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Opportunities for Students

Internships provide students with hands-on skills, practical experience, valuable contacts, and a competitive edge in the job market. The vast majority of graduate students at the Elliott School participate in internships and part-time or full-time jobs while enrolled in the program. Middle East Studies students are encouraged not only to study abroad, but also to work in the region.


Previously, Elliott School students have interned and worked at a wide range of institutions, including:

  • The American Embassy in Morocco
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • The Council on Foreign Relations
  • The Woodrow Wilson Center
  • National Democratic Institute

More information on internships is available through the Elliott School's Office of Career Development.

The Elliott School Graduate Student Career Development office offers a limited number of competitive grants for currently enrolled Elliott School graduate students participating in international non-paid or low-pay internships. Additionally, GWU offers the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund for unpaid U.S. or international internships. Please email for more information.

Research Assistantships (RA)

Each Fall semester, the Institute for Middle East Studies issues a call for M.A. students interested in serving as paid Research Assistants for individual IMES faculty members. The positions are competitive, and the number of spots varies depending on faculty need (typically 3-6 spots). Hours also vary, but average about 10/week. Applicants are matched with faculty members according to a variety of criteria, including similar research interests and previous experience, and are expected to assist the faculty member with his or her current research projects.

Contact: Shana Marshall;

Additional Resources

IMES Opportunities Email: A weekly email containing job and internship postings, local non-GW events, and other opportunities all related to the Middle East.  Fill out the form at the bottom of the page to be added to the mailing list.

GW Handshake: To facilitate the job and internship search for GW students and alumni, the university uses Handshake, the leading career platform at over 400 colleges and more than 200,000 employers, including all Fortune 500 companies. Handshake allows you to discover and favorite jobs at top financial institutions, cutting-edge tech firms, leading design and marketing agencies, nonprofits making the world a better place, and more. You can also receive personal recommendations based on your interests, skills, major, location preferences and search history.

GW Career Services: The Center for Career Services offers career coaching, self-assessment, online resume and cover letter development and assistance with networking and interviewing to help students and alumni discover their talents and interests, decide on an academic major, explore industries and career options and create an effective job search strategy.

Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Academic Year Fellowship:

Incoming MES MA students are encouraged to apply for one of GW's 8 Academic Year FLAS awards, which cover full tuition with a $15,000 annual stipend. All MES MA students are eligible for several unique sources of financial support. These include funds to support one summer of overseas language study in the Middle East (average of $4,500) as well as a research stipend to conduct short-term fieldwork for the MA capstone project (average of $2,500). Contact: Shana Marshall;

The Aramex-GW Student Fund:

This partnership with Aramex provides resources to allow IMES students to volunteer with NGOs based in the Middle East, where they acquire language skills while working side-by-side with regional activists and social entrepreneurs. These NGO internships allow students to participate in the development of their host country, build relationships and experience in the NGO sector, and gain deeper exposure to local culture. Duration of the program is a minimum of six weeks. Grants are typically around $4,500 - $5,000 and availability is restricted to graduate students in the Middle East Studies M.A. program. The announcement for applications is sent in mid-November. Students can stop by the IMES outreach library in Suite 512 to browse materials for study abroad programs. Contact: Shana Marshall;

IMES Language Study Grants:

IMES provides funds to offset the cost of summer language study in several modern Middle East languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Persian, or Kurdish) at an approved overseas language program. Eligible students include undergraduate Middle East Studies majors; graduate students in the Middle East Studies M.A. program; graduate students in the International Affairs M.A. program (with a concentration in the Middle East); and PhD students completing doctoral work related to the Middle East. Grants are typically in the $3,500 range.  The announcement for grant applications is sent in mid-November. Students can stop by the IMES outreach library in Suite 512 to browse materials for study abroad programs. To view a list of IMES suggested language programs, please view this document. Contact: Shana Marshall;

Turkish and Persian Tutoring Stipend:

All Middle East Studies M.A. students using Persian or Turkish for their required proficiency examination are eligible for a $500 stipend to finance private one-on-one tutoring from qualified local instructors.

Contact: Christian Clinton;

Independent Research Funding

TRE (Travel—Research—Engagement) Grants: Open to advanced graduate students and faculty, both GW and external. Awards of up to $3,000 are offered to finance research travel to the Middle East in support of an ongoing academic research project. For more information, visit: Contact: Stephanie Dahle; Capstone Research Support: Students in the MESP M.A. program are provided with a modest grant to finance overseas travel in support of completion of their required Capstone (thesis) project. Contact: Shana Marshall;

External Funding Opportunities

The Office of Graduate Admissions has compiled information regarding many opportunities for applicants and students to help fund their education. Please visit their website for additional information.


IMES hosts numerous events over the course of the year, including book launches, panel discussions, featured speaker talks, and research colloquia. These include events hosted by the Institute’s Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) and the Middle East Policy Forum (MEPF).  For more information on events (past, present, and future), please visit our events page.

Middle East Studies Workshop Series

The workshop series brings in top scholars from across the country to present their works-in-progress. The goal of the series is to provide students of Middle East politics with an opportunity to conduct a meaningful exchange with leading scholars in the field--building a more robust intellectual community at GW. Draft manuscripts are circulated in advance, and one student will be chosen to deliver structured remarks on the manuscript, followed by a free-flowing discussion. Open to advanced IMES M.A. students and PhD students in the Political Science Department. More information on the Middle East Studies Workshop Series can be found by visiting its webpage.

Student Organizations

With the start of the new semester, now is a great time to think about pursuing your interests outside the classroom with one of GW's student organizations, including the Arabic Language Club, GWU Turkish Student Association, The George Washington University Student Branch of the Women in International Security DC Chapter, and many more. Check out all the student groups on the Center for Student Engagement website.  

Suggested Language Programs:

*GW currently does not allow travel to Egypt or Turkey. When this policy changes those programs will be available for funding again*

*Students must confirm that programs are still in operation, conduct their own research on the programs by consulting online reviews, and contact their GW language instructor for any additional guidance on the suitability of the program.*

*For updates on the operations of virtual/remote language programs, visit Please note that the linked list is not maintained by IMES, but can be used as a guide for students to conduct their own research.*

Many of these programs offer online/remote instruction during the summer and the regular academic year 





Domestic Programs (FLAS-only) 

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