Legislative Internship Program


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Work, Learn, and Lead in Olympia.

The Legislative Intern Program offers Washington college students the opportunity to gain paid work experience while studying the state legislative process up close.  Join hundreds of students who have started their careers here and forge lifelong connections in public policy. 

Applications for the 2021 legislative session open September 1, 2020 with a priority deadline of October 16, 2020 and a final deadline of October 21, 2020.  

Every year, the Washington State Legislative Intern Program brings about 70 college students to Olympia for a one-of-a-kind educational and professional opportunity. During the internship, which takes place in winter quarter or spring semester, 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 real-world professional skills, and serve the citizens of Washington State.

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 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.  

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.  Explore the intern experience here.

Intern Duties

Interns are matched with the offices of legislators or caucus staff based on their skills and interests. All interns share these basic responsibilities and may take on a variety of special projects.

  • Conduct legislative research and summarize issues in short policy memos
  • Attend committee hearings and legislative meetings
  • Correspond with constituents, lobbyists, and state agencies via phone, email, and meetings
  • Track legislation
  • Draft letters, resolutions, talking points, press releases, and newsletters
  • Assist with daily office tasks
  • Participate in intern classes, workshops, and policy exercises
  • Maintain professional, non-partisan conduct

Application Requirements    

  • Online application form                        
  • Cover letter explaining how you meet the internship qualifications
  • Résumé
  • One-page personal essay
  • Unofficial university transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation: one faculty reference and one professional or personal (non-relative) reference


Eligibility Requirements:

  • Attending a four-year college or university in Washington State OR Washington State resident attending an out-of-state college
  • Junior or senior status in good academic standing
  • Able to receive academic credit for the internship (see School Policies and check with your advisor or career office for your school's requirements)

Desired Skills and Selection Criteria:

    • Excellent writing abilities (clear, professional, error-free writing)
    • Analytical and research skills, especially in prioritizing and concisely summarizing complex information
    • Strong interpersonal and customer service skills in working with both colleagues and the public
    • Professional work ethic and independent time management skills
    • Flexibility and positive attitude about working in a fast-paced environment
    • Mature judgment and commitment to following all legislative ethics laws
    • Interest in learning about public policy and the legislative process
    • Prior political experience or political science background is not necessary!

         Selection Timeline

    • Meet with your academic advisor and your school's designated internship coordinators prior to applying. Applicants must follow their school's internal process to ensure credit eligibility.
    • Applications are received jointly by the House and Senate. Applications received by the priority deadline of October 4, 2019 will receive first consideration for interviews at each school.
    • Selected candidates are interviewed in October and November by both House and Senate internship coordinators.
    • Hiring decisions are made and applicants are notified by late November/early December.
    • Interns are placed with individual legislators' offices after hiring decisions are finalized.

    Career and academic advisors: contact us to request electronic or hard copies of internship materials for your campus.


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