Intelligence and Analysis Internship Program Frequently Asked Questions

Intelligence and Analysis Internship Program Frequently Asked Questions

The Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) Internship Program is for current degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students seeking to launch an exciting career in homeland security and intelligence.

How does the selection process work?

There are five stages of the Intern hiring process:

  • Initial Application Review — Application materials must be complete before referral to the selection panel; incomplete applications are not considered.
  • Application Evaluation — I&A reviews intern applications and considers each in light of academic background, any other relevant experience, and the current needs of I&A.
  • Conditional Offer — I&A contacts selected individuals via phone or e-mail to confirm their continued interest. If the candidate confirms, I&A extends a conditional offer of employment. This offer is contingent upon the successful completion of a background investigation and the granting of a Top Secret security clearance. Due to the volume of applications, only those selected as candidates will be contacted.
  • Background Investigation — Candidates who accept the conditional job offer must complete and submit required background investigation paperwork. As part of the background investigation, U.S. government investigators contact your current/former employers, references, social acquaintances, and neighbors, and review school, credit, arrest, medical, and military records. The length of an applicant's background investigation depends on a number of different variables. Variables include how quickly and thoroughly each applicant completes the background investigation documents, the extent of foreign travel or time spent living abroad, and inconsistencies in the application and investigation process. The I&A internship processing timeline allows approximately four months of security processing, which is the average time for most applicants. However, every case is unique. If an intern has not been granted the clearance by the time of the official start of the Internship Program in late May, I&A will work individually with interns as they clear security to establish a later start date when feasible.
  • Enter on Duty — Upon successful completion of the background investigation and granting of a security clearance, human capital representatives contact interns and assign an enter-on-duty date. Then I&A Internship Program generally begins right after Memorial Day in late May.

How long does it take to be hired?

The length of the hiring process depends upon the length of the background investigation.

Who is the point of contact during the application process?

The I&A Internship Program Coordinator ( is the point of contact for each applicant throughout the hiring process. The Internship Program Coordinator periodically checks in with candidates on the status of their application and is available to answer questions.

Will traveling or living abroad prevent an intern from receiving a security clearance?

No. I&A generally views living or traveling abroad as a positive experience. However, there are cases where national security concerns may arise from time spent abroad. Additionally, extensive foreign experience may delay the background investigation process if there is difficulty verifying information provided on the application.

Applicants should not be studying abroad during the academic year prior to the summer in which they wish to intern, as an individual must be physically present in the U.S. for the clearance process.

May non-U.S. citizens apply?

No. All interns must be United States citizens. If an applicant is a U.S. citizen and holds dual citizenship with another country, DHS Security will review their file to make a determination if they are eligible for employment.

What information is evaluated in a Top Secret clearance investigation?

DHS requires each and every employee to be reliable and trustworthy. All selected applicants must undergo and successfully complete a background investigation and be granted a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) clearance as a condition of placement in the Internship Program. This investigation includes a review of delinquency in the payment of debts, tax obligations, certain criminal offenses, and the illegal use or possession of drugs.

Applicants should consult the Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Access to Classified Information to review how these and other considerations could affect their application. Issues may not necessarily preclude DHS from granting a security clearance, but they may lengthen the time required to complete the clearance process.

Does DHS provide housing for interns or pay for their travel to/from Washington, D.C.?

No. DHS does not pay for or provide housing for interns. The I&A Internship Program Coordinator can provide interns with information on nearby housing options. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis also does not pay for travel to/from Washington, D.C. for participation in the program. Interns receive a salary for time worked, which can help pay for living expenses. All interns are paid according to the General Schedule, depending on their level of education and academic credits.

Does DHS pay for commuting costs during the internship?

DHS offers federal public transit subsidies for the daily commute to and from work. Free parking is also available at I&A headquarters if the intern chooses to drive.

How many hours do interns typically work?

Summer internships are full-time positions (40 hours per week) lasting 10-weeks (late May through mid-August). These opportunities are available for students who attend school outside of the Washington, D.C. area, although local students may apply too. Full-year internships are available for students who are attending metropolitan Washington, DC universities and who are available throughout the academic year. Full-year interns work full-time during the summer term and are asked to work at least 16 hours per week during the school year. Interns will determine a schedule with their supervisor based on their academic commitments. I&A encourages interns to minimize time away from work in order to maximize participation in all planned events.

What types of activities are available to interns at I&A?

Interns work alongside I&A employees and support their mission activities. I&A also provides special training and outreach experiences at DHS Components and other Intelligence Community agencies. All interns will have a custom Individual Development Plan prepared with their supervisor and a mentor to ensure appropriate growth and experience.

What types of projects do interns work on?

I&A assigns interns to positions based on expressed preferences in the application, experience, and academic work. Interns may work in a number of roles within one of our four mission areas: Analysis, Operations, Mission Readiness, or Information Technology. In all cases, interns can expect to receive on-the-job training and function as a team member.

For example, interns may be teamed with an intelligence analyst to learn tradecraft and research, write, and present finished intelligence products on terrorism, cyber, or border security issues. An intern in our IT mission area may assist in developing databases, working on IT tools to enhance analysis, or big data. Other intern positions support field operations, analyze performance measurement and organizational development, or aid in budget and financial operations.

Can interns return as a summer intern each year while they are in college?

Yes. I&A encourages summer interns to complete at least two full summers with the program.

Do you accept graduate students or former students who recently graduated?

The I&A Internship Program is open to both current undergraduate- and graduate-level students. Applicants must be enrolled in a degree program to be eligible. Rising seniors are eligible to apply if they will be going directly on to graduate school. Recent graduates are not eligible for this program; however, they may apply for entry-level jobs within I&A and other parts of DHS. Visit Office of Intelligence and Analysis and USAJOBS for more information on current opportunities.

Are interns offered a full-time position with I&A at the conclusion of their internship?

Participating in the I&A Internship Program does not guarantee placement in a full-time position following graduation. However, I&A seeks to hire as many of our successful interns as possible.

Is the I&A Internship Program part of the federal Pathways Programs?

No, the I&A Internship Program is a unique program created using Excepted Service authority. Veterans are encouraged to apply.

Who should interns contact for more information?

Please contact our Internship Program Coordinator at for more information.

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