In the online application, candidates will be asked to clarify their internship interests. This information will assist the interview committee in determining appropriate next steps for competitive candidates in the selection process.
Program-Secured Internships Identified by USC
Program-secured internships are specific jobs identified by Academic Honors & Fellowships through partnerships with a select number of host offices interested in hiring a Schaeffer Fellow. These positions are typically with California elected officials in Los Angeles, Sacramento, or Washington, D.C. and are confirmed on a rolling basis through the spring due to varying hiring timelines.
Internships at the federal agency level or with representatives in other states most often require applying independently (see below).
General Selection Process for Program-Secured Positions
- Applicants who have not yet been hired for self-secured internship may be considered for program-secured jobs. Competitive applicants will be invited to interview with USC faculty and staff to identify best fit.
- After the interview, selected semi-finalists will receive individual instructions to:
- submit additional materials to be considered for one or more USC program-secured internships AND/OR
- will be instructed to submit an application directly to an internship program with their local, state, or federal representative(s)
- Partner offices may opt to conduct a second interview with semi-finalist candidates directly and will make final hiring decisions. Ultimately, semi-finalists are expected to accept the first internship offer received.
- Semi-finalists will be notified of final selection decisions for the Schaeffer Fellows program by AHF on a rolling basis until April.
PLEASE NOTE: Schaeffer Fellowships are limited to 10 per year. Students selected for a Schaeffer Fellowship will be notified by Academic Honors and Fellowships. Receiving a recommendation to apply for an internship and/or an internship offer does not guarantee a Schaeffer Fellowship but it is necessary in order to be considered for the program.
Self-Secured Internships Identified by Applicant
Self-secured internships are internships identified by a candidate for which they have submitted an application or have already been hired on their own (defined by a minimum of “Conditional Offer of Employment”). Candidates pursuing self-secured internships are encouraged apply to be a Schaeffer Fellow and use the space in the application to detail their hiring status.
If invited to interview and recommended by the committee, semi-finalists with a pending or confirmed self-secured internship will receive additional instructions for next steps.
Resources for Self-Secured Federal Positions
If interested in internships with federal agencies, committees, and specific representatives, candidates should plan to apply directly based on the office’s hiring timeline as these positions will typically not be available as a program-secured opportunity. These internship programs often have earlier deadlines. Use the resources below for more information:
Security Clearance Process
If a security clearance is required to confirm hiring, the internship start date must fall on or before June 1st to allow for completion of 10 weeks before the start of the fall term. Please note: the U.S. State Department clearance process may take as long as 150 days or more (~4-5 months). A pending security clearance does not disqualify a candidate from the Schaeffer Fellows program, however to be selected for the program candidates must have an active security clearance (if required for the job) and a confirmed internship offer.
Examples of Previous Internships
2021 Program-Secured Internships
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management
- California Department of Transportation
- California Attorney General Communications Team
2020 Self-Secured Internships 2020
- U.S. Department of Labor
- U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Department for International Development (USAID)
- U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar
- San Diego Mayor’s Office
- Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office
View record of national program- and self-secured internships