for funding will be awarded in two ways. $2000 will be awarded for local internships and $4000 will be awarded for all other requests. This funding is meant to provide a stipend for the duration of the internship (most likely 10-12 weeks in the summer). This funding does not place any restriction on the type or scale of a placement. In all ways, the host organization owns the scope of the internship or project. However, given the demand for these dollars, opportunities that offer a high degree of responsibility and professional training within a particular field closely related to the student’s career goals will be given priority. We want each internship to provide our students with a compelling portfolio of experience.

Application Instructions

Securing an offer is solely the responsibility of the student. Career Services has compiled a list of past partner organizations and other worthy opportunities for student consideration. It is highly recommended that each application should be targeted to each project or organization to increase the likelihood of selection. In the end, each organization makes its own hiring decisions. Once an opportunity is secured by the student or seems highly likely, the student should submit an application to CIR to be considered for internship funding. Application materials should be saved and submitted as one pdf document to and must include:

  • A resume
  • Job description
  • Statement of interest (No more than 500 words and demonstrate why your background, experience, work in CIR, and career goals align with the scope of the particular internship)
  • Letter of Intent from the host organization (start date and confirmation of acceptance)
  • Details on pay, location, additional funding received, and duration of program or project

Please contact Shelly Robinson, director of career services with additional questions.

Timeline / Deadlines 

In early January, job descriptions for prospective positions will begin to be posted in the weekly digest and students are invited to apply. UChicagoGRAD's Gargoyle also posts opportunities and students are strongly encouraged to seek out other opportunities that align with their career interests. Employing organizations will review candidates, schedule interviews, and extend offers to students ideally by mid-March. The first deadline is March 15 (Round 1) and the second deadline is June 1 (Round 2). The first review of CIR Internship Program applications will begin March 15 and will continue until all funding is awarded. Final awards will be determined no later than June 30. Those denied funding in the early round can re-apply in the late round. Internships should be started in summer or fall of the current year.  Upon completion of the internship or project, students will be expected to share a brief summary report describing their experience. There may also be additional opportunities to share the narrative with students in some way at a future event.


Past Placements

Past placements cover a range of IR-related organizations with urgent implications for the U.S. government, international security, and regional relations. Our past partner organizations include: The Council on Foreign Relations, The Clinton Foundation, CATO Institute, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute, British Consulate's Trade and Investment Office, the city of Chicago, and Brookings.

Other University Internship Programs

CIR students are eligible for additional internship program sponsored by other units on campus. Among them are the Institute of Politics, UChicagoGRAD, University Community Service Center, and International Innovation Corps.