Internships

CBO is no longer accepting applications for its 2021 Summer Internship Program. The deadline to apply was February 26, 2021. We will be reviewing applications throughout March and anticipate finalizing offers the first week of April 2021. An email will be sent to all candidates when selections are complete.

Meet CBO's 2020 Interns

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The George Washington University Ph.D., Economics

During my internship, I created an interindustry model to accurately map the sectoral effects of legislation and economic shocks. Working in the Macroeconomic Analysis Division gave me the opportunity to work with leading forecasters and add to the suite of models that CBO uses. From the beginning, I felt that I was welcome and that other members of the division valued my opinions. My manager was there when needed but also gave me the freedom to build the model as I saw fit. Overall, I had a great experience at CBO and would recommend it to anyone looking for a challenging and rewarding internship.

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The George Washington University Master’s, Applied Economics

My internship in the Budget Analysis Division focused on the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance program and creating a model to predict subsidy rates under various economic conditions. The impact of that work was realized almost immediately, as CBO faced the challenge of producing baseline budget estimates in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout. I appreciated the autonomy that I was given as I explored the topic and contributed ideas for a final project. Above all, I benefited from the diverse professional and personal perspectives of my CBO colleagues, who were eager both to help with technical questions and to give advice about achieving my career goals.

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University of North Carolina at Greensboro B.S., Accounting and Finance

Through my internship with CBO's Office of Financial Management, I have gained valuable skills related to accounting and finance. I processed invoices, made updates to CBO's budget, and conducted internal control testing. I also learned how CBO creates its budget and presents it to the Congress. This internship has given me knowledge and tools to succeed professionally in the future.

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University of Illinois at Chicago Ph.D., Applied Economics

As a summer associate, I worked in the Tax Analysis Division on a distributional analysis of consumption taxes. The goal of my project was to estimate bequests and inheritances in order to provide insight into how taxes can affect households differently across the income distribution. I developed and improved a broad range of skills, including technical, analytical, and presentation skills that will be incredibly beneficial for my academic and professional future. I also attended seminars and presentations that introduced me to the inner workings of CBO’s divisions and of other federal agencies. My experience at CBO provided me with a unique and valuable opportunity to learn about the different factors that influence federal policymaking and the importance of nonpartisan policy analysis.

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University of Oregon Ph.D., Economics

Because of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the summer of 2020 was an exciting time to study financial crises. During my internship at CBO, I worked with the Financial Analysis Division to estimate future bank failures. I was exposed to several methods for examining bank failures, including machine learning techniques and applications using market data, and I had opportunities to communicate with experts at CBO and other agencies about our financial system and struggles that it may undergo in the future. I also met with analysts in CBO’s Budget Analysis Division to discuss estimates of bank failure rates that could affect CBO’s budget projections. My colleagues were always encouraging, and as a summer associate, I was able to realize my contribution to the team.

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University of Maryland at College Park Ph.D., Economics

During my internship, I imputed defined benefit pensions to better describe the distribution of wealth among groups in the United States. I learned a lot about retirement, savings, and the various methods used to estimate the present value of a pension plan. My coworkers supported me while letting me make meaningful contributions to the analysis. Though I enjoyed working on the project, the best part of the internship was how generous everyone was with their time and the great conversations I had about CBO, research, and my future career.

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University of Baltimore Master’s, Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Despite the challenges that the pandemic has presented to conducting business as usual, CBO has conducted a wonderful virtual internship program. My experience as a semester associate in the Human Resources Office has been rewarding. I have worked on numerous challenging projects that have taught me lessons that I will use throughout my career. Most notably, I worked on improving the materials that CBO distributes to new employees and on implementing a new benefit law. My supervisor and coworkers provided meaningful feedback that helped me enhance vital skills. I am confident that the internship left me better prepared for my future job.

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Towson University Master’s, Communication Management

Interning at CBO has given me the opportunity to further develop my professional skills, including skills related to media relations and public affairs. I have had the opportunity to apply the theories and concepts that I learned in my graduate program to projects that I worked on to support CBO’s communications team, and I have received guidance that has given me career-growth opportunities. This rewarding experience has prepared me well for my career.

CBO’s 2020 Internships (PDF)
CBO’s 2020 Internships PDF

CBO is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity. CBO encourages women, minorities, people with disabilities, and veterans to apply.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the application process?

All applications must be submitted online by the application deadline. Only complete applications will be considered. When you apply:

  • Submit your cover letter and resume
  • Upload a transcript (unofficial transcripts are acceptable)
  • Contact information for two references

What are the qualifications for the summer internship program?

You should:

  • be pursuing a graduate degree in economics, public policy, health policy, finance, or a related field
  • have solid writing skills and the ability communicate clearly and concisely
  • have exceptional interpersonal and analytical skills
  • be familiar with computer programming, statistics, econometrics, or other quantitative methods

Often, CBO also seeks summer interns in other disciplines, such as budget and financial management, information technology, communications, and human resources. Qualifications and deadlines for those positions differ.


Can noncitizens apply?

CBO may employ individuals who are not U.S. citizens if they are permanent residents of the United States who are seeking citizenship, as outlined in 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(3)(B). Please review the citizenship requirements or contact CBO Human Resources at careers@cbo.gov to determine employment eligibility before submitting an application.


How does CBO select interns?

CBO selects interns on the basis of:

  • academic achievement
  • relevance of your academic training to CBO's work
  • relevant work experience


When are interns selected?

Applications are reviewed in March and selections are completed by the first week in April. We inform all candidates to whom we are unable to extend an internship by email.


What do CBO interns do?

In addition to contributing to CBO’s analysis in one of CBO’s divisions, interns participate in an educational program that includes briefings on the work that we do and the way we do it. CBO's interns are also afforded networking opportunities with budget and policy professionals.


What projects have CBO interns worked on?

Recent CBO interns have contributed to the following cost estimates and publications:


How can I prepare for a CBO internship?

Previous interns describe the following experiences and skills as valuable in preparing for their CBO internships:

  • course work in economics, public finance, public budgeting, microeconomics, econometrics, and public health
  • projects involving SAS (or other statistical programs) and large data sets
  • independent research
  • strong writing skills
  • interest in understanding the federal budget process
  • other policy internships and participation in student government


Does CBO accept interns for the fall or spring semesters?

Only occasionally does CBO offer internships during the academic year. You can register to receive internship job alerts in the event that a fall or spring semester opportunity becomes available.


Does CBO offer internships for individuals who have already completed their degree program(s)?

CBO accepts applications from students currently enrolled in a degree seeking program. Applicants who have already completed their education are encouraged to visit the www.cbo.gov/careers for a listing of our positions.