The following describes the activities, stipend, and deadlines regarding Cato internships.


There is a wide variety of departments in which interns work at the Cato Institute. Policy areas include such subjects as health care and entitlements reform, constitutional law, energy policy, and foreign and military policy. Interns assist department directors and research assistants with research and data collection. Some interns are assigned to the Media Relations and Development departments, where they get hands-on experience working with journalists and donors, respectively. We do our best to align interns and their preferences.

All interns fulfill such responsibilities as clerical work, delivery of studies to Capitol Hill, and setting up for Cato events, including registering guests and carrying hand-held microphones at public forums and debates. All interns take active part in weekly seminars and in research and writing workshops.

Stipend for full time internships

  • $700 a month paid in two monthly installments
  • Law students receive specific legal work as well as a different stipend.
  • Part time internships are permitted in exceptional cases and part time interns receive a pro-rated stipend.

Deadline Information

Application forms and autobiographies must be received by:

  • July 1 for the fall semester; notification by August 8;
  • November 1 for the spring semester; notification by December 1;
  • March 1 for the summer; notification by April 15. 

To allow for visa and travel arrangements, international applicants' application forms and autobiographies must be received by:

  • June 1 for the fall semester; notification by July 1;
  • October 1 for the spring semester; notification by November 1;
  • February 1 for the summer; notification by April 1.

Internship program starting and ending dates:

  • Fall: Early September to late December
  • Spring: Early January to late April
  • Summer: Early June to late August 

Note: We get far fewer applications for the fall and spring terms than for the summer. Your chances of acceptance for one of those terms are thus better.


Cato internships are for undergraduates, regardless of major, recent graduates, graduate students, or law students who have a strong commitment to individual liberty, private property, free markets, limited government, and the philosophy of classical, or market, liberalism.

The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization whose publications and conferences since 1977 have presented market-liberal solutions for the full range of policy issues. Cato's objective is to reawaken interest in America's founding ideals: personal liberty, private property, free markets, free trade, limited government, and nonintervention in foreign affairs. The Institute is named for Cato's Letters, libertarian essays that were widely read in the American colonies in the 18th century and that played a major role in laying the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution. 

Summer Policy Seminar

Select internship applicants will be invited to attend Liberty & Current Issues: Connecting Libertarian Ideas to Public Policy, a policy seminar co-sponsored with the Institute for Humane Studies. Taking place June 2-8 in Washington, DC, the seminar features top academic faculty and Cato policy scholars. Sessions will shed new light on contemporary debates using economic, legal, and philosophical arguments and offer insight for solutions to important questions on the national agenda such as U.S. foreign policy, taxation, and monetary policy. The seminar is invitation-only. For more information visit www.theihs.org/liberty-and-current-issues.

No separate application is needed to apply for the Liberty & Current Issues seminar. All internship applicants will be considered, and if selected, will be sent an invitation to attend no later than March 15. Due to space constraints, only a limited number of seats are available. If you do not receive an invitation, you can also apply to attend one of the Institute for Humane Studies’ other summer seminars atwww.TheIHS.org/seminar.

The Institute for Humane Studies will be hosting 12 other free summer seminars on a variety of topics. Find out more or apply by March 31 atwww.TheIHS.org/seminar.