Internship Programme Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply to the internship programme

All applicants have to meet the following required qualifications and criteria:

  • Academic qualifications and fields of interest: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree in an area relevant to UNU-INWEH’s field of work.
  • Languages: excellent spoken and written knowledge of English (certification is required, see below). Knowledge of other UN languages is an asset.
  • Computer Skills: ability to use office-related software (Microsoft Office) and hardware (PC environment).
  • Attitude: an awareness of the many facets of the multicultural world and a commitment to international public service are essential. Applicants are expected to adapt to an international and multicultural environment. They should demonstrate good communication skills and show initiative and flexibility.
  • Availability: the duration of an internship must be a minimum of three months (full-time).
  • Insurance: all applications must provide proof of insurance coverage for the entire period of their internship.
  • Applicants should apply to the UNU-INWEH Internship Programme only if they fulfill the minimum criteria and qualifications.


Are there any nationality restrictions?

No, there are no nationality restrictions for the UNU-INWEH internship programme. However, all applicants will be responsible for obtaining the necessary visa (if needed) and travel arrangements to and from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


I am completing my undergraduate degree. Will my application be considered?

Yes, but if your application is selected, your internship can only begin once you have been awarded your undergraduate (or equivalent) degree.


I am out of school. Will my application be considered?

Yes, matriculation in a university is not a requirement. Kindly note, however, that preference is normally given to applicants who are currently pursuing or who have recently completed their graduate studies (Master’s or Doctoral Studies).


I am on sabbatical leave. Should I apply to the internship programme?

No, the internship programme is to be considered as an early career development opportunity. Kindly explore joint research opportunities with UNU-INWEH by contacting the relevant Assistant Director.


I am not covered by insurance. Can I subscribe to an insurance policy when I arrive in Canada?

No, you have to confirm that you hold a health/accident insurance policy in your application (section 9 of the application form). If selected, you have to provide proof of insurance prior to your arrival to UNU-INWEH. UNU-INWEH accepts no responsibility for the medical insurance of interns or for costs arising from accidents and/or illnesses incurred during the internship. Interns are fully responsible for arranging at their health care expenses and any other form of insurance covering the period of internship.


I do not speak English very well. Can I still apply to the internship programme?

No, excellent spoken and written knowledge of English is required, as English is the working language of UNU-INWEH.


I have limited funding. Will UNU-INWEH cover my expenses for the duration of my internship?

No, UNU-INWEH does not offer financial assistance or provide interns with a stipend. Costs and arrangements for travel, visas, accommodation, transportation, and living expenses are the responsibility of interns or their sponsoring institutions.


Where can I find potential funding sources for the internship?

You may want to refer to the list of potential funding sources for interns, compiled by the Internship Office at the UN Headquarters in New York.


Can I receive academic credit for this internship?

This will depend on the institution from which you are applying. If an applicant wishes to receive credit for their participation in this programme, a completed form from the nominating institution (part II, page 3 of the application form) is to be sent along with other application materials.

What are the deadlines for applying?

There is no deadline. Interns are recruited through a competitive application process through (1) specific vacancy announcements (listed on our Vacancies pages) or (2) unsolicited applications (open).


Can I just send in my CV to apply?

No, a CV alone is not sufficient documentation to apply to the internship programme. Please complete the following steps to apply:

  • Step 1: Complete the application form: Download (MS Wordor (PDF).

  • Step 2: A cover letter that includes (1) brief statement of purpose, (2) why you think an internship would be a valuable opportunity for you, and if possible (3) any specific skills/experience that relate to one of our programmes/projects. The letter should be addressed to the UNU-INWEH Internship Coordinator, written in English and be 1 page max.

  • Step 3: A copy (unofficial is acceptable) of your university transcript (undergraduate and/or graduate).

