WHO internships at Headquarters

Conditions of the WHO Internship Programme

  • The duration of WHO internships is between six to twenty four weeks on a full-time basis.
  • WHO internships are not paid. Travel costs, travel arrangements (including visas), and living accommodations are the responsibility of the intern.
  • WHO does not sign any agreements, proposed or required by a sponsor, university or equivalent institution.
  • Persons related to a WHO staff member, i.e., son/daughter, brother/sister are not eligible for an internship.
  • Interns must possess a passport of a WHO Member State.
  • WHO Interns must have adequate medical insurance coverage during the entire period of the internships.
  • Interns may participate only once in the WHO Internship Programme.
  • Interns do not have the status of WHO staff members and shall not represent the Organization in any official capacity.
  • WHO Interns are not eligible for appointment to any position within WHO for a period of three months following the end of their internship. Any employment with WHO at that point in time shall be subject to established recruitment and selection procedures.

How to apply for an internship with WHO Headquarters

Application dates and deadlines


To be considered for a summer internship, applications are accepted from 1 February to 28 February each year.

Summer internships usually take place between May and October.


To be considered for a winter internship, applications are accepted from 1 November to 30 November.

Winter internships usually take place between November and April.

The application process requires completing a questionnaire that covers your education, current studies, language skills and experience. You will be able to indicate the area of work within WHO in which you are hoping to intern, and you will be asked to write about your motivation for applying for a WHO Internship.

Students who lack professional experience may find it challenging to complete the experience section. Suggestion: Review your experience in light of your academic career or any activities you've done. Show how these experiences have provided you with skills and competencies to work in a team, to make decisions and to solve problems. They may relate to your actual schooling or a personal situation.

In the questionnaire, state your motivation for applying to a WHO Internship. Describe to what type of project you feel you could contribute while interning with WHO. Include your dates of availability and any additional information that you feel would facilitate the selection process.

Internships are available in a wide variety of areas related to the technical and administrative work of WHO. Our Information Sheet for Interns regarding WHO departments (see related links to the right) provides links to WHO-related websites about WHO's technical and administrative work. Please review this information and specify which area of WHO you are most interested in.

If selected for a WHO Internship, you will be asked to provide proof of enrolment in a course of studies and proof of personal medical insurance (illness) coverage (which must include Switzerland). Do not send these or other documents until specifically asked to do so.

All applications for WHO Internships are acknowledged when received and are made available to technical units for review. The period of time for this review is indeterminate. You will not be informed of the status of your application. If you do not hear from a WHO technical unit in within 1-2 months after the application closing date, you can assume that you will not be considered for a WHO internship at this point.

An important reminder: WHO Internships are not paid. Be aware that living in Geneva is expensive and finding accommodation can be challenging. Past interns have financed their internships through scholarships programmes. Please note, however, that WHO is not in a position to sign any agreements, proposed or required by a sponsor, university or equivalent institution.

Please note: WHO does NOT charge for internships so beware of any programmes that "facilitate" your obtaining an internship but require payment.

If accepted for an internship with WHO, you will be eligible to join the online intern community (EZcollab) where additional information will be provided to you in preparation for your arrival.

Warning: If selected for an internship and you are identifying accommodation in Geneva, beware of scams: we recommend not to make advance payments or provide guarantee sums in advance of your arrival.

WHO receives a very large number of applications each year. Please review our Frequently Asked Questions (see related links section) if you have questions concerning the WHO Internship Programme.

If you have additional questions, please write to: interns@who.int.