United Nations Development Programme

Outline of the organisation

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN's global development network, an organisation advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP is on the ground in 170 countries and territories, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. UNDP's network links and coordinates global and national efforts to help reach the Sustainable Development Goals. UNDP focuses on helping countries build and share solutions to the challenges of democratic governance, poverty reduction, crisis prevention and recovery, environment and energy and HIV/AIDS.

Opportunities for involvement in UNDP exist through the UN Volunteers Programme, the Internship Programme or the Junior Professional Officers Programme (NOTE: Australia is not a sponsor of this Programme).

Positions available

(1) Internship Programme

Internships offer a small group of outstanding graduate-level students the opportunity to acquire direct exposure to UNDP’s work. They are designed to complement development-oriented studies with practical experience in various aspects of multilateral technical cooperation, but also complements other international studies, including law.

Internships can take place in a UNDP country office or regional centre or at the organisation’s Headquarters in New York. Assignments vary greatly in terms of content. Every attempt is made to match the interests of the intern with the needs of the organisation.

Internship assignments vary in length according to the availability and academic requirements of the intern, as well as the needs of UNDP. Assignments are available on a part-time and full-time basis throughout the year. All internship opportunities are unpaid.


Interns are selected on a competitive basis. The following are minimum qualifications:

  • be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher);
  • be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent); or
  • have graduated with a university degree (as defined in the above to criteria) and, if selected, must start the internship within one-year of graduation.

As an applicant, you should be able to demonstrate an interest in the field of development and respect the principles of the United Nations Charter and UNDP's mission. The desire to work with and gain the confidence and respect of people with different language, national and cultural backgrounds is an essential part of working in the UN system. You should also be interested in global mobility, as well as adaptability to varied physical and other environments.

Typically, applicants are required to have written and spoken proficiency in at least one, and preferably two of the three working languages used by UNDP: English, French and Spanish. Fluency in Arabic, Portuguese, Russian or Eastern European language is also an asset.

Application process

Selection for the internships is fully decentralised within UNDP. All internships are advertised on UNDP's jobs site.

Further information is available here.