A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

START fosters a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment to create a team to meet the needs of the homeland security enterprise and train the next generation of scholars and practitioners. 

Global Terrorism Database (GTD) Internships - Spring 2019

Global Terrorism Database (GTD) Internships - Spring 2019

November 11, 2018
Semester Year: 


The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) is the most comprehensive unclassified terrorism database in the world. Currently updated through 2017, the GTD details information on more than 180,000 terrorist attacks that have occurred since 1970. Data from the GTD have been featured by the BBC, CNN, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Economist, The New York Times, Reuters, The Washington Post, and numerous other media outlets. The data are also used by the United States Department of State in its annual publication, Country Reports on Terrorism. GTD interns gain valuable experience working on a time-sensitive data collection effort that is used by those responsible for shaping United States counterterrorism policy.


  • Incident Location and Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT); William Kammerer (wjkammer@umd.edu)
  • Perpetrator Identification; Sheehan Kane (skane2@umd.edu)
  • Target Classification; Bryan Arva (barva@umd.edu)
  • The Consequences of Terrorism- Casualties and Outcomes; Joe Oudin (joudin@umd.edu)
  • Understanding the Patterns and Use of Weapons and Tactics; Kieran Quinlan (kquinla1@umd.edu)

Deadline: Sunday, November 11, 2018, 11:59pm

Citizenship Requirement: US citizenship is not required.

Team Meeting Times: Mondays, 1:45-3:00PM

Work Location: All internship hours must be completed at START HQ, unless otherwise specified. Working remotely is not permitted.

Specific Project Descriptions:

We are currently seeking graduate students and exceptional undergraduate students with an interest in terrorism research and public policy to assist with identifying, classifying, analyzing, and recording information about current terrorist attacks.

Throughout the course of the internship, students will be exposed to tens of thousands of media articles from both global (Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, Al-Jazeera, etc.) and local (Nigeria Punch, Al-Mada Press, Plus News Pakistan, Yemen Fox, etc.) news sources that describe thousands of terrorist attacks. The main task of the intern will be to extract pertinent information regarding attacks from these news articles and record it in the database.

By joining the GTD team, students will experience what it is like to be a member of a large, multi-year social science research project that has a real-world and real-time policy impact. Interns will also gain valuable data analysis and analytical skills and acquire in-depth knowledge about the patterns of global terrorist activity.

GTD internships will be relevant for those planning to apply to graduate school in related social and behavioral science fields or anyone interested in gaining employment in the homeland security, defense, law enforcement, or intelligence communities.

While the main task of this internship generally consists of synthesizing and systematically recording detailed information about current terrorist incidents, the effort is organized into the following topical domains: 

Topic: Incident Location and Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT)

Project Manager: William Kammerer

This project focuses on identifying the vital information relevant to the location of terrorist incidents, which allows researchers to analyze the data spatially. Interns with regional geographic expertise are encouraged to apply. This project is recommended for students that are interested terrorism and geography. There are additional opportunities for interns to enhance their ArcGIS capabilities.

Topic: Perpetrator Identification

Project Manager: Sheehan Kane

This project focuses on identifying the groups and individuals responsible for committing terrorist attacks. This project is recommended for students that are interested in learning more about the myriad groups that engage in terrorism, their goals, and the complex relationships between them. Preferred qualifications for this project include non-English language skills (reading proficiency), particularly in Arabic or Spanish.

Topic: Target Classification

Project Manager: Bryan Arva

This project focuses on the people and entities targeted by terrorists and aims to classify them in ways that ease the identification of trends. This project is recommended for students interested in learning about targeting patterns and who is most at risk from terrorism.

Topic: The Consequences of Terrorism – Casualties and Outcomes

Project Manager: Joe Oudin

This project focuses on the consequences of the attacks, which includes casualty information, property damage, and hostage/kidnapping outcomes. This project is recommended for students that are interested in understanding the consequences of an attack and learning about what happens after incidents take place.

Topic: Understanding the Patterns and Use of Weapons and Tactics

Project Manager: Kieran Quinlan

This project focuses on how perpetrators carry out their attacks. Interns will specifically focus on which types of weapons were used in the attack as well as the tactics employed. This project is recommended for students that are interested in learning how terrorist groups utilize weapons and various tactics to their advantage in attacks.

