Public Interest Internship Program


Our 10-week internships are unpaid, and can be full-time or part-time. The specific dates of an internship are flexible and depend on our needs and the applicant's schedule. CSPI offers a collegial work environment and flexible schedule to accommodate your academic responsibilities and work-life balance. If your school offers academic credit for internships, we will work with you to meet your school’s requirements. We will also reimburse you up to $5/day for commuting expenses.

Center for Science in the Public Interest
Attn: Human Resources Department
1220 L St. N.W. Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20005

CSPI was started in 1971 by three scientists who saw the need for an organization to evaluate the effects of science and technology on society and to promote national policies responsive to consumers' interests. CSPI focuses primarily on health and nutrition issues, disclosing deceptive marketing practices, dangerous food additives or contaminants, and flawed science propagated by profits. Findings are communicated in press interviews and a variety of educational materials, which include reports, books, posters, software, videos, and the Center's Nutrition Action Healthletter.

CSPI offers internships for a small number of qualified students in undergraduate, graduate, law, and medical schools each summer and during the school year. We also consider post graduates. Applications are considered on a rolling basis until all positions have been filled. Please note the application review periods:

Summer internships - Applications considered in February/March

Fall internships - Applications considered in July/August

Spring internships - Applications considered in December/January


2018 Summer Interns

Application materials should include the following:

1. A cover letter indicating issues of interest, future plans, and dates of availability.

2. A résumé. Experience with advocacy groups is advantageous.

3. Writing sample, if required by the specific project (one to three page document that demonstrates your ability to write in a clear and concise manner).

Email to: (this is the preferred method)

It's best to submit all of the requested documents at the same time.

If your background and interests are a good match for our internship, we will contact you using the information you have provided. Due to the volume of applications we typically receive we are unable to provide additional information on our selection process to applicants who are not chosen for interviews.

Please contact the Human Resources office if you have any further questions.

Fundraising: Prospect Research - Accepting applications for Summer 2018 (updated 3/1/18).

The Prospect Research intern will assist the Development team, under the direction of the Development Director, with fundraising projects by producing and updating individual donor/prospect research profiles, reports, and briefing materials, as well as conducting issue-specific research pertaining to grant opportunities with professional foundations. This is an excellent opportunity for applicants who want to gain knowledge about the nonprofit fundraising world at a fast-paced and highly effective national advocacy organization. The desired candidate will demonstrate an interest in CSPI’s mission, and a willingness to learn. No specific fundraising experience is required, but good research, communication, multi-tasking, and writing skills are essential. Candidates should also have strong attention to detail as well as excellent organization and time management abilities, and database experience is preferred.

Litigation - No longer considering applications for Summer 2018 (updated April 2018).

The Litigation Project uses state and federal courts to help correct corporate misbehavior. The project brings its own advocacy lawsuits, working with private lawyers across the country. CSPI's legal filings have produced binding settlements resulting in more honest labeling of artificial ingredients and halting deceptive marketing. Many of the legal matters in these cases are developing issues with many interesting questions of both law and social policy. We are considering applications from first and second year law students. Applicants should have a strong interest in consumer and regulatory law, excellent legal research and writing skills, a commitment to public interest work, and must submit a legal writing sample.

Nutrition Action Healthletter - Considering applications for Fall 2018 (updated 8/27/18).

CSPI has been promoting healthy diets for more than 40 years, and has had a profound effect on the way Americans eat.  As part of it's mission, Nutrition Action Healthletter (NAH), one of the nation’s largest-circulation nutrition newsletter, helps shape the national conversation on sound nutrition by translating the best available science into advice for the public and healthcare professionals, and ultimately into recommendations for legislatures, government agencies, and industry.  Interns assist with a variety of projects related to upcoming articles, especially collecting information about packaged and restaurant food online, by phone, and in supermarkets, entering nutrient data into spreadsheets, transcribing interviews, and occasionally preparing recipes. Applicants should have strong research and communications skills as well as an eye for detail. An interest or coursework in nutrition or dietetics is preferred.

Policy Department - Considering applications for Winter/Spring 2019 (updated 11/1/18).

The Policy department works on national, state, and local policies related to nutrition and health.  Current issues include the Farm bill, community food systems, food additives, kids' meals, food marketing to children, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and getting junk food out of retail checkout aisles. Projects may involve conducting research for policy analysis and development, tracking legislation and regulations, grassroots organizing to support state and local policy, and assisting in federal policy advocacy. Applicants should have excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills; and a strong college-level science, public policy or public health background.  Intern application should include a writing sample (1-2 pages). 

Regulatory Affairs - Food Safety Policy and Regulatory Policy & Labeling internships are available Fall 2018 and Spring 2019.  Application deadlines:  9/15/18 for Fall 2018; and 1/15/19 for Spring 2019 (updated 8/27/18).

The Regulatory Affairs team works with national partners to promote the interest of consumers on food safety, with current issues including implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act, modernization of swine slaughter, labeling and communication, and antibiotic resistance in the food system.  Below are brief descriptions of the internships available fall 2018 and spring 2019.  We seek applicants who have excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills, and a strong science, public policy, or public health background.

Food Safety Policy – Graduate students in fields related to food safety, public health, or veterinary medicine are encouraged to apply.  Responsibilities may include:

  • Conducting research for policy analysis and development on topics including USDA microbial performance standards and regulatory enforcement, adverse event reporting, antimicrobial resistance, food additive safety, and novel food safety topics.
  • Assisting in drafting letters, petitions and comments on regulations and enforcement actions by federal government agencies and international food safety standard-setting bodies (Codex Alimentarius).
  • Attending meetings and events for food safety stakeholders representing consumer interests.

Regulatory Policy & Labeling – Graduate students in fields related to law, policy or public health are encouraged to apply.  Responsibilities may include: ​

  • Conducting research for policy analysis and development on topics including USDA and FDA regulatory enforcement, food additive labeling, allergens, deceptive labeling practices, and food standards of identity.
  • Assisting in drafting letters, petitions and comments on regulations and enforcement actions by federal government agencies.
  • Attending meetings and events for food safety and nutrition stakeholders representing consumer interests.

Food and Color Additives - Applications are considered year-round.  Currently considering applications for Winter/Spring 2019 (updated 11/1/18).

The Food and Color Additives intern will assist the Senior Scientist and Regulatory policy team with evaluating the use and safety of food and color additives and other substances in the food supply and related advocacy efforts. Projects include conducting research to update/expand CSPI's website and positions on specific food additives; working with staff to conduct research on and/or prepare written analyses of key issues to support CSPI’s positions to regulatory agencies, Congress, the media, companies, and other stakeholders; identifying and developing new and emerging topics in food additives and contaminants to support CSPI’s position as an industry watchdog.  We are looking for hardworking students with a graduate degree or graduate-level coursework in public health, toxicology, epidemiology, or other relevant sciences; an interest and background in public interest advocacy; and an ability to write well and translate complex scientific issues for the public and policy makers. Applicants should describe their relevant coursework and background in conducting reviews of research and evaluating evidence and are encouraged to submit a non-technical writing sample (i.e. a news article, report, policy paper, or other writing targeted at a lay audience) as part of their application.



Center for Science in the Public Interest

1220 L St. N.W., Suite 300

Washington, D.C. 20005


CSPI is an equal opportunity employer.
Minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
For updated information on this or other openings, visit: Jobs at CSPI