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Vacancy Details


Announcement Number:
Hiring Agency:
U.S. Department of State
Position Title:
U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program - 2016 and 2017
Open Period:
09/25/2015 - 10/02/2015


GS - 0099 04
USD $11.87 - USD $11.87
Work Schedule:
Full-time - This announcement is for full time internships.
Promotion Potential:
Duty Location(s):
Washington DC, DC, US
Telework Eligible:
For More Info:
USFSIP Coordinator


Who May Apply/Clarification From the Agency:
This announcement is open to U.S. citizens enrolled in an undergraduate degree program with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or above. Students must be rising juniors or seniors when they start the program, i.e., in their sophomore or junior year when applying.
Security Clearance Required:
Appointment Type
Appointment Type Details:
Interns serve for a period of ten weeks each during the summer of 2016 and 2017.
Marketing Statement:
The 2016-2017 U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program (USFSIP) allows select students the opportunity to participate in a paid, two-summer internship focused on diplomacy.  In the first summer, participants come to Washington, D.C. with a few weeks instruction on U.S. diplomatic history, professional writing, current issues and career skills as well as enrichment visits and mentoring followed by work on a policy desk.  The second summer is spent at a U.S. Embassy overseas working on real world issues with additional mentoring.  In the intervening year, students continue their regular studies and take the written FS Officer Test.  The 2016 Washington summer dates are May 31 - August 5.
The U.S. Department of State is the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency.  We work to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world to benefit the American people and people everywhere. The Department’s employees work at more than 270 embassies, consulates, and missions around the world and at domestic offices in Washington D.C. and across the United States.

The U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program is a paid, intensive internship offering U.S. citizen undergraduate students a chance to participate in the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy, working closely with representatives of the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign and Civil Services.  The program is both professionally and academically beneficial, providing participants with hands-on experience and insight into the substance and daily operations of U.S. foreign policy. Training modules on diplomatic history and writing skills provide additional benefits compared to the typical internship.
Students will have the opportunity to submit requests for their preferred State Dept. bureau for their first summer internship. This does not guarantee placement within any specific bureau, but it will serve as a starting point for placement. During the first internship, students will submit a list of embassies overseas in which they request to serve the following summer. No danger or high threat posts are permitted.  While USFSIP seeks to factor student preferences into internship placement, participants should be prepared to be assigned elsewhere as needed. 

The U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program is not a job program. It consists of two temporary appointments for experiential learning. USFSIP participants are not eligible for non-competitive hire to career positions in the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign or Civil Services. USFSIP is NOT a Pathways program for paid students and recent graduate trainees.

Key Requirements
  • U.S. citizens enrolled in undergraduate degree program; cumulative GPA of 3.2 or above.
  • Must be in their sophomore or junior year when applying.
  • Must have firm plans to continue their education in the year after the first summer.
  • Must apply for and receive a security clearance prior to the start of the program and remain in good academic standing.
Supervisory Position:
Relocation Expenses Reimbursed:


The Department of State provides Student Interns with opportunities both educationally and professionally substantive in nature.  The purpose of the program is to allow students to experience the formulation of U.S. foreign policy and the operation of the U.S. Department of State and our diplomatic facilities.  The course on U.S. diplomatic history will help prepare interns with knowledge necessary to perform successfully on policy desks. The writing instruction will aid in familiarizing students with professional writing standards and practices, including Department of State style. Specific duties and responsibilities will vary according to the domestic office or overseas post of assignment.  

Previous Department of State interns have summarized embassy reporting on current developments, written reports on human rights issues, drafted briefing papers for foreign policy meetings, helped review and vet proposed assistance projects and recipients, researched economic or environmental issues, monitored and evaluated media reporting, supported educational and cultural exchange activities and worked on web pages and electronic journals.

Qualifications and Evaluations

To qualify you must: 
  1. Be a United States citizen.
  2. Have at least a 3.2 GPA.
  3. Be a rising junior or senior (currently a sophomore or junior) in a baccalaureate degree program.
  4. Be enrolled in an accredited college or university on at least a half-time basis.
  5. Have firm plans to continue your education after the first USFSIP summer.
  6. Be able to receive and maintain a security clearance.
Education Requirements:
Students must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or above. Students must be rising juniors or seniors when they begin the program, i.e., in their sophomore or junior year when applying.
A selection panel will review the applications of qualified students who submit a complete and timely application package via USAJobs.  They determine the extent to which an applicant's education, experience, and background indicates that he/she possesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for the internship.  The merit-based selection criteria reflects the range of skills needed for success in the Foreign Service. These are tied to the following dimensions sought in Foreign Service candidates: Cultural Adaptability; Information Integration and Analysis; Initiative and Leadership; Judgment; Oral Communication; Written Communication; Planning and Organizing; Working with Others. In addition, the selection committee will take into account whether a student faces financial need or other adverse circumstances.

