Information about SAMHSA internship application eligibility, application process, selection process, as well as information for the admitted interns.

What is the SAMHSA Internship Program?

The SAMHSA Internship Program is administered by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

The SAMHSA Internship Program 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 support 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. For fifteen weeks (40 hours per week), at the SAMHSA headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, each intern will be able to work under the guidance of a SAMHSA manager in a SAMHSA department whose function closely matches their course of study and field of interest.

Internship Opportunities

By 2020, behavioral health disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability worldwide. 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

Internship Diversity

Building a diverse behavioral health workforce is a top public health priority. The SAMHSA Internship Program is specifically designed to equip college students from populations typically underrepresented in the public health field. Students from these groups are encouraged to apply:

  • Women
  • Veterans
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Asian and Pacific Islanders
  • Students of Hispanic Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities


The SAMHSA Internship Program is available for students interested and experienced in:

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

To qualify for a SAMHSA internship, applicants must:

  • 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 (BA/BS, Masters, JD, MD, or Ph.D.) at an accredited higher education institution. 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
  • Recent graduates may apply if they participate within 12 months of their graduation. Instead of providing a certification of enrollment form, upload a copy of your certificate of graduation or a copy of your conferred degree.

For more Eligibility information, please read the HACU National Internship Program’s Eligibility Requirements.

Application and Selection

Please be prepared to provide the following in your application:

  • Basic demographics
  • Emergency contact
  • Educational background
  • Resume
  • Work history
  • Essay
  • Required documentation download and survey

Please Note: Should you apply and be eligible, you will be considered for all available HACU internships. Should you be interested in specifically working with SAMHSA, you may indicate this in your application essay.

For more Application and Selection information, please visit the HACU National Internship Program’s Selection and Placement page.

Expectations of Interns

SAMHSA strives to maintain a pleasant, efficient, and professional work environment that fosters cooperation and understanding. SAMHSA's workplace policies are designed to create an environment where all staff, including interns and members of the public, are treated respectfully and with consideration.

All staff, including interns, work 40 hours a week, fulfill their assigned tasks, present a professional appearance at all times, and behave in a manner that will not discredit the agency or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSA may drop interns from the program because of security reasons or intern misconduct.

Last Updated: 07/11/2019