United Nations University

The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations (UN). It bridges the academic world and the UN system. Its goal is to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it aims at applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 and is an autonomous organ of the UN General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.


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Internship Application Procedure

The application process is conducted in two stages. Instructions for each stage are detailed below. In principle, a candidate may submit an application at any time indicating the preferred working area or by responding to a specific internship vacancy announcement of UNU-EHS.

Stage 1

The first stage of the application process is designed to measure the applicant’s motivation and background and assess how the applicant’s qualifications meet the criteria for selection. Stage 1 requires submission of the documents listed below:

  • Application form. Download and complete the application form. The form may be completed using MS Word or printed and filled in by hand

  • Cover letter. Address your letter to the attention of the Internship Coordinator, United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). Your cover letter should include the following:

    • your motivations for applying to the programme

    • how you feel you may contribute to the work being done at UNU-EHS

    • how this programme relates to your future career goals.

  • Curriculum Vitae. Provide detailed descriptions of education history, work history and leadership or extracurricular activities. Use your CV to present, in further detail, the education and work history listed in the application form.

  • Two letters of recommendation. Arrange for two letters of recommendation from referees who are familiar with your character and who have agreed to write a recommendation on your behalf. UNU reserves the right to contact your referees. Certain candidates may have difficulty obtaining academic references and it may be more appropriate to get references from professionals or supervisors. Of the two referees issuing letters of recommendation, it is expected that at least one is a professor acquainted with your academic abilities. Referees should not be family members or friends. 

  • Language proficiency. Applicants must provide proof of fluency in English (e.g., TOEL, IELTS or TOEIC reports) if they do not meet either of the two following criteria: the applicant’s native language is English, or the applicant is enrolled in a (under-) graduate programme with English as the medium of instruction.

How to Submit

All documents listed above should be submitted together by the applicant in one of the following methods:

  • For electronic submissions, e-mail to the Internship Coordinator of the Vice Rectorate at    (with the subject line “Internship Application – (Applicant’s Name)”). Attach a scanned copy of the signed and dated application form, your cover letter, CV, reference letters and language certification (where applicable).

  • For hard copy submissions, mail documents to the following address: United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Internship Coordinator, Hermann-Ehlers-Strasse 10, 53113 Bonn, Germany.  

Stage 2

The second stage consists of a face-to-face (where applicable), telephone or Skype interview which will be arranged in advance with each short-listed applicant. The purpose of the interview is to help the Internship Committee better understand the applicant’s motivations, expectations, and goals vis-à-vis participation in the Internship Programme at UNU-EHS. The interview will also assess the applicant’s communication skills, interpersonal skills and proficiency in English. Further details and an appointment schedule will be provided at the closing of Stage 2 by the Internship Coordinator.


Successful applicants will be required to sign an Internship Agreement Form, which will act as the working contract between the intern and UNU-EHS for the duration of the internship. This form will be mailed to those selected to join the programme. A signed and dated form must be returned to the Internship Coordinator in order for the application to be complete. Once completed, selected applicants residing outside of Europe will begin their application for a German visa. See the FAQ visa section for details on this procedure.