Once selections are finalized, student files are forwarded to Department of State bureaus for internship placement. Representatives from the Bureaus may contact candidates directly for more information or possible interviews.  Others may make selections based solely on the quality of a candidate’s written application.

Selected students may expect to receive notifications from the last week of October up until a month prior to their start date. All selections are conditional and subject to receiving a security clearance and maintaining the necessary academic standing. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Diplomat in Residence for their region to discuss their interest in this program specifically or State Department careers generally. (  
Please see the below "Requirements" section for a list of qualifications.

Benefits and Other Info

USFSIP covers reasonable travel expenses to and from the internship and assists with housing. Participants in the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program are considered temporary employees.  As such, they do not receive insurance benefits.  Their internship service is not creditable for retirement benefits unless and until the intern is subsequently appointed into a Federal career position. 
Other Information:
Security Clearances

Any applicant tentatively selected for this position will be required to undergo a pre-employment background investigation for the necessary security clearance.  Interns going overseas the second summer of this internship program may be required to receive a higher level of clearance than previously required for the first summer in Washington.

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) advises that routine SECRET level clearances normally require 120 to 150 days to complete.  Investigations may take substantially longer if you have a history of extensive overseas travel, education, residence and/or employment; or if you have dual citizenship, foreign contacts, immediate family, relatives, and/or a spouse or partner who is a citizen of a foreign country. In addition, if DS identifies a security, suitability, or medical issue, your investigation may require additional time to process and review.   These issues could include, but are not limited to, a current or past history of drug or alcohol abuse, indications of a mental or emotional health condition, or indications of financial problems. You should consult the Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Access to Classified Information ( ) to review how these considerations could affect your application. Such issues may not necessarily preclude DS from granting you a security clearance, but they will likely lengthen the time required to complete the clearance process.

We cannot guarantee that every potential intern will be able to obtain a security clearance before the start of an internship, if at all. Because the timeframe between conditional selection for an internship and entry on duty is relatively short (six to eight months), DS may not be able to adjudicate a non-routine case in time for the student to participate in the scheduled internship. In addition, where the applicant has strong foreign ties to a particular country, approval for an internship in that country or working on that country may be problematic. We therefore encourage students to seek internship assignments for countries with which they do not have substantial foreign ties.

Other Internship Opportunities

If you wish to be considered for other internship opportunities within the Department of State, you are required to complete a job application separate from the one that you must complete for the USFSIP. You will not be considered for one of the fellow internship programs without completing an application for that particular program.

Equal Opportunity

It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination, whether that discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors.

Reasonable Accommodation

This agency provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities.  If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the Office of Employee Relations, Disability/Reasonable Accommodations Division, at (202) 261-8163 or  The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.

How to Apply

How to Apply:
Applications must be submitted electronically through the "Gateway to State" system.  To begin the application process, please click on the "Apply Online" button to the right.

You have until 11:59 pm Eastern Time on the closing date of this announcement to complete the application process. This includes submitting your online application as well as any required documents as defined in the Required Documents section.  Candidates are encouraged to complete their applications well before the application deadline to be assured of consideration. If you should run into any technical issues, please do not hesitate to contact the Monster Help Desk at 1-866-656-6830 or to ensure your application’s submission. 

Please read all instructions carefully.
There are four parts to the online application process:
  • Applicant Profile — for applicants new to USAJOBS
  • USFSIP Application — including Statement of Interest and 3 Short-Answer Questions
  • Required Documents — transcript(s) and Student Aid Report (SAR)
  • References — Email to names, positions and email addresses of two  individuals who will provide a recommendation for the applicant
Part I-Applicant Profile

Applicants new to USAJOBS must create an applicant profile by providing biographic and prior Federal government employment information.  You must answer all "required" fields in order to proceed through the application process.  (If you are not new to USAJOBS, you can proceed directly to the intern application.)  All applicants must also "build" a USAJOBS resume.  You must complete these two steps in order to be able to move forward to the application in the Gateway to State.
Note: Attaching a personal resume to your USAJobs profile is not sufficient.  You must build a USAJOBS resume. 
Part II-Internship Application
The second part of the online application process is specific to the internship program.  In this section, you will be required to: 

  • Answer a questionnaire regarding your personal, academic, extracurricular and employment background.
  • Include as part of the application questionnaire a one-page (maximum 2500 characters, spaces included) Statement of Interest that describes your objectives and motivation in seeking this internship. Please be sure to include information regarding any form of financial hardship or adversity you have experienced.
  • Identify up to two bureaus in which you would prefer to be placed during your Washington internship assignment. 
  • Answer all three short-answer questions. Responses should demonstrate your best analytical and writing skills and should reflect your own work, not that of others. You will be scored on both your writing skills and on the content of your answers.

