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

Through curricular and experiential learning, START educates, mentors and trains the next generation of national security scholars and practitioners.

Internship Frequently Asked Questions

Internship Frequently Asked Questions

START is currently offering our program remotely and plans to continue doing so in the fall. In the event that the University allows us to work in person in the fall, accepted interns may have the option to work in person pending further information on university protocols and policy, but all will retain the ability to continue working remotely if desired. You can find the most up-to-date information that UMD offers on COVID-19 and campus operations at this link: https://umd.edu/4Maryland

We receive a lot of questions about our internship program. Please review our Frequently Asked Questions and answers below. Feel free to reach out to internships@start.umd.edu if you have any additional questions. Click here to apply for a START internship.

How do I apply?

To apply, read through each project description and select which projects you are most interested in and qualified for before you begin your application. Once you know which projects you'd like to work with, fill out the application web form. Each project description has a link to our common application. In the form, we ask you to indicate your first, second, and third choice project team. Your application will be reviewed in order of the projects you select in this section. 

This is my first time applying to an internship. What should my resume and cover letter include? 

Please check out the University of Maryland's Career Center resources for resume and cover letter tips. For additional resume and cover letter guidance regarding START internships, please register to attend one of our upcoming Information Sessions.

What should my writing sample look like?

We ask for a two-page writing sample to better understand your skill and style as a writer. Feel free to use a portion of a paper you've already written – a section that stands alone (like an introduction, literature review, or methods section) works best for us, but do not feel obligated to produce something new. If you have a paper focused on terrorism or your project's specific focus, great! If you do not, that's okay too, just use something that demonstrates your writing skill and style.

Am I still eligible to intern with START if I need to miss some of the days in the program schedule?

That depends – we understand that our interns are balancing various school and work obligations, and we will work with you to set up a schedule to accommodate your needs at the beginning of each term. If something like a doctor's appointment, illness or family commitment comes up during your time with us, we will work with you to make up lost time.

If you know in advance that you will need to miss a significant portion of the internship (such as orientation or the week of final presentations), we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate your schedule, as these are critical times for interns.

I applied a while ago and haven't been contacted for an interview. What does that mean?

Because of our commitment to thoroughly reviewing each internship application, the applicant review process can take some time (often a few weeks or months after the application deadline). That being said, when our review is complete, we will either make you an official offer to intern with us or inform you that you were not selected.

Does START have a rolling decision process?

No. We begin our review process immediately after the application deadline. We work hard to get decisions out to students quickly, but we do not have a rolling review process.

Unfortunately, I missed the application deadline. Can I still apply?

Sadly, no. We begin our review of applications immediately after the deadline and, due to our multi-tiered review process, it is not possible for us to consider late applications.

I'm an international student, can I work at START?

Some of our projects do require U.S. Citizenship due to limitations set by the project’s funders. The citizenship requirements for these projects are clearly indicated in the project description. Additionally, in order for you to work with any START project, you must be legally allowed to take an unpaid internship in the United States. This means you must hold an F-1 visa and not be on OPT status. Because START internships are short-term, we cannot sponsor visas for interns. We also cannot host you as a volunteer, as we must process you through UMD human resources in order for you to have access to our office and networks systems. For any further questions about visas, international students can contact the UMD International Student & Scholar Services office.

I’m a former START Intern. Do I need to re-apply if I would like to intern again?

Yes, you’ll need to re-apply for another term with us. We need all the same information from you that we did when you applied the first time, even if you apply to work on the same project. You will likely be contacted to re-interview as well.

I’m a Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Graduate Student or Recent Graduate – am I eligible to apply?

Yes! All of our projects are looking for specific skills that you may or may not have yet, but there is likely something that you will be eligible to work on at START. The program writ large does not place restrictions on your class standing.

I’ll be taking courses while I plan to work at START. How many hours do interns work? Can I fit my internship around my classes?

We understand individuals who intern with us have other constraints on their time. We require interns work 10 hours/week in the fall or spring semesters and 20 hours/week in the summers. Your schedule must fit within normal business hours and be approved by your supervisor. We ask that you work a regular schedule (i.e., the same times each week of the program) and that you don’t work extra-long (more than 8 hours) or short (less than 2 hours) shifts at any given time.

Are your internships paid?

While we are unfortunately not able to pay our interns, we invest heavily in mentoring and student development by keeping our supervisor-to-intern ratio extremely low. Additionally, each term we host a series of speaking events from professionals working in security, policy and research to serve as learning opportunities for students looking to enter a similar field. Interns find these opportunities with our colleagues, funders and alums extremely beneficial. In addition, START and the University of Maryland have several opportunities for students to apply for unpaid internship stipends. Click here for more information.

I’m able to earn academic credit for internships through my University, does START allow students to earn credit?

Yes! We actually prefer students earn credit for their internships with us (but it’s not required). Your home institution can generally grant you credit for your time as an intern. You should check with your advisor to make sure you understand the process. You can also earn credit through START. Our course BSST386: Experiential Learning in Terrorism Studies is designed to complement an internship in order to earn academic credit. Click here for more information on BSST386.

I am a student in Washington, DC. Is College Park accessible by Metro?

START and the University of Maryland are Metro-accessible. We are a short shuttle ride away from the College Park-U of M stop on the green line. There are also many Metro, Prince George’s County and UMD buses that service the area.