WHO Internship Programme
For future leaders in public health
A competent and dynamic health workforce at the heart of each health system is essential to advance global health goals. Countries need a pool of health professionals trained and exposed to the systems and processes in the health sector and who understand how stakeholders interact within the international health arena.
WHO, as the leader in global public health issues, is committed to building a diverse pool of future leaders in public health. WHO’s Internship Programme offers a wide range of opportunities for students and recent graduates to gain insight into the technical and administrative programmes of WHO and enrich their knowledge and experience in various areas, thereby contributing to the advancement of public health.
What are the objectives?
- Provide a framework for assigning eligible students from diverse academic backgrounds to WHO programmes where their educational experience can be enhanced through capacity building opportunities.
- Provide an opportunity for WHO programmes to benefit from engagement from students specializing in various fields related to technical and administrative programmes of WHO.
- WHO offers internships in technical areas and administrative programmes such as communication, external relations or human resources.
Who is eligible for an internship?
Age: You are at least twenty years of age on the date of application.
Education: You are enrolled in a course of study at a university or equivalent institution leading to a formal qualification (undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate), in a public health, medical or social field related to the technical work of WHO, or in a management, administrative, communications, or external relations-related field. Applicants who have already completed a qualification may also qualify for consideration, if they apply to the internship within six months following the completion of the formal qualification. You have completed three years of full-time studies at a university or equivalent institution prior to starting (bachelor’s level or equivalent) the internship.
Languages: You are fluent at least in one of the working languages of the office of assignment.
Family relation: You are not related to a WHO staff member (e.g., son/daughter, brother/sister, or mother/father).
Nationality: You hold a valid passport of a WHO Member State.
Other: You have not previously participated in WHO’s Internship Programme.
How to apply?
We invite candidates from across the world to apply to the WHO Global Internship Programme.
All applications must be made through the internship position vacancy notices posted on the WHO Careers site using the WHO online recruitment system (Stellis). There is no possibility to apply for an internship at WHO outside Stellis. More information on the recruitment process can be found in the FAQs section.
Internship positions are available in various areas of work and in different organizational locations (regional offices, country offices or headquarters). As internship opportunities are posted on a continuous basis, with each containing different requirements and application deadlines, we encourage you to check the internship page regularly for new opportunities.
COVID-19: Important update on application process
The WHO Internship Programme remains suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please continue to monitor the Internship Vacancies page for the latest information.
We thank students for their understanding and encourage everyone to stay safe, continue to practice social distancing and protection measures, and to remain vigilant for themselves and those around them.
Benefits of the WHO Internship Programme
WHO provides all interns with medical and accident insurance coverage during the duration of the internship period. Insurance coverage before the start date of the internship and after the end date of the internship, including travel to and from the duty station location, is the sole personal and financial responsibility of the individual intern.
As of January 2020, WHO provides living allowance to eligible selected interns who need financial support. All interns must complete a legal Declaration of Interests form. This form requires intern candidates to declare any relevant financial disclosures, including any financial support in the form of grants bursaries, scholarships, etc. Based on the information provided in this form, the intern candidates’ eligibility to receive financial support from WHO will be assessed.
Lunch vouchers may be provided at some duty stations.
Candidate obligations BEFORE an internship offer is extended
- Interns must be available to work full-time for a minimum of six (6) weeks up to a maximum of 24 weeks duration, depending on the needs of the WHO technical unit.
- Interns must provide proof of enrolment in a course of studies or proof of completion of their last qualification.
- Interns must disclose any circumstances that could give rise to a potential conflict of interest related to the subject of the activity in which they will be involved during their assignment (Declaration of Interest) including financial support for the internship.
- Interns must provide the completed WHO medical certificate of fitness for work form prior to the start of their internship.
- Interns are requested not to send any documents until specifically asked to do so.
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 non-staff position within WHO for a period of three months following the end of their internship. However, no such restriction will apply to temporary or longer-term staff positions if the vacancy has been advertised and a competitive process completed. Any employment with WHO shall be subject to established recruitment and selection procedures. Interns and former interns are free to apply as external candidates to any vacant positions open to external candidates and for which they are qualified.
WHO does not sign any agreements, proposed or required by a sponsor, university or equivalent institution.
WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: http://www.whed.net/. Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
Please note that internships at WHO are very competitive and only a small number of applicants will be selected every year. Only successful candidates will be contacted. If not selected, you may apply again to other posted internship positions if you are still interested and if you meet the eligibility criteria.
For internships in Geneva, Switzerland
An important reminder: Although WHO is now providing a living allowance to eligible interns (please see the exact amount in the vacancy notices), be aware that living in Geneva is expensive and finding accommodation can be challenging.