The IRDR are committed to supporting summer internships for students on the BSc Global Humanitarian Studies in between their second and third year of study.
We are looking for employers who are willing to provide high quality summer internships to our students. Is this something your organisation can provide?
Students take a compulsory central core of humanitarian studies running through all three years. This includes understanding and analysis of humanitarian crises, conflict, disaster, migration, trapped populations, natural hazards and climate risks, health and wellbeing impacts, gender and intersectionality, humanitarian policy, law and aid economics, emergency and crisis response, logistics, communication and negotiation, geospatial data analysis, quantitative and qualitative research methods, and ethical, historical and political contexts.
Students also select a specialism pathway to follow which includes Digital Science; Management Science; Global Health; Anthropology and Social Science. For further information on the BSc Global Humanitarian Studies please view the degree page.
- Benefits of the Internship for Students and Host Organisation
- Real-world experience to enhance students’ academic learning that will improve their employability after graduating in a sector that does not have clearly defined access routes for graduates i.e., as opposed to large graduate schemes for law or financial sectors.
- Skills e.g., hazard mapping, research skills, to organisations conducting humanitarian activities in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
- A youth perspective on issues and potential new expertise and knowledge.
- Staff in host organisations have the opportunity to manage junior positions and improve their own staff development and line management skills.
- Supports growth of students and of host organisations through additional capacity supplied by IRDR students e.g. through opportunity to conduct new research or activities.
- Internship Expectations and Outcomes
The internships for students are optional and non-credit bearing. However, internships should consist of one or all of the following.
- Allow students to learn and develop skills that are related to their degree.
- Provide a meaningful learning opportunity for the student.
- Though the role/roles can be entry level and may include some aspect of boring/repetitive task, this should not be the entirety of the role.
- Be an opportunity to do work shadowing and learning about the company to improve their understanding and awareness of a humanitarian organisation within one department or a number of departments.
- Be project based either with one project or a series of projects for the student to undertake with an intended aim or outcome.
- Provide the opportunity to develop technical skills (e.g. software application, formal business meeting) and/or behavioural skills (communication, teamwork).
It is hoped that at the end of the internship the intern will have.
- Developed their technical and/or behavioural skills.
- Will have received some mentorship from the organisation that will inform the interns future career goals.
- On successful completion can utilise the reference and contacts developed at the internship organisation to develop their future career.
- Student profile
Students are from both from the UK and overseas and from a wide variety of backgrounds. There is no one single profile in terms of career aspirations or skill and students are interested in pursuing a wide variety of internships.
- Length of Internship
The internship must take place in the summer and must not impact the student’s full-time degree. The university holiday is between June and September, but students may be available slightly before or after these months depending on their university commitment.
Ideally the placement should be at least 4 weeks in length, but this depends on organisational need.
- Ways of Working
Students can work both in the office and on a hybrid basis depending on the policy and needs of the organisation in which they are working.
They can also work part-time, or full time based on the policy and needs of the organisation in which they are working. The hours and days that the student can work should be agreed with the organisation in advance.
- Expectations of the Student on the Internship
Students should have researched the organisation and have clear aims and outcomes of what they hope to achieve at the placement. These aims and outcomes should be discussed with the organisation prior to securing the placement to ensure that the organisation can meet their needs. Students are expected to follow the organisational guidelines and professional courtesy expected by the organisation on placement. The student is also encouraged to write a reflection on their placement.
- Skills that the students will have
Students will have gained skills in critical reading and writing, statistics, GIS mapping, data collection and analysis, geospatial data and methods, presentations and report writing, research methods, fieldwork and data ethics. Skills are directly related to humanitarian studies and will complement the work in your organisation
Funding arrangements must follow UK law on employment rights and pay for interns. It is hoped that the host organisation will provide funding for the students either through providing the living wage, or subsistence for travel and/or work.
As this is an optional and non-credit bearing placement, the host organisation may offer an internship and it is at the student’s discretion whether they wish to accept the place based on the conditions offered.
