SAMHSA Internship Program

SAMHSA Internship Program


Harness your passion for public health through a hands-on experience with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.




The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. If you have an interest in the fields of public health and behavioral health, the SAMHSA Internship Program could be a great fit for you.

Learn more about this internship program at or register for one of our upcoming informational sessions.

Program Description

This full-time and fully funded internship program gives you meaningful work experience and a unique opportunity to chart your career path. SAMHSA headquarters is located in Rockville, MD and employs a wide array of public health, behavioral and social science professionals. 

The SAMHSA Internship Program (SIP) introduces students to the important role SAMHSA plays in ensuring a productive life in the community for everyone. Interns gain practical experience through projects, special assignments, or research that supports federal, state, and community-based programs, policies, and best practices in the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and mental illness.

Students selected as SAMHSA interns will use their specific skills and knowledge while experiencing the value of their education. Interns will work full-time at the SAMHSA headquarters in Rockville, Maryland where each intern will work under the guidance of a SAMHSA manager in one of the Offices and Centers that matches closely with their course of study and interests.

The SAMHSA Internship Program is specifically designed to equip college students and recent graduates from underrepresented populations to succeed in the public health field. Students from these groups are encouraged to apply:

  • Women
  • Veterans
  • LGBTQ+
  • First-generation students
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Asian and Pacific Islanders
  • Students of Hispanic Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities

* Please note that in the case of COVID-limitations, this internship may be virtual. We continue to monitor the guidance from the CDC and local authorities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area regarding COVID and its potential impact on our programs.



To be eligible to participate you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident (I-151 or I-551). Individuals on temporary visas are not eligible. Additionally, individuals must be authorized or eligible to work in the United States by law.
  • Be enrolled in a degree-seeking program (AA/AS, BA/BS, Masters, JD, MD, or Ph.D.) at an accredited higher education institution during the internship OR be a recent graduate within 18 months of graduation. Students pursuing only a credential or certificate program will be considered ineligible.
  • Have completed their freshman year of college before the internship begins.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Be able to work full-time (40 hours per week) for the duration of the internship.
  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Students participating in our Funded Federal Diversity programs are considered employees of The Washington Center and are required to be fully vaccinated to participate. Learn more about our COVID-19 policy here.
  • Have a confirmed interest in working with SAMHSA.
  • Reside within the United States throughout the entire duration of the internship (if virtual).
  • Have completed the following steps of a background check before the start of the internship:  
    • Security onboarding forms
    • Cybersecurity Awareness Training
    • Fingerprinting
    • e-QIP (electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing)

* Preference given to upperclassmen and graduate students and/or those with relevant experience.

Preferred majors include:

  • Public health
  • Public administration
  • Behavioral and social sciences
  • Public policy
  • Business communications
  • Business administration
  • Information technology

Please reach out to if you have any questions.


Program Components

During this full-time 10-week Summer and 15-week Fall and Spring program, you will intern five days per week at SAMHSA in Rockville, MD. The SAMHSA Internship Program shows highly competent students how they can reduce the community impact of mental illness and substance abuse through a variety of fields:

  • Substance abuse and mental health prevention and treatment
  • Federal, state, and local government policies and regulations
  • Health IT
  • Program administration, operations, and management
  • Research and data analysis
  • Communications and social marketing
  • Grant management


Program Benefits

This is a fully funded program sponsored by SAMHSA. Sponsorship covers the cost of the program, housing (if needed) and roundtrip travel to and from the internship site city. You will be responsible for living expenses and local transportation. However, a stipend of $5,000-$7,590, depending on the length of the semester, will be provided to help alleviate these expenses.

In addition, various professional development sessions will be available to enhance students’ knowledge and marketability. The Washington Center organizes multiple hands-on experiences to prepare you for your career including Resume Review & Cover Letter Writing, LinkedIn Review, Interviewing & Pitching Yourself, etc. TWC also organizes networking opportunities during your internship and has highly active alumni networks of which you will be a part.


Housing and Living

Fully furnished housing near the internship site is provided by TWC for all participants who need it. Housing accommodations can, and typically do, require shared-living arrangements with other interns. Every effort is made to arrange housing near essential amenities like grocery stores, public transit and medical facilities.

