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Apply for the CNA Research Internship Program

Apply for the CNA Research Internship Program

Internships at CNA provide hands-on research and analysis experience, pay a competitive rate, and cultivate valuable mentorship opportunities.

CNA’s 12-week paid Summer Research Internship Program is designed to introduce recent undergraduates and current graduate students to work in a professional studies and analysis organization dedicated to the safety and security of the United States of America.

CNA seeks interns with quantitative or qualitative research and analysis skills to work with its research staff, who span a diverse range of academic backgrounds.

CNA encourages applicants in any of the following fields: computer science, data science, chemistry, physics, biology/environmental science, engineering, operations research, mathematics, statistics, economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, or international relations.

Post-doctoral fellows are not eligible for the internship program. However, CNA encourages postdocs who are completing their fellowships to apply for a full-time Research Analyst position.

What to expect from a CNA internship

CNA's goal is for the internship experience to mimic what it’s like to be a member of a CNA research team.

Upon hire, each intern is assigned to a mentor and a project that matches his or her area of study. With the mentor’s guidance, the intern assists the team in structuring and solving a complex problem, developing sound analytical methods to derive findings and conclusions.

The intern documents those results and presents their work at the conclusion of the internship. In the course of conducting the analysis, the intern may engage with the study sponsor, generally located in government agencies in the National Capital Region. In addition, throughout the course of the internship, interns benefit from ongoing learning events and collaboration activities.

Mentors and research program team members will provide interns with guidance on project tasks and navigating CNA resources. Other events are planned throughout the summer to help connect the intern to CNA. Selected candidates will be required to work at CNA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. CNA supports a hybrid work environment.

Eligibility for a CNA internship

Eligible candidates must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree or currently enrolled in a graduate program in the physical, social, or computer sciences or a related discipline.
  • US citizen
  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.3 or higher
  • Strong collaboration and communications skills

Post-doctoral fellows are not eligible for the internship program. However, CNA encourages postdocs who are completing their fellowships to apply for a full-time Research Analyst position.

Internship pay 

CNA's Research Internship Program lasts for approximately 12 weeks. Interns are paid every two weeks at a rate competitive for the area and level of work they will be conducting. This is a 40-hours-a-week position.

Interns are paid for national holidays that are observed during their appointment.

Although interns do not accrue paid time off, they may arrange in advance with their Managing Director or Research Program Director to take days off without pay.

Application process 

Students who qualify should submit an application, cover letter, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and resume (including GPA). The cover letter should describe the candidate’s interest in the internship, as well as their leadership, problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration skills. All job applicants must have US citizenship. 

CNA accepts applications for internships from September to November. Qualified applicants are interviewed January–February and notified of their status no later than March.


Enjoy a hands-on internship experience with CNA 

CNA is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer that is committed to diversity in the workplace. 

Internships at CNA offer real-world experience with an organization dedicated to the safety and security of the United States.

"Having employees with different points of view and frames of reference and with broad ranges of life experiences brings an energy and unique advantage that is essential to delivering on our mission," explains President and CEO, Katherine McGrady.

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