Internships and Young Professional Programme

The WTO Secretariat maintains a variety of internship programmes for post-graduate students and a Young Professional Programme for professionals whose nationalities are under-represented at the WTO. Internship selections are based on merit, taking account of eligibility criteria, academic qualifications and expertise.

There are three internship programmes at the WTO. (1) The WTO Internship Programme is open to post-graduate students from all WTO members and countries or customs territories engaged in accession negotiations; (2) The China LDC and Accessions Programme (also known as the China WTO Accession Internship Programme); and (3) the WTO Support Programme for Doctoral Studies. Both (2) and (3) are reserved for post-graduate students from developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs).  

In 2016, the WTO launched the Young Professional Programme (YPP). The first cohort of young professionals started their 12-month assignments in January 2017. The internship programmes and the YPP are both designed to increase the diversity of the WTO.

More information about each programme is provided below:

WTO Internship Programme

The WTO Internship Programme provides an opportunity for post-graduate students from WTO member and observer countries to gain valuable experience from working at the WTO.

​General assignments

​ Assignments given to interns are intended to enhance the individual's understanding of the WTO and of trade policy more generally. However, internships include opportunities in other specialist areas, such as finance, human resources, language services, IT and communications. The division to which the intern is assigned determines the precise nature of the work to be undertaken. Many interns work in the following areas:

  • Trade law
  • Economics
  • Statistics
  • Trade policy
  • Languages
  • Administration (procurement, finance, human resources)
  • Information, communication and external relations
  • Information management  

Information about the responsibilities of the WTO's  divisions is available here.

Duration

Up to a maximum of six months.

Remuneration

Interns receive a daily allowance of CHF 60 (including week-ends and official holidays falling within the selected period). Travel expenses to and from Geneva cannot be paid by the WTO, and such travel is not covered by the Organization's insurance.

Medical health insurance coverage is mandatory for participants in internships at the WTO. Individuals can either take out their own insurance or opt to be insured by the WTO's insurance arrangement, which costs approximately USD 36.62 per month. This can be arranged by the HR Division on the intern's first day of work.

Eligibility

A candidate must:

  • be a national of a WTO member state or a country or customs territory engaged in accession negotiations
  • have completed his/her undergraduate studies in a relevant discipline and have completed at least one year of his/her postgraduate studies
  • be at least 21 years old and a maximum of 30 years old during the internship.

How to apply

Candidates should submit their applications through the WTO e-Recruitment website and only candidates selected for interview are contacted. The system provides instructions for online application procedures. A roster of suitable candidates is maintained from which interns are selected. Suitable applications are maintained on the roster for one year.
Intake to the WTO Internship Programme is on an ongoing basis, with no specific recruitment period. However, there may be specific vacancy notices for internship positions requiring particular qualifications and skillsets published on the WTO's e-Recruitment website.

Additional information

The granting of an internship does not entail the right to a vacancy in another part of the Secretariat. Interns may nevertheless apply for any external vacancies.

China's LDCs and Accessions Programme

China's LDCs and Accessions Programme, sponsored by the Government of China, aims to help recent graduates and young professionals from least-developed countries (LDCs) and developing countries gain work experience at the WTO. The Accessions Division, in close coordination with the Human Resources Division, manages the implementation of the programme.  The Accessions Division and the Government of China meet annually to review the operation and implementation of the programme.

General functions

Interns under this programme are placed in the Accessions Division of the WTO. The work of this division is to facilitate the negotiations between WTO members and countries/customs territories seeking to join the WTO.

Assignments given to interns are intended to enhance their understanding of trade law, economics and trade policies more generally. The needs of the division are balanced with the capacity-building needs of the interns. Under the supervision of a professional staff member, interns are expected to assist the division in its regular work.

Duration

Up to 10 months.

Remuneration and benefits

Interns under the programme receive a daily allowance of CHF 60 (including weekends and official holidays that occur within the selected periods).  In addition, travel expenses (economy class air fare) to and from Geneva is covered by the WTO.

Medical health insurance coverage is mandatory for participants in internships at the WTO. Individuals can either take out their own insurance, or opt to be insured by the WTO's insurance arrangement, which costs approximately 36.62 US dollars per month. This can be arranged by the HR Division on the intern's first day of work .

Eligibility

A candidate must:

  • be a national of a WTO member state or a country or customs territory engaged in accession negotiations
  • be a national of a least-developed country (LDC) or developing country
  • have completed his/her undergraduate studies in a relevant discipline (e.g. economics, law, political science, international relations), and have completed at least one year of his/her postgraduate studies
  • be no older than 30.

