LSE Parliamentary Internships

Over 500 LSE postgraduate students have completed internships in Westminster since 1998

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Rob Cannings

LSE Parliamentary Internships Coordinator

LSE Parliamentary Interns have made a positive contribution to my office and work as an MP. Whether through preparing casework, undertaking policy research, or drafting media content, interns are exposed to the wide variety of tasks carried out by MP's staff, while benefitting from the opportunity to develop their skills and political understanding in a number of areas.

Bridget Phillipson, Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South

The Parliamentary Internships Programme, established by LSE alumnus and governor Barry Sheerman MP, has a proud history of connecting current MSc and PhD students from all departments and disciplines with part-time internships in Westminster. The programme provides opportunities to intern with Members of Parliament (MPs) from across the House of Commons, peers in the House of Lords and ocassionally 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 of 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?

Internships run through the Michaelmas and Lent Terms (October-March) on a part-time basis of no more than 15 hours per week. LSE Careers advertises each Parliamentary Internship individually, using the brief and selection criteria provided by each host office. Each internship has a separate application deadline, with many closing for applications in the first two weeks of Michaelmas Term.

Will I be paid?

Yes. All internships offered via the programme are paid at least the National Minimum Wage for your age. We encourage all host offices to pay the London Living Wage, but this is not always possible due to budgetary constraints.

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 2018 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, please contact the relevant authority in your home country. 

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.

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 familiar with the political landscape in the UK, please make sure you conduct sufficient research before applying for any Parliamentary Internships.

What time commitment is required?

All internships we advertise have a suggested commitment of 15 hours a week or less, following the School’s guidelines on undertaking outside work during term time. Some host offices require an intern for 7, 8, 10 or 12 hours per week, which will be clearly stated on the individual advert. 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.

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 LSE Careers against the job and person specification for that specific opportunity.

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?

My time as a Parliamentary Intern was one of the best experiences during my time at the LSE

Rose Lemardeley, interned with Roberta Blackman-Woods MP

The internship completed my LSE experience as it allowed me to get to know British culture better, perfectly complimenting the highly international environment of the School.

Analiz Vergara, interned with the Environmental Audit Committee, House of Commons

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