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GAO Graduate Student Trainee (Interdisciplinary)


The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. We accomplish our mission by providing objective and reliable information and analysis to the Congress, to federal agencies, and to the public, and recommending improvements, when appropriate, on a wide variety of issues to make government work better.

This vacancy is for Summer internship positions in GAO's Innovation Lab. The anticipated start dates begin in May 2024


As a GAO intern, you will assist GAO analysts and specialists in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (including Computer Science) in developing innovative analytical techniques for carrying out audits and evaluations, in planning and conducting in-depth reviews of federal programs, in collecting and analyzing appropriate data, and in presenting information (including developmental prototypes) both orally and in writing to diverse audiences.

Specific duties include:

  • Completes assignments spanning functional areas designed to provide a broad experience in mathematics, data science, computer science, or statistics. Coordinates with higher-level professional staff and receives on-the- job instruction/training.
  • Participates in well-defined portions of the lifecycle of a data science prototype or analysis. Begins learning project management techniques.
  • Conducts well-structured evaluations of methods to support valid and appropriate use in the creation of prototypes or analyses.
  • Recommends modifications to approaches to better meet requirements.
  • Assists senior staff to present information and prototypes in meetings with GAO and agency officials, as part of the team working on the project.
  • Learn and use appropriate tools for assignments. Potential tools could include R or Python.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Conditions of Employment

You must be a U.S. Citizen.
Selective Service registration if you are a male born after Dec. 31, 1959. Visit
You will be subject to a background investigation/ suitability determination.
Student must work a minimum of 400 hours, not to exceed a total of 640 hours.
You must be currently enrolled and good standing in an accredited degree program throughout the duration of the internship.



All qualification requirements must be met by the start of the internship.

To qualify for the GS-7 level you MUST be enrolled in a graduate or equivalent degree seeking program majoring in: Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, Data Science or another field directly related to the position; AND meet one of the following criteria:

  1. You must have completed between 18 to 35 semester hours or 27 to 53 quarter hours of graduate level education; OR
  2. You must possess a Bachelor's degree with Superior Academic Achievement (defined below).

Superior Academic Achievement: Superior academic achievement (SAA) recognizes individuals who have achieved superior academic standing. S.A.A. is based on (1) class standing, (2) grade-point average, or (3) honor society membership. Class standing -- Applicants must be in the upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision, such as the College of Liberal Arts or the School of Business Administration, based on completed courses. Grade-point average (G.P.A.) - Applicants must have a grade-point average of: a 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B" or better) as recorded on their official transcript, or as computed based on 4 years of education, or as computed based on courses completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum; or 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B+" or better) based on the average of the required courses completed in the major field or the required courses in the major field completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum.

To qualify for the GS-9 level you MUST be enrolled in a graduate or equivalent degree seeking program majoring in: Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, Data Science or field directly related to the position; AND meet one of the following criteria:

  1. You must have completed 36 or more semester hours or 54 or more quarter hours of graduate level education; OR
  2. You must possess a Master's Degree or equivalent Graduate Degree.

NOTE: You must be a current student enrolled in a graduate program seeking a degree from an accredited educational institution on a full or half-time basis. If at any point during the internship (and for any reason) your status as a student changes to that of a non-student, your internship will be terminated.


All applicants must submit their academic transcripts in order to be eligible. The transcripts may be unofficial or official and must show your status as a student, as well as support your educational claim.

FOREIGN EDUCATION: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, visit:

Additional information

This position is not in the bargaining unit.

This position does not have promotion potential.

Salaries will be set at the appropriate grade at step 1:
GS-7: $26.80 per hour
GS-9: $32.78 per hour

Appointments for student intern positions are nonpermanent and generally last from 10 to 16 weeks. Student interns may have an opportunity for a permanent or term position based on a successful intern experience (completion of a minimum of 400 hours of work, not to exceed a total of 640 hours) and successful completion of degree requirements. The ability to convert to a permanent or term appointment with a minimum 400 hours of work experience is contingent upon budgetary conditions and staffing needs at the time of eligibility.

Applicants who are selected for this position will be required to provide an official transcript on the day of your orientation or within 3 business days after orientation. This transcript must show that you meet the education requirements for the GS-7 or GS-9 grade level, and that you are currently enrolled through at least August 2024. Failure to meet the requirements or provide the transcript will result in termination of your internship.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

The questionnaire will assess your qualifications for the job. If you meet all of the qualification requirements, your application will be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veteran's preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. All applicants will be rated based on their responses to the assessment questions and the essay question. Please make sure that your responses to the assessment questions are supported in your resume. Follow all instructions carefully as incomplete answers, errors, or omissions may affect your rating. Your rating will be invalid if you fail to include a narrative reply to any assessment question(s) that requires further explanation or your reply is "see resume."

Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics):

  • Computer Skills
  • Oral Communication
  • Self-Management
  • Teamwork
  • Technical Competency


Candidates may also be asked to participate in a data analysis exercise and presentation as part of the selection process.

Veterans' preference applies to this vacancy. The Category Rating Process does not add veterans' preference points or apply the "rule of three" but protects the rights of Veterans by placing them ahead of non-preference eligibles within each quality category. For more information regarding veterans' preference please visit

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Required Documents

To apply for this position, you must submit a complete Application Package which includes:

Resume showing relevant experience (cover letter optional). Your resume must show the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment.

All applicants MUST submit college or university graduate and/or undergraduate transcripts (official or unofficial) that show degree conferral and/or support semester/quarter hours completed as well as proof of current enrollment.

  • If you are completing your first graduate degree and have been accepted into a graduate program to pursue a 2nd graduate degree and do not yet have a transcript, you must submit proof of acceptance/enrollment into your new graduate program, along with the transcripts from your current graduate program.

Current proof of enrollment (i.e., transcript showing coursework through Spring 2024, copy of registered courses for Spring 2024 or Summer 2024 (if available) OR a letter from school registrar's office confirming enrollment status for the duration of the internship). Note, a letter of acceptance does not qualify as proof of enrollment.

Veterans' Preference documentation, if applicable (e.g., DD-214 Member Copy 4 showing type of discharge/character of service, SF-15 Form and related documentation, VA letter, etc.)