header banner

Student Opportunities


Do you have a passion for strengthening national security? Are you looking for an opportunity to make a difference? Work with the experts in the National Reconnaissance Office student internship program!

The NRO is a member of the Intelligence Community and is the Department of Defense agency responsible for developing, acquiring, launching, and operating the nation’s most sophisticated and capable intelligence satellites. For more than 60 years, the NRO has been protecting the United States, its citizens and its allies with space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Today, the NRO’s paid student internship program is developing the next generation of space leaders. The NRO offers high-achieving undergraduate students the opportunity to gain real-world experience in positions related to their field of study. They work alongside professionals to support meaningful projects that directly contribute to the NRO’s mission.

The NRO currently offers the following internship programs:

  • NRO Cadre Undergraduate and Graduate Student Internship Program
  • NASA Pathways Internship Program
  • Military Programs and ROTC NRO Summer Internship Program

For more information, review our student internship program overviews, application instructions, and basic eligibility requirements below.

“Launch” your career with the NRO.

Summer 2024 NRO Internship Program is currently accepting applications.

Student Internship Programs Overview

NRO Cadre Undergraduate and Graduate Student Internship Program

The NRO Cadre Undergraduate and Graduate Student Internship Program provides extraordinary training, mentoring, and career development opportunities for high-achieving undergraduate and graduate students to support the NRO's national space mission. Interns gain real-world experience in a variety of functional areas while working alongside professionals at NRO headquarters in Chantilly, VA.  It is a paid, 10-week program from June to August. In addition, there may be opportunities to work during the school year, e.g. winter and spring break, and during subsequent summers based on mission requirements, continued eligibility, and the student's availability. This internship provides the opportunity for students to transition to the NRO Developmental Career Path Program upon graduation.

Applicants Must:

  • Be enrolled in a full-time degree program at an accredited college or university
  • Have a minimum 3.2/4.0 GPA
  • Be able to obtain a TS/SCI security clearance, complete with background investigation and polygraph

Application Process:

The NRO Internship Program is competitive; if you are not offered a position for a given year, we recommend you re-apply in subsequent years. If you are selected for consideration, NRO recruiters will contact you via phone or email. Please note, emails from NRO recruiters will have a “.mil” extension. To ensure receipt of these emails, please check your email spam filter settings or spam folder. Qualified individuals will receive an invitation to complete a virtual interview via HireVue, a digital interviewing platform. Selected applicants will receive a Tentative Job Offer.

NASA Pathways Internship Program

In partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the NRO sponsors unclassified internship projects. NASA Pathways Internships are competitive awards to support educational opportunities that provide space-related research and operational experiences to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as educators. Students work on integrated, mentor-directed projects with NRO and NASA career professionals to help advance NRO and NASA missions.

These internships provide an option for students to transition to the NRO Cadre Undergraduate and Graduate Student Internship Program for subsequent summers or the NRO Developmental Career Path Program upon graduation.

Application Process:

Apply at NASA Pathways Internship OpportunitiesProject assignments are made twice a year in the fall and the summer. Application deadlines are early March for summer and early July for fall opportunities.


Military Service and ROTC Summer Internship Program

Established in 2003, the Military Service Academies and ROTC NRO Summer Internship Program is a six-week program designed to train and educate United States Service Academy cadets and midshipman (sophomores and juniors) and Reserve Officers Training Corps students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) who are pursuing technical degrees related the NRO’s mission, vision, and goals. This program provides cadets and midshipmen with exposure to the NRO’s operations and mission, real-world technical research, and the Intelligence Community.

Application Process:

Applications and flyers are emailed to the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy, and Air Force and Navy ROTC points of contact informing them that the NRO will be accepting applications. Service Academy students must provide their application through their department head. ROTC students should submit applications to SummerInternPrograms@nro.mil. Applications will be accepted in the spring/summer for the following summer. The NRO Student Internship Program Office will confirm receipt with either the Service Academy POC or the student after the application has been received.


General Requirements

Those applying to any NRO student opportunity must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen (interns may NOT hold dual citizenship)
  • Be suitable for Federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  • Be able to obtain and hold a TS/SCI security clearance, including polygraph (Note: NASA Pathways Internship Program does not require a clearance, however, participants looking to transfer to the NRO’s part of the program must be able to obtain a TS/SCI clearance)
  • Have favorable results on a pre-employment drug test
  • Be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at an accredited university (undergraduates must have completed a minimum of 24 credit hours)
  • Provide an official transcript from the academic institution reflecting a minimum GPA meeting the requirements of each respective Intern Program
  • Be available for an interview and other applicable processing between July and November
  • Be available and geographically located in Chantilly, Virginia, for the 10-week summer program
  • Register with the Selective Service System, if the student is male, over 18 years of age, and born after December 31, 1959

Policy on Drug Use

To be considered for NRO employment, applicants generally must not have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last 12 months. Although the legalization of marijuana has occurred under certain state laws, the NRO follows federal statute and prohibits the use of illegal drugs, including marijuana.

Benefits Information

The NRO Student Internship Program offers various benefits to students including:

  • Paid internships
  • Paid time off (eligibility based on appointment term)
  • Education and training
  • Health and fitness facility
  • Health services
  • Credit Union