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SPIRe Internship Programme

Information for students

The UCD School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe) has established an internship programme for graduate students undertaking MA programmes in Politics, International Relations, International Political Economy, International Development, Peace and Conflict, MEconSc European Public Affairs and Law and MSc Human Rights. You can either opt for a Masters thesis, or an internship for at least 480 hours, typically undertaken from June to August. Discounting the MSc Human Rights, students doing any other MSc will focus on the research element of the degree and are therefore excluded from the internship programme.

Note that internships are in principle completed during the summer months and not during teaching term - therefore some of the opportunities outlined below might not suit.

*Students need to secure thier own internship with a host organisation.

Information for host organisations

UCD SPIRe has established an internship programme for graduate students undertaking primarily MA programmes in the school. These internships are designed to provide our students with a unique opportunity for professional development and to apply their knowledge in real-world situations.

To this end, we are approaching potential hosts that may wish to participate with us in this programme. Internships will normally:

  • Have an explicit research focus or project(s) which will be defined in an agreed Learning Contract between the student, the host organisation and the UCD SPIRe staff member coordinating the internship programme. The Learning Contract will also specify the nature of the duties to be undertaken, the learning objectives associated thereto, the host’s proposed management of the internship and reporting requirements.
  • Entail a full-time work load of 480 hours over the period early May to end of August.
  • Be subject to all disciplinary and HR processes, as well as the employee insurance policy, of the host organisation.
  • Relate the student’s educational and academic experience to the professional needs of the host with which they are associated.

Internships are an integral part of the student’s academic programme at UCD, and will be assessed academically as such. Students undertaking internships will also remain subject to all requirements under UCD’s academic and disciplinary codes.

UCD SPIRe is proud of the quality and skills of its graduate students. Over the last few years our graduates have gone on to professional posts with the European Commission and European Parliament, the European External Action Service, the British, German, Irish, Korean and Turkish Foreign Ministries, the Asia Development Bank, the IBRD, the World Trade Organisation, the UN New York and UN Geneva and the IMF as well as a wide variety of international private sector employers and Non Governmental Organisations. We have every confidence that our students will make a valuable and distinctive contribution to their host organisations over the period of their internship.

Contact Us

If you would like to pursue the possibility of hosting a UCD SPIRe Graduate Internship, or have any questions on the programme, please contact:

Dr Sam Brazys
Internship Coordinator
UCD School of Politics and International Relations
Belfield, Dublin 4
Email: (opens in a new window)samuel.brazys@ucd.ie 

Potential Internship Placements

You will have to find your own hosting organisation for the internship, but based on the experience of previous students and advice from the UCD Careers Development Centre, we have collated a list of potential internship opportunities:

The UCD School of Politics and International Relations does not provide internship placement, but allows students on primarily its Masters of Arts (MA) programmes to find an internship for themselves and, given that it satisfies our criteria and the organisation is willing to sign the required agreement, this can be taken instead of the thesis. This web page provides an overview of some suggested internship places, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. This list is primarily based on where SPIRe students did internships before, and is not by any means an endorsement of the organisations involved or an indication that these are the internships most closely aligned with our programmes.

Recently featured in the (opens in a new window)Irish Times the innovative Opening Power to Diversity (OPD) intern scheme for non-EU migrants and naturalised Irish citizens is now accepting applications for the fifth term to begin in November 2014. Endorsed by the Taoiseach the Opening Power to Diversity scheme will match volunteer migrants with TDs or Senators. Over a six month period participants will get a unique and valuable experience and insight into how politics works in Ireland by observing and assisting the TD/Senator in his/her daily work.

Role Description: The participant will follow the work of the TD/Senator during the day and participate in the activities of his/her office. Migrants will use their skills while getting involved in the TD/Senator’s activities, they will attend various meetings with TDs/Senators and observe at Committee meetings and Dáil sessions. Participants will also get involved in the work of the TD’s office at Leinster House and constituency level. Participants will also be expected to keep a weekly written or video diary of their experiences and participate in review exercises. Orientation and on-going support will be provided by CMP.

(opens in a new window)Opening Power to Diversity

We are currently looking for candidates, graduates or non-graduates, to start the month of September/October for a three to six month period. The positions are unpaid but we are flexible to accommodate around a candidate who also works a part-time job.

WTC Dublin in partnership with WebPort Global is an organisation and business that works toward the promotion and development of international trade and business. Headquartered in Dublin, much of our work is focused on supporting SMEs with reliable and verified information through our website WebPort Global (www.webportglobal.com). This cloud-based platform is built around cost-effective solutions for businesses who wish to grow globally and find further opportunities to import and/or export.

(opens in a new window)WTC Dublin

Note, however, that the specific job they communicated to us might have expired already: (opens in a new window)Xperience.ie Ad.