  • Step 4: Two letters of recommendation (signed scanned copies) sent by your two referees directly to: (Subject Line: “REFERENCE LETTER = INTERNSHIP = Yours Last Name, Your First Name”).
    Signed letters can also be sent by fax +1 905 667 5510 (Cover Page Subject Line: “INTERNSHIP APPLICATION, Your Last Name, Your First Name”).

UNU-INWEH will acknowledge receipt of applications. Incomplete applications which do not contain the above requested information will not be taken into consideration.


I am not a student anymore. Do I have to complete part II of the application form?

No, part II of the application form is only to be completed by students who wish to receive credit for their participation in the internship programme.


Do I have to provide evidence of my ability to read, write, and speak English?

Applicants must provide certification in English if they do not meet either of the two following criteria:

  • the applicant’s native language is English, or

  • the applicant completed an undergraduate programme or is enrolled in a graduate program with English as the medium of instruction.

In the case that the applicant does not meet either of the above criteria, a valid TOEFL, IELTS or TOEIC score report is required. The original certificate or photocopy is accepted. Preferred score ranges for each test are:

96-120 590-677 243-300 785-990 7.5-9.0


How long does the application process usually take?

It varies from case to case, but due to the number of applicantions, only short listed candidates are contacted. If applicants do not receive any response within 12 months of submission, the application has not been retained.


How many interns are accepted each year?

There is no fixed number of interns accepted into the programme. The number of interns selected depends on the UNU-INWEH programmes/project requirements.


Is there a fixed start-date for the internship?

No, the start date will be agreed on with your supervisor. This start date will take into account your availability as well as the programme/project requirements.


If I am accepted to the internship programme, is it possible for me to defer until a later term?

No, you will have to submit another application. In this respect, it is very important to clearly state your availability for the internship (section 14 of the application form) and to inform UNU-INWEH of any changes in such availability via e-mail: (Subject Line: “CHANGE IN AVAILABILITY – INTERNSHIP APPLICATION Your Last Name, Your First Name”).


If I apply to the internship programme a second time, can I use my previous application?

No. However, please note that your application will be kept on record for 12 months.


Will I sign a contract/agreement with UNU-INWEH before I start my internship?

Yes, you will sign the UNU-INWEH Internship Agreement which will act as the working contract between the intern and UNU-INWEH for the duration of the internship. This form will be emailed to those selected to join the programme. The signed and dated form must be returned to UNU-INWEH in order for the application to be complete. The agreement includes expected tasks, the duration of the internship, and the following Terms and Conditions for the Internship:

  • UNU-INWEH does not provide funding to the intern, and all the expenses related to it must be borne by the intern or his/her sponsoring Government or institution;
  • UNU-INWEH accepts no responsibility for costs arising from accidents and/or illness incurred during the internship and that the intern must, therefore, provide proof of his/her enrolment in a health insurance plan;
  • The intern will be responsible for obtaining necessary visas (if needed) and arranging travel to and from the UNU-INWEH office at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada;
  • The intern will conduct him/herself at all times in a manner compatible with the responsibilities as the holder of a UNU-INWEH Internship;
  • The intern will keep confidential any and all unpublished information made known during the course of the internship and will not publish any reports or papers on the basis of information obtained during the programme, except with the explicit authorization of UNU-INWEH;
  • The intern must provide written notice in case of illness or other unavoidable circumstances which might prevent him/her from completing the internship;
  • The intern will complete an internship evaluation report as appropriate at the end of the internship and to submit it to the officer supervising the intern;
  • The intern will return all library materials prior to the last day of internship;
  • The intern will return any keys and access cards to the Office Administrator on the last day of the internship;
  • The intern will use the facilities of UNU (including phone, mail, offices supplies and etc) only for purposes consistent with the internship; and
  • The intern will not be eligible to apply for, or be appointed to, an established employment post with UNU-INWEH during the period of internship or for the six months immediately following its completion.


What languages are spoken at UNU-INWEH?

The working language of UNU-INWEH is English. Consequently, fluency in written and spoken English is essential. It is nonetheless advantageous to be proficient in one or more of the other languages commonly used in the UNU, especially French and/or Spanish.


