Law + Government

Serve the Public Good

icon of justice scales for careers in law + government

Are you driven to defend or change our laws? You’re not alone.

The numbers don’t lie when it comes to the amount of people who work in areas of Law + Government. Over 22 million people, or 16.7% of the U.S. workforce, work in federal, state, and local governments, over 1.3 million lawyers practice within the United States, and close to 300,000 individuals work as paralegals or legal assistants. 

With so many people working together to build society at its core, opportunities are prime for Gauchos looking to make a difference. Careers in Law + Government share some similarities and a few key differences--learn how you can join the movement of public servants and prepare yourself for a successful future.



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Gain Experience: FBI and CIA

For complete information on internships, student jobs, research opportunities, extracurriculars, and more, review our starter tips to Gain Experience in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.


There are a variety of ways to gain experience that prepares you for roles in the FBI or CIA, however, these experiences depend greatly on each career path within the organization. Review information for the specialty area(s) that interest you, as gaining experience related to your field of interest is very beneficial for working in a national security agency.


Types of Experience

Experiential opportunities to prepare for the FBI or CIA include both paid and unpaid opportunities. Click below to see a few initial recommendations.

Knowledge of public safety can be a helpful asset for career paths in the FBI and CIA, particularly if you are pursuing an area of protective services. You can gain this experience at UCSB by becoming a Student Safety Partner (SSP).

Like the FBI and CIA, police departments also feature specialty areas that are not limited to becoming a police officer. Both entities work with local law enforcement on projects and task forces. The Santa Barbara Police Department offers a variety of programs to gain exposure in the field and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office offers a Citizen's Academy.

Both the FBI and CIA have student programs, which includes internships or employment after graduation. Due to the lengthy nature of getting hired, deadlines are usually 12 months in advance of the start date.

FBI Honors Internship Program

The FBI Honors Internship Program is a ten-week paid internship for undergraduate and graduate students. This program is open to individuals studying areas such as accounting, STEM, English, film, finance, foreign languages, journalism, marketing, public relations, and visual arts. You must have a 3.0 GPA at the time of your application and through the internship. Applications open in the August prior to the next summer's program dates. 

CIA Undergraduate Internships

The paid CIA Undergraduate Internships are available for undergraduate students and represent five of the six functional categories within the CIA:

  • Analysis: Learn how information is studied and evaluated to provide insights that help inform decisions.
  • Clandestine: Discover how dedicated professionals use their technical and specialized skills to inform key decisions within the agency.
  • STEM: Utilize specialized knowledge to help tackle challenging and complex technical problems.
  • Enterprise & Support: Focus on specific areas that interest you, then provide infrastructure to support the Agency and its mission.
  • Foreign Language: Witness how language professionals contribute to national security.

For internships in all of these areas, the CIA emphasizes the importance of submitting your application 12 months prior to the position's start date, so be sure to plan ahead.

Many FBI and CIA positions benefit from obtaining prior knowledge of politics or government. To gain experience within the government sector, we encourage you to participate in the Capital Internship Program.

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