Front Line Defenders is the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. Front Line Defenders was founded in Dublin in 2001 with the specific aim of protecting human rights defenders at risk, people who work, non-violently, for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Front Line Defenders addresses the protection needs identified by defenders themselves.

(opens in a new window)Recruitment and Volunteering

The IPA took a SPIRe intern in 2013 and has expressed an interest in applications this year. Please contact Dr Richard Boyle, Head of Research, Publishing and Corporate Relations at the IPA.

(opens in a new window)Institute of Public Administration

The IIEA periodically hires interns in support of its research programmes. Please write (do NOT email) clearly indicating that you are looking for an internship, to Jill Donohue, Research Director, IIEA, 8 North Great Georges Street, Dublin 1.

(opens in a new window)Institute for International and European Affairs

The UNOG Internship Programme is intended for students enrolled in a degree programme in a graduate school (second university degree or higher) or for students having successfully completed at least four years of full-time study towards the completion of a degree at a university or equivalent institution in countries where higher education is not divided into undergraduate and graduate levels.

(opens in a new window)UNOG Internships

The United Nations Environment Programme's International Environmental Technology Centre (UNEP IETC) has been welcoming interns from around the world since 2009. Interns are very important to this organization as they work closely with staff members in accomplishing the mission of UNEP.

(opens in a new window)IETC Internships

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a global leader in the fight against human trafficking, illicit drug use, narcotics trafficking, corruption, terrorism and transnational organized crime. UNODC has its headquarters in Vienna. The UNODC New York Office represents UNODC at UN Headquarters, develops and maintains partnerships with U.S. based entities and engages in global advocacy.

The New York Office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime New York Office accepts interns for the Spring, Summer and Fall. We are looking for qualified interns with excellent analytical skills, good written and oral communication skills, strong interpersonal skills, and solid IT skills. Only full time applicants will be accepted. Available internship are posted on the UN Careers Portal. Please apply for open internship on-line.

(opens in a new window)UN ODC Internships

Parliament offers several options for traineeships within its Secretariat, to provide opportunities for vocational training and for learning more about what the European Parliament is and does. The traineeships may be paid or unpaid and are of the following types: a general option, a journalism option and traineeships for translators and interpreters. When applying online, you have a maximum of 30 minutes to complete each page of the application form.

(opens in a new window)Traineeships in the European Parliament

Our Internship programmes are based at the International Secretariat (IS) offices in London, Geneva and New York and occasionally in other IS offices. Interns and Volunteersare a treasured resource for the organisation and their contributions have made the Amnesty movement what it is. Interns are generally recruited for a four to six month period on a full time basis, to carry out administrative and project related work within the Law and Policy Programme, International Advocacy Programme, Human Rights Education, Refugee and Migrants’ Rights as well as with the Office of the Secretary General. Interns will often gain valuable insight in to the operations of these areas; vacancy notices will have further details of what each placement will involve.

(opens in a new window)Careers with Amnesty

The German Bundestag collaborates with the Humboldt University in Berlin to run its International Parliamentary Scholarships (IPS) scheme. This gives well qualified young people with a strong interest in politics from the USA and Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of Germany’s system of parliamentary government. The scheme involves fifteen-week placements with Members of the German Bundestag. The participants are introduced to the wide variety of tasks carried out in a Member’s office. For example, they may find themselves drafting speeches, articles and letters or doing preparatory work for plenary sittings.

(opens in a new window)International Parliamentary Internships

Transparency International (TI) is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. Through more than 90 chapters worldwide and an international secretariat in Berlin, Germany, TI raises awareness of the damaging effects of corruption and works with partners in government, business and civil society to develop and implement effective measures to tackle it. They provide occasional internship opportunities.

(opens in a new window)Transparency International Job Opportunities

Regularly seeks interns to support its editorial and outreach team. We have paid internship positions available beginning on January 9, February 1, and April 2, 2012. (One full-time position per respective start date). As the first online think tank on foreign relations, atlantic-community.org connects experts and citizens in informed policy debate to find solutions to global challenges. Founded in 2007, atlantic-community.org is an award-winning joint project of two independent, non-partisan, non-profit organizations: Atlantische Initiative e.V. in Berlin, and Atlantic Initiative U.S., a 501(c)(3) status organization based in Washington, D.C. We facilitate networking and solution-oriented debate on the common challenges facing North America and Europe. We seek to empower the younger generation, promote transatlantic relations and bring together the collective intelligence of our more than 5,500 members.

(opens in a new window)Atlantic Community Internships

European Movement Ireland has an internship programme. European Movement Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation that works to make the connection between Irish people and the EU. Though a variety of education and advocacy programmes, we campaign for every Irish person to get involved in the European Union and by doing so, help shape it. Over the last number of years, European Movement Ireland has developed a highly successful stage programme, where recent graduates undertake a four to six month placement in our offices at 6 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

(opens in a new window)Stage Programme

They also provide further assistance in finding internships more generally, under (opens in a new window)Grad Jobs in Europe.

