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National Geographic Geography Intern Program

Professional Learning Experience for University Students Majoring in Geography

About the Program

The National Geographic Society established its Geography Intern Program in 1981 to furnish qualified students with a professional learning experience. Over 30 years later, more than 800 university and college juniors, seniors, and master’s students majoring in geography or cartography have participated in the program by interning on various projects aimed at the increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge. 

The program is designed to give students an opportunity to apply knowledge and techniques learned in the classroom to practical publication procedures or other geographic outreach projects at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. In a given year, the Society offers a limited number of 12-week internships for the spring, summer, and fall.

Application Details

2015 APPLICATIONS ARE NO LONGER BEING ACCEPTED.  Please check back in early October for 2016 applications. 

For future reference:

Applications MUST be:

  • geography, cartography or GIS majors in good standing (no exceptions)
  • U.S. residents (no exceptions)
  • juniors, senior, or masters students at the time of application (you may be graduated by the time you actually start work)

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS (Candidates must attach the following to the online application) 

  • A cover letter (200 words or less, please address to "To Whom it May Concern");
  • A complete résumé that includes each of the following: the applicant’s extracurricular activities, awards and recognitions;  employment history; a list of specific skills such as software or language proficiencies; and other relevant information such as special interests, hobbies, and travel.
  • A short essay (500 words or less) relating experiences that led the applicant to formal training in geography, stating his or her professional goals, and explaining why she or he wishes to participate in the National Geographic Geography Intern Program;
  • Up-to-date unofficial college transcripts.


Three letters of recommendation must be sent to geographyinterns@ngs.org prior to the application deadline from the following:

  1. Applicant’s department chair or academic advisor,
  2. Geography faculty member with whom the applicant has been associated, and;
  3. One person of the applicant’s choice outside of the department (professional reference preferred).

What Does the Program Include?

The geography internship experience includes: 

  • getting real-world work experience in one of the many National Geographic Society divisions
  • working closely with one or more professionals
  • experiencing National Geographic events, performances, and exhibits
  • meeting National Geographic explorers, fellows, and photographers
  • participating in career-oriented professional development offered on campus
  • learning and working with other geography majors
  • contributing to world-class programs, projects, and publications

Where Do Interns Work?

Interns are placed in a variety of National Geographic divisions, such as:

Who is a Good Candidate?

Applicants for the Geography Intern Program should be:

  • junior or senior undergraduates or graduate students majoring in geography or cartography at the time of application
  • well-rounded students who have a breadth of interests and work experiences
  • motivated students with excellent organizational and research skills, as well as strong attention to detail
  • students who have effective written and oral communications skills 
  • students who possess the professionalism needed to interact with all levels of management
  • students with the capacity to work with minimal daily supervision

Geography Careers

What can you do with a degree in geography or cartography? The options are endless.

Geography on the Job

Geography on the Job

Learn about how different people apply geography to their work.

What Can You Do With Geography?

What Can You Do With Geography?

Environmental economists, Earth scientists, explorers, and a former National Geographic Bee winner share their perspectives on why geography matters in the work that they do.

Emerging Explorers

Emerging Explorers

Read about adventurers, scientists, innovators, and storytellers recognized by National Geographic for their visionary work while still early in their careers.

Tell us what you think

How to Apply

Sign up to receive notifications about how and when to apply to National Geographic Society's Geography Intern Program.

Candidates for geography internships should apply through the National Geographic Jobs site. Candidates MUST be majoring in Geography, GIS, or Cartography and be legal U.S. Residents.

For All Other National Geographic Internships

Note that the information on this webpage is specific to the National Geographic Geography Intern Program. For information about all other National Geographic internships, visit the National Geographic Jobs site.

Make a Difference

Did you know geography is the only core academic subject without dedicated federal funding? Join National Geographic Society's Network of Geographic Alliances and help us work to advance geography education in the U.S.

Network of Alliances for Geographic Education

Network of Alliances for Geographic Education

The National Geographic Network of Alliances for Geographic Education works to support and encourage geographic literacy.

Connect with Us

Were you a geography intern? Are you thinking about being a geography intern? Get connected with National Geographic!

Hello Bloggers!

NG Education Blog

NG Education Blog

Our interns enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the Nat Geo Education blog and sometimes even to blog for other National Geographic divisions! See daily entries and join the conversation.

Apply for a Grant

Young Explorers

Young Explorers

Interested in becoming a National Geographic Young Explorer? Think you have what it takes? Check out the Young Explorers portal to learn about current explorers and how you can apply for a grant.