Note: Your statement of interest is important. It should demonstrate your ability to write concisely and clearly and it should tell your story.  Explain how your participation in the USFSIP would relate to your course of studies.  You may discuss what you will bring to the work of the office or post, and what you hope to take away from the internship experience.  You might highlight any disadvantages you may have overcome or relevant unique experiences.  Also, you can expand on any of your answers to questions asked in the application, such as language ability or other special skills.
Required Documents:
The third part of the application process is the submission of required documents. These documents MUST be included in your online application for it to be considered complete. Incomplete applications will not be considered. These documents are a transcript; and a Student Aid Report (SAR).

Transcripts: Your current or most recent transcript must be included in your online application per the instructions below. Usually one transcript is sufficient, but if an additional transcript is needed to document your stated GPA, you must supply it here. Both official AND unofficial transcripts are acceptable as part of the application process. However, if you are selected for an internship, you will be required to provide official transcripts before starting your internship. Your official transcript must show that you are an eligible student in order to begin the internship. 

SAR: A PDF copy of your 2015-16 Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be included in your online application per the instructions below. If you do not have a SAR, explain why in a short statement and upload that statement in place of your SAR.

Once you have completed the online questionnaire, including the Statement of Interest, you will be prompted to attach the required documents to your application. This can be accomplished by one of two methods:
  1. By uploading them (preferred method); or
  2. By using the application generated fax coversheet (it will include a barcode and system generated phone number).
If attaching your required documents by fax, it is extremely important that only the system-generated cover sheets, and the phone number included on them, be used. The cover sheets are coded to insure that your documents are automatically attached to your online application. Please ensure that each document is faxed separately with the appropriate cover sheet.

Please note the following:
  • Applications received without the required documents included are automatically disqualified for consideration, and will not be reconsidered.
  • Documents mailed or faxed directly to the U.S. Department of State, or any Department of State office either before or after the vacancy announcement has closed, will not be accepted.
  • Due to the volume of applications, fax lines can become jammed and documents may not successfully attach to your application on the final days/hours of the application announcement. IT IS THE RESPONISBLITY OF THE STUDENT TO VERIFY THAT REQUIRED DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY ATTACHED TO THE APPLICATION PRIOR TO THE CLOSING DATE. Applicants can do so by going back into your application and verifying that documents have been attached.

If a document is faxed successfully, you will receive a system-generated e-mail confirming receipt.


Applications received without required documents will be deemed ineligible. You are encouraged to submit your application early, and to go back into your application to confirm that your documents have been attached.

Technical questions about attaching required documents to your application, either via upload or fax using the system-generated coversheet and phone number, should be addressed to the Help Desk at 1-866-656-6830 or

Additional Elements

In addition, please be sure to submit an email to with the following included.
  • Student’s Name
  • Short explanation of reason for email.
  • Names and positions of two references , along with their most recent email address.
We will provide each recommender with a link to access the form that they must complete prior to the deadline we have set forth. All recommendations are due October 7, 2015. Further information regarding this can be found at USFSIP Information.

Next Steps:
Application Status

Applicants may view the status of their application on the Gateway to State site. CLICK HERE and enter your login information. Click "Applications," under the "Application Status" heading select "More Information." On the following screen, you will be able to verify your application status.

Application Timeline for 2016-17 cycle

Application Deadline (including all supporting documents):  October 2, 2015

Two Letters of Recommendation: No Later than October 7, 2015

Selectees notified of selection by Student Programs Office via e-mail: Last week of October       

Non-selects notified by e-mail by Student Programs Office via e-mail: Last week of October

Selectees complete and submit security clearance paperwork, and submit official transcripts:  Early-Mid November

Interns Enter on Duty:  May 31, 2016

Internship Ends:  August 2016. (USFSIP interns may continue to work up to an additional four weeks but would do so without salary or housing assistance.)