Public Interest Policy Internship for Graduate Students

The purpose of this internship is to provide graduate students with firsthand knowledge of the ways in which psychological research can inform public policy and the roles psychologists can play in its formulation and implementation.

Deadline: March 17, 2016

Sponsor: APA Public Interest Government Relations Office


The graduate student intern will spend one year working on public interest policy issues on the staff of APA's Public Interest Government Relations Office. The office helps to formulate and implement APA positions on major federal policy initiatives of importance to psychology in the public interest. Moreover, the office works to influence legislative and regulatory activities impacting populations and areas, such as: 

  • Disabilities.
  • Aging.
  • Socioeconomic status.
  • Ethnic and racial minorities.
  • Children, youth and families.
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
  • Individuals with HIV/AIDS.
  • Social concerns (e.g., media or trauma, violence and abuse).

The intern's activities include participating in legislative and advocacy work, such as assisting in the preparation of briefing papers, testimony and other documents, and attending congressional hearings and coalition meetings. Public Interest policy interns work 15 hours per week from September until August in APA’s Central Office in Washington, D.C. The internship provides a stipend of $15 per hour.


Applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral program in psychology, in at least the second year of graduate training. In addition, applicants should be members of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students and must be available to work 15 hours per week in APA's Central Office in Washington, D.C., from September until August.

The applicant should have a strong interest in applying psychological research findings to the solution of social problems and must demonstrate competence in conducting literature reviews and summarizing findings for a non-scientific audience. The applicant must be able to work quickly and communicate effectively on a wide range of topics and be able to work cooperatively with individuals having diverse viewpoints.

How to Apply

Applications to the Public Interest Policy Internship for the 2015-16 academic year must be received in its entirety by March 19, 2015.

Public Interest Call for Applications (PDF, 204KB)

Interested students are required to submit the following materials:
  • A completed application cover sheet (PDF, 209KB).
  • A current vita providing information about educational background and any relevant professional, public policy and/or legislative experience.
  • A personal statement of 500 words or less, expressing the applicant’s interest in psychology and public policy and what the applicant hopes to learn from the internship experience.
  • A letter from the department indicating the applicant is enrolled and is in good standing with the college/university.
  • A literature review (limit five pages) displaying the applicant’s ability to translate complex ideas.
  • Three letters of recommendation that specifically addresses the applicant’s dependability, confidentiality and aptitude for policy work or research, based on the recommender’s past or current experience with the applicant. Each letter of recommendation must be accompanied by a reference survey (PDF, 276KB) that is to be completed by the author of the letter of recommendation.
Application materials should be sent to:

American Psychological Association
Public Interest Government Relations Office — Internship Program
750 First Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20002-4242

For additional information about the application process, please contact Senior Legislative Assistant Ben Vonachen at (202) 336-6097.