United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Feb 23, 2024

§ 4141a.
Foreign Service Internship Program

In consultation with the heads of other agencies utilizing the Foreign Service system, the Secretary of State shall establish a Foreign Service internship program to carry out the objectives of this subchapter in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter.

Foreign Service Internship Program

The program shall introduce interns to the practice of diplomacy and the unique rewards of the Foreign Service. The program shall consist of three successive summer internships of not less than eight weeks duration in each year to be completed over the course of not more than four years. Special emphasis shall be given to preparing the intern for the Foreign Service examination process. In each year not less than 10 interns shall enter the program.

Eligibility to participate
Students enrolled full-time in institutions of higher education from groups which are underrepresented in the Foreign Service in terms of the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Foreign Service and for whom equal opportunity and affirmative action recruitment efforts have not been successful in achieving balanced representation in appointments to the Foreign Service shall be eligible to be interns in programs under this subchapter.
An intern shall have successfully completed not less than one academic year of study at an institution of higher education to be admitted to the program. In each succeeding year of participation an intern shall have completed an additional year of undergraduate or graduate study and shall maintain an exemplary record of academic achievement.
In selecting interns, the Secretary shall consider only the ablest students of superior ability selected on the basis of demonstrated achievement and exceptional promise whose academic records reflect the requisite standards of performance necessary for the Foreign Service.
Summer internships
The primary focus of the first internship shall be the study of international relations, the functions of the Department of State and other agencies which utilize the Foreign Service system, and the nature of the Foreign Service. The internship shall be held in Washington, District of Columbia, at the Department of State. As appropriate, the Secretary shall utilize the personnel and facilities of the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center.
The second internship shall be, principally, an assignment to a specific bureau of the Department of State. Emphasis shall be on providing insight into the economic and political functional areas.
The third internship shall be an assignment to a United States mission abroad in the political or economic area.
The first and second internships may include a detail to the Congress.

The Secretary of State shall determine the academic requirements, other selection criteria, and standards for successful completion of each internship period. The Secretary shall be responsible for the design, implementation, and operation of the program.


Each intern shall be assigned a career Foreign Service officer as a mentor. The mentor shall act as a counselor and advisor throughout each summer internship and as a personal Foreign Service contact throughout the period of participation in the program. In the assignment of mentors, the Secretary shall give preference to Foreign Service officers who volunteer for such assignment and who may be role models for the interns.


Interns shall be compensated at a rate determined by the Secretary which shall not be less than the compensation of comparable summer interns at the Department of State. As determined by the Secretary, for the purposes of travel, housing, health insurance, and other appropriate benefits, interns shall be considered employees of the Foreign Service during each internship period.

Study of Foreign Service examination

The Secretary of State shall study the feasibility of administering the Foreign Service examination in separate segments over several years. Not later than 180 days after February 16, 1990, the Secretary shall submit a report summarizing the findings of such a study to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.

(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 1202, as added Pub. L. 101–246, title I, § 149(b), Feb. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 40; amended Pub. L. 107–132, § 1(b), Jan. 16, 2002, 115 Stat. 2412.)
cite as: 22 USC 4141a