Top 15 Paid Internships in Global Security 

Disclosure: International Relations Careers may be compensated by course providers.

Global security is the umbrella term for the security of nations, regions, and international organizations from military, economic, environmental, and technological threats. It is an extensive and intricate field requiring diverse skills, knowledge, and experience.

Organizations throughout the world are recognizing that it’s necessary to have professionals to protect physical, cyber, and social security assets. With this consideration in mind, internships in global security are increasingly popular since future professionals can gain valuable experience and insights there. Here is a list of the top 15 internships in global security to consider:

  1. The Partnership for Global Security (PGS)
  2. The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding
  3. Search for Common Ground
  4. Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)
  5. Wilson Center
  6. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defense College
  7. The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
  8. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  9. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  10. Council on Foreign Relations
  11. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  12. United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
  13. Interpol
  14. International Criminal Court (ICC)
  15. Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy

The Partnership for Global Security (PGS)

The Partnership for Global Security (PGS) is one of the world’s most recognizable international organizations focused on nuclear and transnational security policy. PGS regularly offers two internship programs – Research Internships and Communications Internships.

The former are in-depth research internships focusing primarily on researching nuclear security, nuclear energy, and transnational governance issues. The latter positions can help with drafting press releases, helping with social media management, and other tasks related to the organization’s publicity and outreach.

The available internships require excellent research and writing skills and an interest in nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear security, nuclear energy, and transnational governance issues. These positions are paid and particularly suited for current graduate students. All internships are currently remote due to COVID-19, and this arrangement will continue until further notice.

The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding

The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding is housed at Dartmouth College. It aims to encourage responsible and knowledgeable global citizenship, and its Initiative for Global Security provides financial aid for peace or security internships. These internships incorporate both partnership programs and the “Build Your Own” application process offered by the Dickey Center.

The Initiative for Global Security offers financial support for security-related internships with its partners like the Naval War College. Still, the organization may open more partnerships somewhere in the future.

The Initiative offers funding up to $4500 for in-person internships and up to $1500 for remote internships. This is aimed at students undergoing training who should have a strong interest in international history, political science, international relations, economics, and security studies. Besides, student interns must be US citizens actively pursuing a degree.

Search for Common Ground

Search for Common Ground is a non-profit international organization. It is based in Washington, DC, and focuses on promoting peaceful conflict resolution. Its mission is to encourage individuals, organizations, and governments to move away from adversarial methods and work together to find solutions to conflicts.

Its Global Affairs and Partnerships office seeks an intern to support a global project related to women, peace, and security (WPS) and reducing or eliminating gender-based violence (GBV) in five countries. This project seeks to further grass-roots local women-led groups for peacebuilding. In particular, it provides funding and aid to local women-led groups working to advance peacebuilding efforts among nations.

The responsibilities include researching, updating gender analysis, monitoring country-specific data, attending relevant events, supporting the Rapid Response Fund, and providing logistical and technical support. To apply for this role, the intern should have some knowledge of International Relations, English fluency, basic computer skills, and be genuinely interested in WPS and advocacy. The internship is paid.

Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)

The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) is an independent, bipartisan think tank with a mission to advance global security and prosperity. The organization’s extensive network of researchers and experts provides research, analysis, and recommendations to policymakers in government and the private sector.

As an intern at CSIS, your job duties will vary among diverse activities that help particular programs or departments, such as doing research, composing written material, and executing projects. In addition, you’ll have opportunities offered by the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy (AILA), which is CSIS’s in-house program dedicated to leadership development.

CSIS sponsors paid internships for undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates full-time or part-time in the fall, spring, and summer. Applicants must be a college junior in good standing or a recent graduate with authorization to work in the United States; they cannot already be working in another organization. CSIS does not sponsor visas for interns, so foreign nationals should have employment authorized in this country.

Wilson Center

The Wilson Center is a leading think tank focusing on international affairs and public policy. The center encourages constructive change by encouraging open dialogue, interdisciplinary research, and creative solutions. It offers a research assistant internship for talented undergraduate, recent graduate, or graduate students.

