The Director’s Internship is a signature program of the IOP. Since 1995, the IOP has partnered with high-profile organizations and elected officials around the world to provide substantive, career-oriented summer internships for undergraduate students interested in politics, government, and public service. These are fully-funded internships that allow students to gain experience in the public sector that may otherwise be difficult to obtain or finance. Students have reported these internships as leading to careers, larger networks, and significant development of professional skills.
ELIGIBILITY: All currently enrolled Harvard undergraduates who intend to be enrolled at Harvard College in Fall 2021 are eligible to apply. Students who participated in the IOP Summer of Service virtual program during Summer 2020 are eligible to apply. However, students who participated in the Director’s Internship program during or before Summer 2019 are NOT eligible to apply.
- STUDENTS ON LEAVE: If you are on leave during the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semesters, you may be eligible to apply. You will need to petition, and receive approval from, the Administrative Board for approval to use the CARAT Application Portal. Contact your Resident Dean to initiate the petition process as soon as possible.
- FUTURE ELIGIBILITY: All participants in the IOP Director’s Internship program for Summer 2021 will be eligible to apply to the Director’s Internship program in subsequent summers provided they satisfy all other eligibility requirements.
APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: Applicants will be required to submit a resume (one page), statement of interest (one page), and two references. Learn more here.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Applications must be received by Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 11:59pm ET. Students may apply to a maximum of TWO Director’s Internship positions before the February 7th deadline.
FORMAT: In light of the ongoing public health crisis, the IOP is arranging internships that are able to be conducted remotely. At this point, we assume all summer 2021 internships will be conducted remotely.
PROGRAM DATES: Students who are selected for the IOP Director’s Internship program will receive a $4000 stipend for 8 weeks of full-time work to take place between June 7 and August 13.
HOST ORGANIZATIONS: A list of Director’s Internship host organizations is here. Students may apply to a maximum of TWO Director’s Internship positions before the February 7th deadline.
FUNDING POLICY: The IOP and other funding centers at Harvard aim to distribute summer funding across the undergraduate community. Therefore, students who receive an IOP Director's Internship may not accept any additional Harvard funding for their internship. Students are also prohibited from accepting more than one substantial Harvard-funded summer opportunity each summer. In general, substantial experiences are defined as 8 weeks or longer. Students must disclose if they are receiving Harvard funding for any other projects at any point throughout the summer, the amount of the award, and the dates of the other project as soon as possible and no later than June 1 of the year of the award. The IOP reserves the right to modify awards accordingly. Failure to promptly report other Harvard-funded summer activities may be reported to the Administrative Board.
*** For questions about the Director's Internship Program, please email IOP_ICS@hks.harvard.edu ***
Applicants must submit the following for consideration:
RESUME: 1 page. 1” margins, 11 - 12 point font. You can find resources and templates for resumes here.
STATEMENT OF INTEREST: Write a one-page statement that demonstrates your knowledge of, and interest in, the organization to which you are applying.
- Basics: The statement should be one page in length, single spaced, with Times New Roman, 11 - 12 point font, and submitted in PDF format.
- Tone & Format: The tone and format of your Statement of Interest may vary depending on the organization(s) to which you're applying. The format can range between a college application essay and a traditional cover letter. This range is meant to allow you the freedom to choose what best suits you and fits the organization to which you’re applying. Your Statement of Interest can fall anywhere in that range (i.e. if you'd like to submit a traditional cover letter, you're free to do that).
- Salutation: If you’d like to use a salutation, you can address your Statement to the organization or to some variation of “IOP Director’s Internship Selection Committee.”
REFERENCES: In one PDF document, you will need to provide the name, title (if applicable), email and phone number(s) of TWO references. A reference can be anyone you choose - a professor, a coach, a tutor, a boss, etc. Depending on your class year, you may decide to choose someone from your time in high school. Your reference should be able to speak in detail about the positive skills and traits you possess. Please inform your reference that they may be contacted by the Director’s Internship selection committee and/or the host organization during the course of the selection process.
ADDITIONAL MATERIALS: After the IOP application closes on Sunday, February 7 at 11:59pm ET, some host organizations may request that finalists submit a letter of recommendation, writing sample, or other materials directly to their office. Please review the internship descriptions for the positions to which you are applying to confirm whether additional application materials are required of you AFTER the application deadline. NOTE: You DO NOT need to submit these additional application materials to the IOP application on CARAT.
NOTE: The IOP Director, Executive Director, and the Internships and Career Services program staff are not able to serve as references for the Director's Internship application.
In light of Harvard University’s guidance regarding COVID-19, all summer 2020 IOP internships were conducted remotely. Meet the students in our Summer of Service cohort who participated in virtual internships in politics and public service.
In the summer of 2019, the IOP offered 125 Director’s Internships.
Reflections from 2019 Director's Interns
Hosting a Director's Intern
The IOP partners with high-profile organizations and elected officials around the world to provide substantive, career-oriented summer internships for undergraduates students interested in politics, government, and public service. These opportunities are fully-funded by the IOP, and interns are responsible for completing 10 weeks of full-time work.
The IOP welcomes inquries from organizations interested in learning more about the program; please email IOP_ICS@hks.harvard.edu.
For questions about the Director's Internship Program, please email IOP_ICS@hks.harvard.edu