Do you have a passion for tackling issues that strengthen the Nation’s security? Are you looking for an opportunity to make a difference? Now’s your chance to work alongside experts in our rewarding student internship program at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)!
NRO is a member of the Intelligence Community and a Department of Defense agency responsible for developing, acquiring, launching, and operating the Nation’s most sophisticated and capable intelligence satellites. For 60 years, we’ve had the unique privilege of keeping our Nation and our Allies safe for the high-ground of space past six decades. And we’re growing!
Today, our paid student internship program is working to develop the next generation of space leaders to fuel our future success! The NRO offers high-achieving undergraduate students the opportunity to gain real-world experience in positions related to your field of study while working alongside NRO career professionals to support meaningful projects that directly contribute to our exciting 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—apply online today!
Student Internship Programs Overview
NRO Cadre Undergraduate and Graduate Student Internship Program
The NRO Cadre Undergraduate and Graduate Student Internship Program is targeted for Undergraduate and Graduate students enrolled in a full-time degree program at an accredited college/university. The NRO Cadre Undergraduate and Graduate Student Internship Program is a paid, 10-week program from June-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 student's availability.
This internship opportunity provides the option for students to transition to the NRO Cadre Undergraduate and Graduate Student Internship Program for winter, spring break, and subsequent summers, or to the NRO Developmental Career Path Program upon graduation.
- Have a minimum 3.2/4.0 GPA and be enrolled in a full-time degree program at an accredited college/university
- Be able to obtain a TS/SCI security clearance (complete with background investigation and polygraph)
Deadline approaching for NRO Summer 2022 Paid Internship Program. The application deadline for NRO's Summer 2022 Internship Program is August 1, 2021. NRO's Internship Program provides extraordinary training, mentoring, and career development opportunities for high achieving undergraduate and graduate students to support the NRO's exciting national space mission. You'll gain real-world experience in a variety of functional areas while working alongside NRO career professionals at our headquarters in Chantilly, VA. Click here to submit your application today. Applications will be accepted in the spring/summer for the following Summer Internship Program.
The NRO Cadre Undergraduate and Graduate Student 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 initiate contact 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 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the NRO sponsors unclassified internship projects. NASA Pathways Internships are competitive awards to support educational opportunities that provide unique space related research and operational experiences to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as educators. These opportunities select students to work on integrated, mentor-directed projects with NRO and NASA career professionals to contribute to the advancement of NRO’s and NASA's missions.
This internship opportunity provides the 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.
Applicants are encouraged to access the NASA Pathways Internship Opportunities page to apply. Application deadlines are early March for summer and early July for fall opportunities. Project assignments are made twice a year in the fall and the summer.
Military Service and ROTC Summer Internship Program
Established in 2003, the Military Service Academies and ROTC NRO Summer Internship Program is a six-week internship program that is designed to train and educate United States Service Academy cadets and midshipman (sophomores and juniors) and Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) pursuing technical degrees about 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, with the hope that the cadets and midshipmen will accept a tour at the NRO during their military career.
- Cleared internship opportunity for Air Force/Army Cadets and Navy Midshipman
- Must be sophomores, juniors, or seniors from Service Academies or ROTC
- Exposure to the Intelligence Community and NRO operations and mission
- Professional and personal growth
An email, application, and flyer are sent to USAFA, USNA, USMA, Air Force ROTC POC’s, and Navy ROTC POC’s informing them that the NRO will be accepting applications for the 2021 summer Internship.
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.
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 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 suitable for NRO employment, applicants must generally 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, NRO follows federal statute and prohibits the use of illegal drugs, including marijuana.
The NRO Student Internship Programs offer various benefits to students including:
- Paid internships
- Paid time off
- Federal health and life insurance
- Education and training
- Health and fitness facility
- Health services
- Credit union