Interns work part-time, about 12-15 hours per week. Besides, they also participate in academic duties as scholars at the center, undertaking broader and deeper studies about pressing issues facing the world today. These internships present fresh opportunities to network with experts and attend relevant events where participants learn about the intersection of research and public policy in Washington.

Eligible applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and be enrolled in a degree-seeking program or recently graduated. They are paid a modest monthly stipend. International students studying in the US with appropriate work authorization are also eligible.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defense College 

NATO is an intergovernmental military partnership committed to collective security. The NATO Defense College (NDC) is one of the best international academic institutions in Rome dedicated to training senior military officers from NATO member states. Its internship program offers current students or young adults who graduated not too long ago and are looking for a career option the opportunity to stay in Rome as interns. Applicants studying political science, international relations, security studies, media studies, journalism, or other related fields are encouraged to apply.

The program aims to provide interns with a better understanding of NATO, contribute to a more diverse workforce, and expand NATO’s understanding in Alliance countries. It offers different kinds of internship fields, such as the Office of Dean, Academic Operations Division, Public Affairs Office, and Research Division.

Interns receive a monthly stipend of 1.142,20 euros (subject to taxation) and must have health insurance coverage. Candidates must be either 21 years or older but younger than 30, nationals of a member state of NATO, and preferably currently qualified as a student (at least two years of university study). Proficiency in English is essential, and desirable working knowledge of French can be considered.

The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)

The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) is an independent think tank committed to studying international affairs. It provides political advice and analysis to governments, international agencies, as well as businesses.

The HCSS internship provides various research, analysis, data, communication, design, networking, copywriting, and policy development opportunities. As a self-governing organization focusing on worldwide trends, security, and geo-economics, interns participate in important projects for diverse clients, such as governments, international organizations, research institutions, the private sector, and NGOs.

Key demands include required degrees/technical qualifications in their respective fields of study, excellent academic backgrounds with analytical and writing skills, creativity, ability to work on one’s own initiative, flexible yet highly positive attitude, and eagerness for a learning experience.

Interns must be university students for the duration of the internship period, at a bare minimum of six months, and available to work 40 hours per week. The internship program is paid, and successful applicants will be further interviewed.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead US government agency responsible for providing non-military foreign aid and assistance to countries worldwide. USAID offers internship opportunities to undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates in various fields related to international relations and global security.

For example, the Pathways Internship Program offers paid internship opportunities for students enrolled in educational institutions, providing them with hands-on experience in federal agencies and exposure to careers in public service and international development. Eligibility requires US citizenship, minimum age of 16, and enrollment in an accredited educational program.

The Pathways Recent Graduates Program (also paid) is aimed at recently graduated individuals and offers a one-year developmental program that can lead to a career in the Civil Service. The Presidential Management Fellowship Program (paid) is a leadership development program for advanced degree candidates.

USAID also engages with third-party programs such as the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities National Internship Program, International Leadership Foundation, INROADS, and the USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program to provide internship opportunities.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that works to promote the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear energy. It organizes internships for individuals studying or recently graduated from university and gives students the chance to gain experience in the field of international nuclear security and safeguards.

The internships run from three months to one year, ensuring intense exposure to this particular Agency’s work and the United Nations. Applicants must be at least 20 years old, with three completed years of full-time studies towards their first degree. Good proficiency levels in English are essential, while other IAEA languages appear as an asset.

Interns get a monthly salary of €1000. To apply, they must complete an online application form and provide two signed letters of recommendation. The recruitment process takes approximately six to nine months.

Council on Foreign Relations

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is a nonpartisan think tank that studies international issues and offers non-bias policy solutions. Founded in 1921, CFR focuses its research on economics, globalization, health, energy policy, and climate change.

The organization regularly sponsors paid internships for qualified individuals working in foreign policy. Such opportunities provide valuable experience and exposure to leading experts in these topics. Interns also work alongside dedicated staff who assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities across departments or projects with diverse backgrounds.