The EurActiv JobSite is a part of the wider FastActor service which includes the EurActiv Press Release Service and Agenda. Publishing jobs and internships in EU affairs, from junior to top-level positions, the EurActiv JobSite provides you every day with the hottest vacancies in EU circles.

(opens in a new window)EurActiv JobSite

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is a UN-affiliated organisation located in The Hague in the Netherlands. It is the organisation responsible for the administration of the Chemical Weapons Convention, including verification, inspection, and liaising with member states. It has over five hundred staff from over eighty states and a wide range of employment backgrounds. OPCW is always seeking interns to work within this diverse fabric.

The OPCW’s internship program is aimed at motivated and curious students with an interest in gaining experience in international organisations. The programme provides work placements in the Technical Secretariat for a period of between two and six months. Working within the OPCW as an intern provides valuable experience of a multi-cultural working environment and enables familiarisation with the operational procedures of decision-making at an international level.

(opens in a new window)Internships at the OPCW

Wezesha operates links, initiates projects and supports programmes and actions designed to empower women and children affected by conflict and violence on the African continent.

The organisation mobilises and facilitates an international network of the African Diaspora in order to: mobilise supports for programmes by Wezesha and its partners in Africa; raise awareness for the plight of African women and children living in situations of conflict and violence; advocate for the elimination of all forms of violence directed against women and children.

Primarily, Wezesha works in two African countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya.

(opens in a new window)Wezesha

Friends of the Earth provides current students or recent college graduates an opportunity to join our staff for three to six months, work on our issues and campaigns, and gain valuable experience in the environmental community. - See more at: http://www.foe.org/about-us/jobs#sthash.6IGz4UFE.dpuf

(opens in a new window)Current Openings

We are an international humanitarian organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and suffering in the world’s poorest countries.

We work in partnership with the very poorest people in these countries, directly enabling them to improve their lives, as well as using our knowledge and experience to influence decisions made at a local, national and international level that can significantly reduce extreme poverty.

(opens in a new window)Concern Worldwide Jobs

Since 2002, Suas has gone through a period of rapid growth. In 2003, there was one employee, today there are 17 full-time equivalents (FTEs), including those who volunteer on a part-time basis in the office.

There are hundreds of people volunteering with Suas activities around Ireland, such as mentoring projects, fundraising and raising awareness of Global Issues.

(opens in a new window)Work with Us

Human Rights SENTINEL is a human rights organisation that brings together expert human rights practitioners from around the world to help individuals and communities seek mechanisms for meaningful justice and accountability. It is based in Dublin, Ireland. Our work involves partnerships with international NGOs, intergovernmental working and interest groups and human rights monitoring bodies.

We fight against the use of torture and any other form of violence pursued by authoritarian regimes as instruments to control and repress civil society dissent.

(opens in a new window)Internship Opportunities

New Communities Partnership (NCP) is a national network of over 175 ethnic minority-led organisations. The mission of NCP is to be an effective network, representing and empowering ethnic minority-led groups, at all levels, in order to influence positive change in policies that impact on their lives.

We are working towards an intercultural and inclusive Irish society where immigrant groups are achieving equality in economic, social, political and cultural aspects of Irish life.

(opens in a new window)NCP Opportunities with Us

SCOOP wish to provide people with opportunity to grow not only professionally, but personally. This not only goes for the SCOOP team members, but for the children, communities and partnering organisations involved.

Our Dublin team work in development and volunteer support, event management, fundraising, communications, awareness and creative direction.

Undertaking an internship or volunteering for a shorter period is a great way to develop existing skills or to try your hand at new ones. We are not looking for free labor, rather we would like to give you the platform to gain real world experience in your current field. You will also learn about the ins and outs of a non profit organisation and we encourage our interns to get involved as much as they like.

(opens in a new window)SCOOP Internships

Camara is an International organisation dedicated to using technology to improve education and livelihood skills in disadvantaged communities around the world. With better education we expect these communities to break the cycle of poverty they find themselves in.

(opens in a new window)Camara Interships and Office Positions

The Ombudsman for Children's Office has two paid internship positions and is inviting applications from suitably qualified candidates who wish to be considered for appointment as a temporary whole-time Intern with: a) the Policy Unit; or b) the Participation and Education Unit.

The contract for each internship will be for 11 months.

(opens in a new window)OCO Vacancies

IBON International is a service institution with an international character and scope of work. In our advocacy, we cooperate mainly with social movements and civil society constituencies in all regions of the world, especially in the global South and among marginalised groups.

We work with a broad range of CSO's, directly and through networks and partnerships, in building consensus on development issues. We help them bring this consensus to wider global arenas through engagement in international processes.

IBON International has hosted SPIRe students in the past.

(opens in a new window)Further Information

UCD School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe)

School Office: G301, Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.