How to apply

Interested candidates, who meet the above criteria, should complete two steps for their application to be considered: 

Complete a general internship application form on the WTO e-Recruitment website

Send a separate email to ChinaProgramme@wto.org to indicate your interest in the China WTO Accessions Internship Programme, with a copy of the online application form attached to the e-mail.

There is no opening or closing date for applications.  Internships may be offered at any time during the year.  A maximum of five internship positions are available per year.

Additional Information

​The granting of an internship does not entail the right to a vacancy in another part of the Secretariat. Interns may nevertheless apply for any external vacancies.

Who has participated so far? Please click here to see the complete list of Accession Internship Programme “Alumni”, and read about their experiences.

WTO Support Programme for Doctoral Studies

The WTO Support Programme for Doctoral Studies (also known as the PhD Internship Programme) aims to support the development of academic expertise on WTO issues in developing countries. The WTO Secretariat invites doctoral students from developing countries to conduct research at the WTO and provides them with mentoring/advice in close collaboration with the students' academic supervisors.

General functions

Participants in the PhD Internship Programme are expected to advance their doctoral thesis during their time at the WTO, taking advantage of access to WTO facilities and information as well as opportunities for interaction with the general trade policy community. They are not expected to undertake assignments on behalf of the WTO Secretariat. A mentor is allocated to the doctoral student for the duration of his/her internship. The role of the mentor is to provide the student with advice, as required, in close collaboration with the student's academic supervisors. Before the end of the PhD Internship Programme, the participant is required to give a seminar on his/her work.

Duration

From three to six months.

Remuneration and benefits

Interns under the PhD Internship Programme receive a daily allowance of CHF 60 (including weekends and official holidays falling within the selected period). In addition, travel expenses (economy class air fare) to and from Geneva is covered by the WTO.

Medical health insurance coverage is mandatory for participants in internships at the WTO. Individuals can either take out their own insurance, or opt to be insured by the WTO's arrangement, which costs approximately 36.62 US dollars per month. This can be arranged by the HR Division on the intern's first day of work.

Eligibility

A candidate must:

  • be a national of a WTO member state or a country or customs territory engaged in accession negotiations
  • be a national of a least-developed country (LDC) or a developing country
  • undertake a PhD or equivalent in economics, law, international relations or in a closely related WTO discipline
  • be in the final stage of his/her PhD and therefore at the writing-up stage (75% minimum completion) of the thesis
  • work in one of the three official languages of the WTO, i.e. English, French and Spanish.

How to apply

Candidates who wish to participate in the WTO Support Programme for Doctoral Studies should refer to the

Document for further details:

https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/reser_e/doctoralstudies.pdf

Additional information

The granting of an internship does not entail the right to a vacancy in another part of the Secretariat. Interns may nevertheless apply for external vacancies.

Young Professional Programme

The WTO Young Professional Programme is an opportunity for qualified young professionals from developing and least-developed countries that are members of the WTO to enhance their knowledge regarding WTO and international trade issues. The programme aims to attract professionals from under-represented countries who can consequently improve their chances of being recruited by the WTO and/or other regional and international organizations. The Programme is part of the Secretariat's efforts to increase diversity and broaden the representation of the membership.

General functions

The selected young professionals are allocated to a specific division of the WTO Secretariat in accordance with the needs and priorities of the organization and based on the areas of interest of the young professional. The areas of work may include accessions, agriculture, dispute settlement, intellectual property rights, market access, rules, trade and development, trade and environment, trade in services and investment, trade facilitation, trade policy analysis and trade-related technical assistance.

Duration

One year without possibility of extension.

Remuneration and benefits

Participants under the programme receive a monthly salary of CHF 3,500. The WTO also provides appropriate medical cover and travel costs.

Eligibility

A candidate must:

  • be a national of a WTO member state
  • have an advanced university degree in law, economics, and other international trade-related subjects relevant to WTO work
  • have a minimum of two years' relevant experience
  • demonstrate a high level of interest in international trade and commitment to WTO-related work
  • be fluent in English. A good working knowledge of one of the WTO's other official languages, French or Spanish, would be an advantage
  • be 32 years of age or younger at the expected start date of the YPP, if selected.

Preference is given to nationals from WTO members without any representation at the professional level in the Secretariat.  A list of unrepresented WTO members will be provided when the request for applicants is posted. 

How to apply

The request for applications for the Young Professionals Programme is published each year on the WTO e-Recruitment website. The system provides instructions for online application procedures. Applicants must submit a letter of motivation along with the completed online application.

Additional information

Being a young professional does not entail the right to a vacancy in another part of the Secretariat. Young professionals may nevertheless apply for external vacancies.