Please note for overseas placements, UCL can access the Turing Fund for some students.
There may also be some funding available for charities, voluntary organisation, associated fund-raising body or a statutory body to establish ring fenced placements with the department.
- Good Practise on Establishing an Internship
UCL provides guidance on establishing a positive internship experience both for the employer and the intern. This can be found at
Students will be expected to follow the application procedure of the host organisation and ideally have in place the following.
- Curriculum vitae for a professional work opportunity
- Cover letter that outlines how they meet the skills and knowledge required by the organisation.
- Have agreed the role, responsibilities and obligations of the student and the company before starting the placement.
- Have followed the guidance of the internship toolkit.
- Been given an induction by the organisation about the company.
- Induction to the organisation
As this is a non-credit bearing placement, organisational inductions and resources that can be allocated to the student are dependent on the organisation.
However it is expected that an organisation will induct the student at the start of their internship, as well as mutually agree upon aims and expectations between the organisation and the student. Best practice for recruiting | UCL Careers for Employers - UCL – University College London
- Support to your Organisation
The IRDR Work Placements Manager is happy to provide support required by the organisation on establishing an internship. This can involve.
- Fielding initial enquiries/applications for the organisation
- Support with interviewing/ensuring the organisation has the right match of student
- Helping to establish goals for the student and the organisation
- Providing support while the student is at the company
- Support with any follow up after the internship/placement has finished
- Ring Fenced/Funded Internships
Your organisation may be interested in ring-fencing your paid internship to BSc Global Humanitarian Studies students. If you are interested in this opportunity, please do get in touch to discuss how we can work together to recruit our talented undergraduates.
If you are a charity, voluntary organisation, associated fund-raising body or a statutory body funding may be available to allow you to recruit our undergraduates on an internship and pay a living wage. Please get in touch to find out more.
Contact for all internship enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Diaspora Confederation - Intern Organisation Case Study
"We look for students who can benefit from our work to further their careers."
Denisa Tami, worked at the Global Diaspora Confederation (GDC) supporting their humanitarian hub in between year 2 and 3. During her time there she,
- Prepared content and helped to build the website for the Global Diaspora Humanitarian Hub.
- Drafted the Humanitarian Hub's strategy.
- Created social media posts.
- Researched diaspora organisations in humanitarian assistance, as well as the needs assessement of diaspora organisations and stakeholders.
- Helped to prepare for Global Diaspora Week 2023.
GDC stated, "She presented herself professionally as a candidate who match with our principles very well. She was adaptable in finding solutions to challenges that often are beyond her studies and experience. We also selected Denisa for her passion and believed she would dedicate herself to impact oriented deliverables with a positive attitude and a strong work ethic. She produced work at a high quality, without much supervision required.
When we needed revision, she listened well and executed with care and sought chances to clarify which contributed to her high performance. The more she was involved in different tasks, the more we observed her skills. particularly her writing, which we highly recommend to future employers. Denisa has exceeded our expectations. She did not treat this opportunity as just another task. Instead she took this seriously despite she has gone through her own personal challenges. She managed time so well that we were able to align expectation with her through effective communication.
Denisa came in not just as a learner but a pillar to help growth of our progress. She has been agile to help when we needed assistance urgently. And she delivered brilliantly even without enough knowledge of our organisation from the beginning. She also managed to blend her studies and knowledge in disaster management well with our humanitarian and overall GDC work."
GDC give the following advice to a future student who is looking to do a summer internship,
"Do your background research and appreciate what we are looking for. We are not looking for an expert in every aspect but a passion for what you do in life. That itself can be turned into transferrable skills. We are looking for strong learners. We are also looking for problem solvers with a positive and a strong work ethic who will be adaptable, empathetic and strong in execution. Emergencies can happen at any time and being able to make yourselves available, understand the situation to make effective and efficient decisions, and coordinate immediate efforts are key to diasporas in need."