How can I prepare in advance for my work as an intern at UNU-INWEH?

Applicants are encouraged to become familiar with UNU-INWEH’s organization and goals. Applicants may gain a deeper understanding of the United Nations University (UNU) research areas and activities through the UNU website, and a more specific understanding of UNU-INWEH through


What is the dress code for interns?

The UNU does not employ any strict guidelines for dress code. However, in principle, interns, like other employees, are expected to dress professionally (business casual is acceptable).


What are the working hours for interns?

From 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (including a 30 minute lunch break).


Do I get any time off from my regular working hours?

Interns are not required to work during official UNU holidays. In addition, interns are granted one personal day per month which may be taken at a time of the intern’s choosing (with permission of the supervisor).


What if I cannot complete the internship?

Interns must provide written notice in case of illness or other unavoidable circumstances which might prevent him/her from completing the internship.


Will I attend an intern orientation session upon my arrival?

Yes, a personalized orientation session will be provided upon your arrival in order to provide you with information concerning administrative/logistics issues as well as your expected duties. It will include briefing meetings with the Internship Coordinator and the Office Administrator, as well as an introductory meeting with your supervisor. Furthermore, you will be provided with the “intern folder”, a compilation of informative documents concerning the UN System, UNU, UNU-INWEH, and logistics information.


What kind of duties will I perform during my internship?

Interns will undertake research duties in area(s) relevant to UNU-INWEH. Interns will work towards drafting at least one written contribution (e.g. paper, chapter, policy brief) for publication. Depending on the timing of the internship, interns may also be involved in the technical support of organizing meetings and events hosted by UNU-INWEH. Moreover, each intern is expected to contribute to the above-mentioned “intern folder”.


Will I be supervised during my internship?

You will be assigned to a main supervisor. An alternate supervisor will also be assigned to provide guidance in case your primary supervisor is away from the office during your internship.


Am I allowed to attend free conferences and other public events during my internship?

Interns are encouraged to attend select public workshops and/or seminars that take place at UNU-INWEH and McMaster University (our host institution). However, interns should inform their supervisors accordingly, especially if attendance at such an event directly conflicts with other previously agreed working duties.


I am currently working on my thesis. Can I just work on my own research during the internship?

It depends on the research question, the focus of your thesis, and if your thesis is intended to be a contribution to an UNU-INWEH programme and/or project. This issue needs to be addressed with your supervisor when defining your expected duties for the internship.


Will I have an exit interview at the end of my internship?

Yes, upon completion of your Internship Report, you will meet with the Internship Coordinator to provide feedback on your internship. Furthermore, you will be meeting with the Office Administrator to finalize the administrative check-out procedures.


Will I get a job with UNU-INWEH after my internship is completed?

Interns should not expect full/part-time employment at UNU-INWEH after their internship. Additionally, interns will not be eligible to apply for, or be appointed to, an established employment post at UNU-INWEH during the period of their internship or for the six months immediately following its completion. However, career advice will be provided during the exit interview, if considered appropriate. Kindly note that interns are not staff members of the UNU, and thus not be considered internal candidate in UN recruitment processes.


Do I need to make my own travel arrangements to the City of Hamilton?

Yes. You can find information on the Hamilton Airport website and on the Toronto Pearson International Airport website. For information on Hamilton, you may want to refer to the City of Hamilton Website and the Hamilton Tourism Website.

Do I need to find my own apartment?

Yes, all intern applicants are required to secure their own accommodation independently. UNU-INWEH staff and former interns can provide you with some advice on short-term accommodation in the area.

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Who do I contact if I have any more questions about the Internship Programme?

For further information and/or clarifications concerning the UNU-INWEH Internship Programme, please contact the UNU-INWEH Internship Coordinator via e-mail at
(Subject Line: “INFORMATION = INTERNSHIP = Your First Name, Your First Name”).