TWC housing is covered by a portion of the stipend. The cost is approximately $2,000. You can choose not to use the TWC provided housing. Instead, you may take the portion of the stipend reserved for housing and use that to acquire your own housing. 


Academic Credit

You may be eligible to receive academic credit for your participation in this program. However, credits are determined and awarded by each university. You are responsible for arranging any academic credit through your college or university. TWC is also willing to work with those who may have practicum or fieldwork requirements. You should discuss arrangements with your institution, prior to starting the program and let TWC know the specific requirements of your university.


Dates and Deadlines

    Summer 2023 (Virtual)

    • Applications Accepted: November 28, 2022 – February 7, 2023
    • Decision Notification: Mid April 2023 (Applicants are notified when they are selected for interviews until all positions are filled or until mid April)  
    • Program Dates: June 5, 2023 – August 11, 2023 (subject to change)

    Fall 2023 (Virtual)

    • Applications Accepted: April 12, 2023  – May 12, 2023
    • Decision Notification: Mid July 2023 (Applicants are notified when they are selected for interviews until all positions are filled or until mid July)  
    • Program Dates: August 28, 2023 – December 8, 2023 (subject to change)

    Please reach out to if you have any questions. 


    How to Apply

    The 2023 application has closed. If you have any questions or are interested in participating in a future program, contact

    Register Your Interest

    Interested in a future session? Want updates on webinars and application openings? Register your interest using the following form: 


    Have further questions? Email 

    Application Documents

    For your application, you will submit: a max two-page resume, a one-page Statement of Interest, and your transcripts (unofficial or official). If you are in a master’s program, please submit your undergraduate transcript as well.  

    • Resume: Please submit a PDF of your resume with your contact information, education, GPA, relevant work experience, relevant classwork, volunteerism, and any important skills. Please ensure that your submission is no more than 2 pages. This is a resume and not a CV; therefore, it should be curated to be relevant for a position at SAMHSA. 

    • Statement of Interest: In a 1-page statement in PDF format, please address your specific interest in interning with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, along with what skills and experiences you have that make you a unique candidate. The statement should not reiterate your resume, but can expand upon your education, work experience, and/or other specific skills for the purpose of promoting your candidacy.  

      •  In short, we want to know: Why SAMHSA? Why this internship/field? Why you?

      • Please do not mention The Washington Center in your statement.  

    • Transcript: Submit your most recent report reflecting your cumulative GPA. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. If you are in a master’s program, please submit your undergraduate transcript as well. Please ensure that your Social Security Number is crossed out on the submitted document. 


    Can I apply if I am a U.S. citizen attending/graduating from a higher education institution not within the United States?

    Yes, you can apply as long as it is accredited within that country’s official body.

    My school does not use a traditional GPA system. What should I put for my GPA?

    Please submit a letter of explanation from the Office of the Registrar. For your GPA, please give an estimation based on your university grading system.

    How many hours will I work per week?

    You will work 33-40 hours a week. This is a full-time internship, not an hourly position, and you must be able to work a minimum of 33 hours per week to participate and receive the full stipend amount. TWC is NOT able to negotiate any part-time internships. 

    I have conflicts with the first or last few days of the session due to academic or personal reasons - can I start late or end early?

    The general answer is no. However, please reach out prior to application submission for clarification on your specific circumstance. 

    Can I complete my internship from another country? Can I work while traveling overseas?

    The internship must be completed within the United States. Even if the internship is virtual, interns are not permitted to work while abroad.

    Are recommendation letters or references required?

    Letters of Recommendation and/or References are not required at this time. Please do not upload or send us any as they will not be considered as part of your application.

    I am having issues submitting the interest form and/or Salesforce application. What should I do?

    For the application we suggest using Google Chrome with JavaScript enabled and pop-up blockers turned off. If you are having issues applying, screenshot the issue/error and send it to with your question. We will try to respond within 1-2 business days. 

    Can I receive feedback from the application review process?

    Unfortunately, due to the high number of applications, we cannot provide individualized feedback on your application. 

    Have other questions?

    Please see our extended list of FAQs for more information.


    Please reach out to if you have any questions.