Required Qualifications:

Applicants must

  • Have a minimum of 60 university credits completed;
  • Be able to attend relevant training and biweekly meetings;
  • And be able to commit 10 hours per week of their time to the internship and to communicate frequently with their assigned project manager.

Preferred Qualifications:

Applicants should

  • Be self-motivated and responsible;
  • Have great attention to detail;
  • Be able to balance working independently with knowing when to ask important questions;
  • Have a strong interest in research;
  • Have familiarity with Excel;
  • Have a record of superior academic achievement;
  • And be able to complete the internship for credit (approximately 135 hours, or a 3 credit internship).
  • Additionally, any regional expertise, language skills, or prior research experience would be a definite asset.

General Information for all START Internships


START Headquarters is located in the Discovery District in College Park, MD. Our exact address will be provided upon being invited for an interview. All internship hours must be completed at this office unless otherwise specified. Working remotely is not permitted. 

Schedule Requirements:

Orientation Date: Thursday, January 24th, 2019. All interns are required to attend orientation. You may be required to attend an additional day of orientation on Friday, January 25th, 2019. Your supervisor will inform you if you are required to attend both days.
Internship Duration: Thursday, January 24th, 2019 to Friday, May 10th, 2019. All interns must be able to commit to the duration of the whole program.
Work Hours: All interns must work at least 10 hours per week during the Spring 2019 program. Work hours are scheduled from Monday to Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm. Interns may not work longer than 8-hour shifts.

Other Information:

  • All internships are UNPAID and START is unable to provide travel stipends or housing arrangements.
  • We strongly encourage and recommend that interns seek academic credit for their internship through their home institution or department, if possible.
  • If undertaking the internship for credit, you must indicate this on your application form. Be sure to notify your internship supervisor if you need to work more than 10 hours per work for this reason.
  • Applicants interested in applying for an internship for any semester other than or in addition to Spring 2019, must submit a separate application for each semester with the correct application form for that semester.

How to Apply for START Internships:

START is currently accepting applications for Spring 2019. The spring application form will be open until Sunday, November 11th, 2018 at 11:59pm. However some projects for the spring semester have an earlier application deadline of Sunday, October 28th, 2018 at 11:59pm. Late, incomplete, or applications not submitted correctly will not be considered. To access the application: click here.


  • Applicants must pay close attention to the requirements of each internship they are applying for, including attendance to team meetings and minimum time commitment. Inability to attend compulsory meetings or work the minimum required hours will result in the revocation of any offer made.
  • Address your cover letter to the internship supervisor of your first choice project.
  • Failure to complete the application form in full, including the selection of 1-3 internship preferences could result in your application being rejected without further consideration.
  • Failure to submit the proper materials according to the directions provided in the project description could result in your application being rejected without further consideration.
  • Due to the high volume of applicants, only top candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.
  • Applicants may be asked to attend more than one interview.
  • Any successful candidate will be asked to respond with a firm acceptance within 48 hours of the offer being made. Failure to respond could result in the vacancy passed to another candidate.
  • Any questions regarding the specific requirements for the internship vacancy should be directed to the supervisor(s) listed for the project.
  • Any questions regarding the application process should be directed to the START Education Team at internships-start@umd.edu.

Application Materials:

All internship applicants must submit all materials in one .pdf file using the file name format:

LastName, FirstName_InternCandidate.pdf or .doc.

 The internship application packet should include the following documents in the following order:

  • One page cover letter
  • One page resume
  • Official or unofficial transcript(s)
  • Two-page writing sample (Communications applicants must submit two writing samples.)

Note for International Students:

START welcomes applications from international students for all of our internships where US citizenship is not a requirement (see the qualifications listed for each project for details).

It is, however, the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that their visa or immigration status permits them to undertake an unpaid internship. It is also the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all proper paperwork, like documented approval from your home institution, is available and processed in time for the start of the internship. Failure to comply with these stipulations, or provide the paperwork required to verify your status, will result in your internship offer being rescinded without further consideration. START is unable to sponsor visas for non-US Citizens due to the short timeline of our program and the lengthy processing time for visas. Unfortunately, this largely limits our ability to accept anything other than F-1 visas on regular, not OPT, status.