LSE Parliamentary Internships

We have placed over 500 postgraduate students within Parliament since 1998

Rob headshot

Author

Rob Cannings

LSE Parliamentary Internships Coordinator

I enjoyed being able to interact with an MP and learn about the world of policy-making first-hand

The Parliamentary Internships scheme, established by LSE alum and governor Barry Sheerman MP, is open to current MSc and PhD students from all departments and disciplines and provides part-time voluntary internships with Members of Parliament (MPs) from across the House of Commons, peers in the House of Lords and with parts of the Palace administration.

Typical internships may include:

  • research projects and policy guidance
  • scrutiny and monitoring of bills and legislation
  • drafting of press releases, speeches and briefings
  • constituency casework support, including managing communications
  • general office support

The roles are an excellent opportunity for students to gain invaluable experience witnessing the parliamentary process and applying your studies first hand.

Who will I intern with?

Placements are offered with MPs, peers and parts of the Palace administration but will vary in each academic year.  Your skills and experience will be matched against specific requirements and specifications for each role.  We try to match students with individuals sharing similar political views and values.

When will I intern?

Placements run through the Michaelmas and Lent Terms (Oct-Mar), are part-time and voluntary.  We advise students to undertake no more than fifteen hours per week during this period - should you wish to volunteer more hours during breaks in term, this is entirely up to you and your host office, but you can discuss what commitment is most convenient on a weekly basis with your host.

Placements follow the advice on internships issued by NUS and UCU.

How to apply

Application criteria

Before you apply, please make sure you meet the following criteria:

  • You must be commencing an LSE postgraduate programme in September 2017 or a continuing a two-year MSc or PhD programme.
  • You must be willing to commit up to 15 hours per week from September to March.
  • You must have a good understanding of UK politics and the legislative process.

International students

Note that part of the vetting process for international students is a criminal record check from their home country, as well as a character reference from the academic institution that they attended directly prior to joining LSE.

For further information on obtaining a criminal record check from your country, refer to the CPNI website [pdf].

The overall vetting process can often take longer for students outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

Application procedure

You can start applying once you have registered at LSE (see Welcome Week registration dates).

  1. Complete a short registration form (CareerHub login required) to participate.
  2. You'll receive a confirmation message directing you to the portal where internships are listed together with individual application details.
  3. Follow the instructions on each advert to submit your application.
  4. Applications are reviewed by LSE Careers following the deadline and shortlisted against the criteria in the job description.
  5. Shortlisted candidates will receive an email with further details of the process, whilst those not shortlisted will also be notified.
  6. Once screened by LSE Careers individual offices will contact shortlisted candidates should they wish to arrange an interview.

You can apply for a maximum of three internships in any one academic year.

Application guidance

We run two sessions each September or October for students providing an introduction to the Parliamentary Internship programme and how to write applications. These slides are available shortly afterwards on the LSE Careers website.

You are welcome to use the application resources on the LSE Careers website or book a CV or cover letter discussion on LSE CareerHub to discuss your individual applications with a careers consultant or CV consultant.

Frequently asked questions

If you have questions which remain unanswered by the information on this page, ask us a question on CareerHub.

Can alumni apply?

Positions are exclusively for current postgraduate (MSc) or doctoral (PhD) students at LSE in any department, in any year of study.

Alumni are not eligible to participate in the scheme, but see our services for alumni for more information what you can access.

When can I apply?

Applications open in September each year for internships from October onwards. The whole process will continue until all internships have been filled (usually in December each year) though each position will have its own specific deadline stated in the advert.

Are international students eligible?

Yes - candidates are assessed according to their motivation and quality of their application, not their nationality. Note that part of the vetting process for international students is a criminal record check from their home country, as well as a character reference from the academic institution that they attended directly prior to joining LSE.

For further information on obtaining a criminal record check from your country, refer to the CPNI website [pdf].

The overall vetting process can often take longer for students outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

Do I need to be a party member?

No - whilst MPs and peers don't require you to be a member of the same political party as them it is important that they are hosting someone with similar views and shared values and we work hard to facilitate this.

Who are the main political parties?

The UK is a multi-party system, with a number of parties having representation in both Houses. If you are not aware of the differences between the main political parties, do visit their websites:

What time commitment is required?

All internships we advertise have a suggested voluntary commitment of fifteen hours a week or less, following the School’s guidelines on undertaking outside work during term time. The way in which you organise your time commitments (1 full day a week and 1 half day for example) can be discussed with the MP or peer at interview stage.

Will I be paid during my internship?

Unless otherwise stated these internship opportunities are voluntary. Some MPs or peers will be able to reimburse lunch and travel expenses. This should be discussed with your individual office.

What information will the adverts contain?

Every advert will follow the same formula and set of information. We advertise each internship anonymously, but include details on:

  • individual time commitment
  • political party
  • the MP or peers’ individual interests
  • parliamentary positions currently or previously held
  • specific job specification they are seeking

Who should I address my application to?

Your cover letter should be addressed to:

Parliamentary Internships Coordinator
LSE Careers
Saw Swee Hock Student Centre
1 Sheffield Street
London, WC2A 2AP

How many internships can I apply to?

Each student is eligible to apply for up to three separate internship opportunities in any one academic year, unless otherwise specified in the advert. After this, your application will not be put forward for further shortlisting so think carefully about which specific internships you apply to.

What happens after I submit my application?

Once your application is submitted online, it will be reviewed individually by the Parliamentary Internships Coordinator against the job and person specification for that specific opportunity.

We will take into consideration your cover letter, CV and motivation statement on the application form as well as your political beliefs.

How long does the shortlisting process take?

We aim to undertake the first stage of the process within two days of the deadline for that individual internship.

If your application is deemed suitable for that internship we will add you to the shortlist for that position and your application will be sent to the internship provider who will decide whether to offer you an interview. You will receive an email to inform you of this and a PDF ‘briefing pack’ containing further information as you progress to the next stage of the process.

If your application is not shortlisted we will email you to let you know – if you do not receive an email from us five days following the deadline, please get in touch.

If I’m shortlisted will I definitely get an internship?

No - if your application is accepted it means it is of a good enough standard to send to that individual MP or peer. They will then undertake their own internal review of applications and invite candidates to interview if they so wish.

What is the vetting procedure?

Once an office has made an offer to an individual, we then have to collect some further details from you to pass to the Parliamentary Security Department for vetting. This is a standard procedure and all information collected is kept confidential between ourselves and the security office. You will also need to complete some forms which your host office will provide.

International students should present their criminal record check and character reference from their last academic institution at the same time as completing the above forms at your host office

Each MP or peer has a limited number of security passes which they are allowed to sponsor, so you may or may not receive a parliamentary pass. If not, you will be signed in on a daily basis.

What do previous interns say?

I did not believe many people would have been willing to give a relatively inexperienced person such a large amount of responsibility in such a short space of time, although I am sure that coming from LSE helped foster confidence enormously

Thomas Hyde, interned with Sally Keeble MP

I enjoyed being able to interact with an MP and learn about the world of policy-making first-hand

Sarah Hutcheon, interned with Tom Brake MP

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