Internship Programme Frequently Asked Questions

Note: You may only intern once for the UNU Internship Programme to give as many students as possible the opportunity to gain exposure to research work.

  • Academic Qualifications:
    • Be enrolled in, or have recently completed within two (2) years, the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum bachelor’s level or equivalent); or
    • Be enrolled in, or have recently completed within two (2) years, a graduate (second university degree or equivalent) or postgraduate degree programme (master’s or doctoral level).
  • Fields of Interest: in an area relevant to UNU-INWEH’s field of work or as specified in vacancy.
  • Family relationships: An applicant who is a child, sibling, spouse, or recognised partner of a UNU personnel is not eligible to apply for an internship at the same UNU institute of that UNU personnel. An applicant who bears any other family relationship with a UNU personnel may be engaged as an intern, provided that the intern is neither assigned to the same unit as such personnel nor placed under the direct or indirect supervision of such personnel.
  • Languages: excellent spoken and written English; knowledge of other UN languages is an asset. See FAQs Section 2 for requirements concerning language certification.
  • Attitude: awareness and ability to adapt to a multicultural environment and a commitment to international public service are essential. Applicants should demonstrate good communication skills and show initiative and flexibility.
  • Availability: the duration of an internship is a minimum of three months (full-time).
  • Insurance: all applications must provide proof of health and life/accident insurance coverage for the entire period of their internship and valid for the location (Hamilton, Canada). NOTE: ONLY applicable for on-site internships.
  • Applicants should apply to the UNU-INWEH Internship Programme only if they fulfill the minimum criteria and qualifications.

The selection will take into consideration academic achievements and research accomplishments, two letters of recommendation, and your statement of purpose. Further documents may be requested only if shortlisted.

Are there any nationality restrictions?

No, there are no nationality restrictions for the UNU-INWEH internship programme. 


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 by contacting UNU-INWEH.


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 11 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?

Interns who are not in receipt of financial support (please indicate on application form; 15 c & d) for the purpose of this internship from other sources such as universities or other institutions may be eligible for a stipend from UNU-INWEH to partially subsidize basic daily expenses such as meals, transportation, and internet costs for the duration of the internship.

Costs and arrangements for travel, visas, passports, accommodation, transportation, and living expenses are the responsibility of interns or their external sponsoring institution or programme.

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 4 of the application form) is to be sent along with other application materials.

May I apply again when I have interned before for the UNU Internship programme?

No, you may only intern once for the UNU Internship Programme to give as many students as possible the opportunity to gain exposure to research work.

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:

(1) A Completed Application Form: Download (PDF)

(2) A Cover Letter that Includes:

  1. A brief statement of purpose.
  2. Why you think an internship would be a valuable opportunity.
  3. Any specific skills/experience that relate to one of our programmes/projects.
  4. The letter should be written in English (1 page max.).

(3) A Copy of Your University Transcript:

  • Undergraduate or Graduate transcript. Unofficial is acceptable.

(4) For Non-Native English Speakers, a Copy of Your English Language Certification

  • (E.g., TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC); not required if the applicant has completed undergraduate and/or graduate studies with English as the medium of instruction.

(5) Confirmation of Family Relationship downloadable from the UNU-INWEH website

PLEASE NOTE (only applicable when contacted for interview and when offered an internship):

  1. Document(s) for Proof of enrollment or graduation; downloadable from the UNU-INWEH website
  2. Proof of health and life/accident insurance valid for the location in which the internship will be carried out, and for the full duration of the internship. Selected intern must have health and life insurance.
  3. Two Letters of Recommendation will be collected from your references as specified in application form (#17).


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. Document(s) for Proof of enrollment or graduation; downloadable from the UNU-INWEH website is required; ONLY when contacted for interview.


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


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 16 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”).

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.


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 (full-time only) are granted one and a half personal days for each full month which may be taken at a time of the intern’s choosing (with permission of the supervisor).


Would travel be expected during my internship?

No, interns are not allowed to undertake official travel on behalf of UNU in the performance of their internship.

What if I cannot complete the internship?

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


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

The purpose of the Internship Programme is not to lead to further employment with UNU but to complement an intern’s studies. Therefore, interns should not expect full/part-time employment at UNU-INWEH at the end or 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 may not represent UNU in any official capacity, perform supervisory functions, exercise certifying or approving authority or commit resources on behalf of UNU. Thus, interns will not be considered internal candidate in UN recruitment processes.

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

Yes, including logistical arrangements and costs for visas and passports are the responsibility of interns or their external sponsoring institution or programme. UNU-INWEH will reasonably assist with arrangements to apply for an appropriate visa to engage in the internship programme. 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 and are responsible for living expenses. UNU-INWEH staff and former interns can provide you with some advice on short-term accommodation in the area.

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

Please refer FIRST to the FAQ page. If your question has not been answered, please contact the UNU-INWEH Internship Coordinator via e-mail at

(Subject Line: “INFORMATION = INTERNSHIP = Your First Name, Your First Name”).

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