The Constitution Unit


Research Volunteers

Apply to be a research volunteer at the Constitution Unit

As a research volunteer at the Constitution Unit is an ideal way for recent graduates to gain experience of work in a think tank which is also an academic research centre, and to do research which is linked to policy. Past research volunteers have included students in their holidays, postgraduates thinking about continuing their studies to Masters or PhD level, and civil and public servants who work for us part-time or on secondment. 

" "Our volunteers have gone on to work in think tanks, Whitehall, Westminster, the law, consultancy and academe. I am still writing references for them five years afterwards, and am very happy to do so. I feel very proud of our volunteers and what they have gone on to do" Professor Robert Hazell 

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants will have a degree or equivalent in Social Studies or Political Science, in Law or in some related subject. The candidates should be highly motivated, have excellent interpersonal skills, be able to work independently and have good analytical and writing skills. We accept undergraduates who are on their summer break.

Value & Benefits

Each research volunteer is assigned to one of our researchers to assist them with a single project throughout their three months here at the unit. This gives research volunteers the opportunity to build a close working relationship with their supervisor, get a real feel for the day-to-day process of academic research, gives your research skills a more practical edge and to have real responsibility and independence over their task. 

The work is varied and will be assigned to reflect peoples skills and areas of interest. We very much value the work done by our volunteers and they are treated as full members of our small and friendly team. We invite the volunteers to come to our team meetings, contribute to our publications, newsletter and blog, and the whole team work together to organise our regular events and seminars. They get a real taste of what academic and policy research is like, and make an important contribution to our research projects. In return we will provide volunteers with extra skills, careers advice, and a reference for when they leave.

" "Thanks to mentoring by both of my supervisors, I now have a more realistic idea of where I want to establish a career and how to get there." Former Volunteer

Duration & Expenses

We advertise for the research volunteer opportunities quarterly and they last for three months, full or part time, and we are flexible in working hours. We hope volunteer can work for a minimum of 3 days. The positions are voluntary, but the Unit will pay travel costs up to the sum of £250 a month. 

Areas of Research

The projects that research volunteer will be working on:

Those wishing to join our team should refer to the research currently undertaken (above) at the Unit and specify which area you might like to contribute to.

" "Being at the Constitution Unit was a rewarding experience. I felt valued as a member of the team, took on stimulating work and I was able to make a real contribution to the Unit’s research." Former Volunteer

Application Procedures

Application deadline for Spring: 11 February 2015

Next round will start April 2016

To make an application please email constitution@ucl.ac.uk with the following documents:

  • Your CV
  • A covering letter stating why you are a suitable candidate.
  • The application form
  • A piece of work, for example a recent short essay. 

*Note to students: Full-time masters students are not eligible at the Constitution Unit during their period of study. Part-time students are eligible at any point.

Want to know more contact: constitution@ucl.ac.uk or FAQS

We advertise for volunteers four times a year

Spring - April 2016
Application deadline: 11th February 2016

Summer - July 2016
Application deadline: 12th May 2016

Autumn - October 2016
Application deadline: 18th August 2016

Winter - Jan 2017
Application deadline: 10th November 2017

How long will it take before I hear that I have been selected?

Once we have received all our applications, it will take a minimum of three weeks after the closing date to hear whether you have been selected for an interview.

We strive to contact all applicants to let them know if they have been successful or not. 

UCL's Volunteer Policy 

  • Will have an arrangement with UCL which does not entitle them to a financial reward or benefit in kind for work they perform under the arrangement 
  • Do not have to turn up for work if they don't want to (even if you or their colleagues expect them to or they generally work to a regular pattern) 
  • Cannot be dismissed, sued for breach of contract nor have payment or reward withheld if they fail to do the work or perform the services they were providing.
" "My time at the Unit was wonderful – a flexible, friendly and informal atmosphere with some challenging work which required self-motivation." Former Volunteer