Opportunities with Washington State Legislature
Applications for the Winter 2024 cohort have CLOSED.
The next recruitment cycle for the Winter 2025 cohort will begin in Spring quarter 2024.
Read on to learn about the internship program and how you can get involved in state public policy.
More about the program
Every year, the Washington State Legislative Internship Program brings over 70 college students to Olympia for a one-of-a-kind educational and professional opportunity. During the internship, which takes place in winter quarter, interns work for members of the Washington State House of Representatives or Senate while earning academic credit from their schools. Interns work alongside legislative staff to learn first-hand about public policy, build professional skills, and serve the citizens of Washington State. They also hire for policy/fiscal committee positions, communication, and policy research roles.
Interns are placed with legislators’ offices and work in Olympia as full-time staff while the Legislature is in session (January through March or April every year). In addition to their office work, interns work on special projects, take part in a hands-on academic program including training in legislative ethics, writing and research, a budget exercise, mock committee hearings and floor debate, and a job shadow at a state agency. Interns also participate in seminars and workshops with state officials, policymakers, journalists, and lobbyists, offering networking opportunities and a global view of the political process. You can read about some interns’ actual internship experiences here.
The Legislative Internship is a paid, full time (40 hours per week) commitment. The internship must be taken for undergraduate academic credit at a four-year college or university. Credit amounts and other academic requirements are determined by the school. Washington college juniors and seniors of any age and any major are eligible to apply.
Select your focus area
Interns work for these Committees:
- Children & Family Services & Corrections
- Commerce & Trade
- Economic Development
- Financial Services, Insurance & Housing
- Government Operations & Elections
- Health & Long-Term Care
- Higher Education
- Highways & Transportation
- Land Use & Planning
- Natural Resources, Energy & Water
- Parks, Fish & Wildlife
- Technology & Communications
- Ways & Means
Get more information on this valuable internship on the Washington State Legislature website.
Please note: This internship experience is non-partisan, meaning that you will not be able to share, or act on, partisan beliefs during the entirety of the internship.
View this video (4:02) to see what the internship experience is like.
- For Undergraduate juniors and seniors in any major. (Open to international students).
- Work at the Capitol in Olympia with legislators and staff in either the House of Representatives or the Senate.
- Interns typically do research, bill tracking, constituent correspondence and agency casework.
- They have the opportunity to attend committee hearings and other meetings, and interact with staff and legislators.
- Participate in weekly seminars and workshops and write weekly reflections.
- Must do the internship for academic credit; a Faculty Adviser has already been assigned for the course.
- UW Bothell Students will take BIS 497, Political Internship in State Government. The internship is structured to be 15 credits, but students may opt to only take 5 or 10 credits, if they prefer. (Sample Syllabus)
Hear from the Washington State Legislative Internship Program Directors in this recorded info session (3:44).
The student intern experience
Learn more about our most recent interns’ experience in Olympia in Winter 2023
Hear from a previous UWB intern from Winter 2021 recount his experience (3:21).
Read about the some of our previous Legislative Intern’s experience in Olympia:
How to apply
When filling out the application, you will be asked for the Internship Faculty Sponsor. The sponsor has been prearranged through UW. Check to confirm you “have arranged for a faculty sponsor and will receive academic credit for the internship.” The sponsor is Randy Spaulding; his email is Randy.Spaulding@k12.wa.us.
For more information and any questions regarding the application process, make a appointment with career coach Will Radcliffe to discuss the application process, schedule a review of your materials, and a mock interview. You can also email the him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow these steps
Visit the internship application page for complete current instructions. Note that links to forms and essay topics will vary from year to year.
- Resume and cover letter describing your work, volunteer, and academic experience, and demonstrating why you meet the qualifications for the internship. Address your letter to the current contacts on the page.
- Choose ONE of the posted prompts and write a one-page personal essay responding to it. Essays should be well-edited, professional in tone, and explain something about who you are as a person. Do not use your essay to take a stand on a political issue or summarize your resume.
- Unofficial transcript PDF. (If you are a transfer student and have not yet completed a full quarter, please submit a copy of your most recent transcript from your previous school.
- Two (2) letters of recommendation: Academic and Personal
- Send your references the link to the Internship Reference Form (the current year’s link is available on the application page under “Request letters of recommendation”) to upload their letters of recommendation.
- Complete the online application and upload your transcript and written materials. Your cover letter, resume, and essay MUST be saved as a single document upload.
- Submit! Please note that the application form will not allow you to submit until all materials are complete, so make sure that your documents are prepared and ready to upload before you begin the application. (Letters of reference are submitted separately by your recommenders.)