For example, the Asia Studies internship at David Rockefeller Studies Program presided over by CFR in New York sees relevant preparation in foreign policy and international affairs. The trainee interns will support a fellow’s book and op-ed research, manage a new website, render research and editorial assistance, track China-related developments, and help in meeting logistics.

Qualifications include a focus on international relations or Asia Studies, demonstrated interest in China and international relations, research experience, Mandarin proficiency, and website design skills. The internship is paid at a rate of $17.00 per hour and can be done on a hybrid or fully remote basis.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The Homeland Security Department (DHS) is the federal government agency that works to protect citizens of the US from security threats. The DHS cares for internship openings amongst undergraduate as well as graduate-level students. These opportunities come with hands-on experience in homeland security, which would allow one to build upon education, knowledge, and analytical skills learned throughout college.

The areas of specialization are intelligence analysis, collections, partnerships, and management, among others. Interns are all based in Washington, DC. Positions in the program range from GS-3 to GS-9 pay grades depending on education. Eligibility entails a US citizen status, cumulative GPA of 3 or above, and Top Secret/SCI security clearance. Background investigations and placement into the program entail a successful clearance and criminal/credit background check.

United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is a UN agency dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of children around the world. The UNICEF Internship Programme gives recent graduates and students a chance to gain practical work experience in global internship positions.

The selected candidates get hands-on learning in the humanitarian sector, with support for their academic and professional development. The duration of internships is typically between six and twenty-six weeks on a full-time or part-time basis. UNICEF provides a monthly stipend and may offer a one-time lump sum for travel and visa expenses when funding is available.

Student or alumni applicants must be at least 18 years old and have been enrolled or graduated from an undergraduate, graduate, or Ph.D. course within the last two years. Candidates should have strong academic performance, motivation, and relevant professional experience. Proficiency in either English, French, or Spanish is required. Additionally, strong academic performance, motivation, and relevant professional experience will be considered.


Interpol is the International Criminal Police Organization and is an organization of 190 member countries within the field of global law enforcement. It has internships in both policing (security) and support services, providing work experience in an international organization and insight into international police cooperation.

Interns may either specialize in the area of security and criminal matters within policing services or choose to take up areas such as communications, strategic planning, and human resources within support services.

Internship application can be undertaken by applying through the online Talentlink platform. To apply for a position with Interpol, you must submit a cover letter explaining your motivation, interest, and expectations. To be eligible to take part in an internship, you must have graduated from or be currently enrolled in an accredited academic institution within the past year, be a citizen of an Interpol member country, and speak English fluently.

Internships can last from six to 11 months, with a monthly allowance of 550 euros and costs borne by the intern. Security clearance, visa, and medical insurance requirements apply, and confidentiality is expected.

International Criminal Court (ICC)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent judicial body set up to end impunity for the most serious crimes. Each year, it offers about 200 internships for students and recent graduates in several fields of study. Through its internship program, the ICC allows them to benefit from practical work experience in international criminal justice.

Individuals must possess or be eligible for relevant studies and degrees. Practical experience is not required but may serve as evidence of suitability. Good oral and written communication skills are necessary, chiefly in English or French. Knowledge of other official or important languages would also contribute significantly.

Interns work full-time for three to six months. They may receive a monthly stipend and travel coverage if funding is available. Funding eligibility depends on criteria such as nationality and developing regions.

Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy

Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy is an initiative at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs. It provides a platform for graduate students and young professionals who are passionate about US foreign policy to engage in discussion through educational events and internships.

The intern in the role of Studies: Global Security will work closely with the Navy Federal Executive Fellow to explore the relationship between grand strategies and various levers of national power. They will contribute to bridging the civilian-military divide in the US and aligning citizenry and military interests.

This paid position entails duties such as researching, reviewing literature, preparing briefings, fact-checking, and assisting with events and administrative tasks. The candidate should possess some knowledge, especially at a senior undergraduate/graduate student’s level, of global defense/security issues and drive and interest in conducting research pertaining to the same. Additionally, they have to hold proficiency in MS Office Suite.