The Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ internship program provides a valuable opportunity for aspiring Africa-security scholars and practitioners. Internships are available in the Africa Center’s Academic Affairs and Research Departments. A successful candidate will generally possess:

  • Background in U.S. and African government policy, specifically in issues of security studies, foreign affairs, and the development-security-governance nexus
  • Senior-level undergraduate coursework or higher
  • Authorization to work in the United States (U.S. citizenship is not required)
  • Strong English communication skills (fluency in French, Portuguese, or Arabic is desired but not required)

To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter, and brief (3–5 pages) writing sample to [email protected]. Please indicate the internship(s) you are applying for in the subject of your email. Your cover letter should include expected start/end dates and hours available.

All Africa Center internships are unpaid. Interns have full access to the facilities at National Defense University, including the library and gym. Successful candidates will be required to meet the minimum requirements of a National Agency Check background investigation. In order to be eligible, interns must have spent three of the last five years in the United States and have no criminal record. They must also be available to visit NDU to fulfill security requirements during the semester prior to their internship.

Academic Affairs

The Academic Affairs department at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies is responsible for the academic aspects of Africa Center programming. The department includes a faculty body composed of experts in the field of African security and organizes events to facilitate peer learning by our African partners and to support the U.S. government through education and briefings.

Duties will include: conducting in-depth research on assigned topics and themes; reviewing and reporting on African and international press coverage of terrorism and related topics in Africa; attending occasional on-campus panels, programs, and events and writing detailed reports about them; supporting Africa Center meetings, programs, and events; and completing other duties as assigned.

In addition, interns may be asked to assist in the implementation of programs in the Washington area. These programs present an excellent opportunity for direct exposure to leading research and thinking in a variety of topics and professional networking with subject matter experts and practitioners in U.S.-Africa security strategy.

Academic Affairs Internships are available during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Typically, interns are expected to work full time during the summer and part time (according to their academic schedules) in the fall and spring. Please submit your application by the following dates to be considered for a given period:

  • Fall semester – July 31
  • Spring semester – November 30
  • Summer semester – March 31

Academic Affairs General Internship

Each period, up to four interns join the Academic Affairs team, primarily to assist the staff in conducting in-depth research on assigned topics and themes. Each intern will be assigned a faculty mentor based on shared interests and relevant competencies. Specific tasks and subject areas will vary based on the intern’s faculty mentor and their current projects. A broad focus for this internship which will apply to all interns will be on issues related to security sector governance. Specific areas of focus may include:

  • Security sector reform
  • National security strategy development
  • Development-security nexus
  • Electoral violence
  • Transnational threats and illicit trafficking
  • Defense institution strengthening
  • Maritime security
  • Management of security resources

Academic Affairs Terrorism-Focused Internship

Each period, up to two interns with a narrower focus on issues related to terrorism, counterterrorism, violent extremism, countering violent extremism, militant groups, transnational threats, and other related topics will be recruited. Terrorism-focused interns will have the same basic requirements, responsibilities, and opportunities as other Academic Affairs interns. They will work on issues related to:

  • Counter terror
  • Countering violent extremism
  • Irregular warfare
  • Political violence
  • Regional security cooperation

Please include “Terrorism Research Internship” in the subject line of your email.


Up to three interns at a time join the Africa Center’s research team to support a range of tasks. Past research interns have developed internal and public briefings, helped refine research frameworks, collected and checked data, and generally contributed to the work of the research team. Topics researched have included the effect of changing commodity prices on security, the relationship between crime and terrorism, and countries in crisis. Interns may also attend events and programs in the Washington area. They should expect to leave the Africa Center with deepened skills in research methods, analysis, and writing, as well as expanded knowledge of Africa and security issues.

Interns should be critical thinkers with experience in research, analysis, writing, and editing. They should be proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel, pay close attention to detail, and have a solid understanding of research methods. Experience with quantitative tools like Stata is a plus, as is familiarity with datasets and sources relevant to African governance and security. Candidates may submit applications at any time.