United Nations Internship Experience

United Nations building and the countries flags outside of it.

Do you want to use your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree to have a large-scale positive impact on society? Are you interested in macro-level social work, focusing on how policies drive meaningful change in the United States and around the world? 

As a student enrolled in GSS’s MSW on-campus program at the Lincoln Center or Westchester campuses, you have the opportunity to study global policy and learn from the world’s top social work leaders through field placement in collaboration with the United Nations.


Hear Linda's Experience

Passionate about policy, Linda Levin, GSS '22, served as an intern with the United Nations for her field placement. Hear how the experience enhanced her MSW experience, and why students interested in policy outcomes should consider an internship with the U.N.

Boost Your Resume + Professional Career Through the U.N. — While Acting as a Global Force for Good

In 2012, Fordham University became a non-governmental organization (NGO) associated with The United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC) Civil Society Unit. Through this partnership, GSS offers advanced year MSW students the chance to participate as representatives of associated NGOs in official United Nations events and briefings. 

Through this unique field placement, students will learn the skills and knowledge to enhance their professional development through three major activities:

  • Participating, organizing, and leading meetings and webinars in conjunction with the UN and represented NGOs
  • Preparing and delivering presentations at major UN and social work conferences such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women,  IFSW UN Student conference, Fordham Institute for Women and Girls, the New York State Social Work Education Association, and the Eastern Psychological Association
  • Opportunities to write professionally, including technical reports, as well as co-authoring book chapters and other articles in collaboration with GSS faculty, administration, and alumni

With input from the program director, each student develops a unique plan based on individual interests and skills for this UN field placement experience.Thursdays are the major day for UN NGO meetings. Therefore, students must be able to reserve that day for the UN field placement.  The other eight (8) hours required for GSS field placements can take place on different days, and students with flexible schedules are best able to attend UN meetings at different times.

What You Need to Succeed in the Fordham GSS/UN Internship Program

Each year, a handful of GSS students are selected to participate in the UN field education program. With thousands of students enrolling in the MSW program each year, you’ll need to know how to stand out. 

Here are some of the best ways to set yourself up for success.

Maintain Great Writing, Oral, and Technology Skills 

If you are selected for this placement, you will be doing a lot of writing and speaking in a professional atmosphere. In order to show up as your best self for committee meetings, international events, and publishing professional academic articles and book chapters, take the time to ensure your written and verbal communication skills are polished and effective. 

Additionally, GSS students can schedule an appointment with Fordham’s Writing Center, which also offers tips and tricks on how to write for academic success. We also recommend plug-ins such as Grammarly to help you with all forms of written communication.

Referral From the GSS Field Department

As an advanced standing MSW student, you know the importance field education plays in a social worker’s education, and in their future success within the profession. Field work gives you the opportunity to learn from those representing the front line of social work.

Therefore it’s important to connect with the GSS Field Education Department to discuss the UN field education program first to see if it fits within your career goals. If the field department concludes you’d be a match for the UN placement, they will refer you to Dr. Elaine Congress, program director. 

UN Questionnaire and Interview

The next step in the application process for students is to complete the GSS/UN questionnaire that will address your past experience, time availability, and current interest in the field placement. Let us know about the difference you want to make in the world. What are some prior roles you’ve held that have transferable skills into this program? 

Essentially, we want to see your passion and desire to be a changemaker.

At this point, you are in good shape. If the program director deems you eligible for the program, you will be asked to attend a brief interview as the last step of the application process. 

Want to make sure you nail that interview (as well as all your future interviews as a social worker)? Check out this webpage on interview tips.

Onward to United Nations Success!

As a GSS student in the UN field placement program, you are serving not only as a representative of GSS, but for social workers everywhere — on a global scale. 

We say this not to intimidate you, but to acknowledge what an incredible opportunity this could be for your professional and personal growth. If you are someone who welcomes engaging in new activities and interacting in a positive way with people from many different cultural, ethnic, professional, and religious backgrounds, please consider speaking to our field education department about this opportunity!