Internship opportunities for university students in Ottawa


Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, is not only rich in culture and history but also a vibrant hub for higher education and professional development. University students in Ottawa have a unique advantage due to the city’s strategic location and its mix of governmental, technological, and non-profit organizations. In this blog post, we’ll explore the exciting internship opportunities available for university students across various sectors in Ottawa.

Internship opportunities for university students in Ottawa

1. Government Internships

As the capital city, Ottawa is the heart of Canada’s federal administration. This opens up numerous internship opportunities for students in governmental agencies and departments such as Finance, Defense, Health, and Public Services and Procurement Canada. These internships are great for students studying political science, public administration, economics, and international relations, offering a firsthand experience of federal operations and policymaking.

The Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) is the primary vehicle through which the government offers internships. These roles can range from administrative support to more specialized projects depending on the student’s area of study and interest.


2. Tech and Innovation

The tech sector in Ottawa is booming, with the city often referred to as ‘Silicon Valley North’. High-tech giants like Shopify, IBM, and Adobe have a strong presence in the city, alongside a growing number of startups and SMEs. Internships in software development, IT, cybersecurity, and digital marketing are abundant.

Students studying computer science, engineering, or related fields will find these opportunities particularly beneficial as they provide practical experience and networking opportunities in a competitive industry. Additionally, programs like Invest Ottawa’s Digital Main Street, which helps small businesses grow their online presence, offer internships that can be a great way for students to gain digital skills and business acumen.

3. Healthcare and Research

Ottawa is home to several major hospitals and research institutions, including the Ottawa Hospital and CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario), which conduct groundbreaking medical research. These institutions often offer internships for students in healthcare, life sciences, and biotechnology fields.

These positions can range from clinical research and lab work to administrative roles, offering students a comprehensive view of the healthcare sector and a chance to contribute to important health research initiatives.


4. Non-Profit and International Organizations

The presence of numerous non-profit organizations and international agencies in Ottawa provides a fertile ground for students interested in social work, international development, and environmental sustainability. Organizations such as the United Nations and various NGOs offer internships that allow students to work on global issues from the nation’s capital.

Students can gain experience in project management, fundraising, policy analysis, and more, which are invaluable for those looking to pursue careers in international relations or non-profit management.

5. Arts, Media, and Culture

For those inclined towards the arts, Ottawa does not disappoint. The National Arts Centre, Ottawa Art Gallery, and various media houses offer internships in arts administration, curation, journalism, and public relations. These opportunities allow students to immerse themselves in the cultural sector, contributing to and learning from the thriving arts scene in the city.


How to Secure an Internship in Ottawa

Securing an internship in Ottawa typically involves a combination of academic merit, extracurricular involvement, and proactive networking. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Utilize University Resources: Most universities in Ottawa have career services and co-op programs that help students find and secure internships. Utilize these resources.
  • Network: Attend job fairs, industry meet-ups, and seminars. Connect with professionals via platforms like LinkedIn.
  • Prepare Thoroughly: Tailor your resume and cover letter for each application. Prepare for interviews by researching the company and practicing your answers.

How do I get noticed for an internship?

Standing out from the crowd for an internship requires a two-pronged approach: crafting a strong application package and showcasing your initiative and genuine interest. Here’s how to tackle both:

Crafting a Stellar Application:

  • Tailored Resume and Cover Letter: Don’t underestimate the power of customization! Adapt your resume and cover letter to highlight skills and experiences relevant to the specific internship. Mention projects, coursework, or volunteer work that showcases your abilities.
  • Quantify Your Achievements: Did you manage a social media campaign that increased engagement by 20%? Emphasize the results of your past endeavors using numbers and metrics.
  • Proofread Everything: Typos and grammatical errors create a negative impression. Proofread all application materials meticulously.

Showcasing Your Initiative:

  • Network Strategically: Connect with professionals on LinkedIn working at your dream company or in your field of interest. Conduct informational interviews to learn more about the industry and showcase your passion.
  • Reach Out Directly: Don’t be afraid to express your interest directly. Consider sending a short email to the hiring manager introducing yourself and highlighting your enthusiasm for the internship and the company.
  • Build an Online Presence: A polished LinkedIn profile or even a personal website showcasing your skills and projects can set you apart.

Remember, a genuine interest and enthusiasm for the company and the internship go a long way. During interviews, ask thoughtful questions and express your eagerness to learn and contribute. By combining a strong application with proactive networking and initiative, you’ll increase your chances of landing that coveted internship.

Where is the best place for students to find out about internship opportunities?

There isn’t a single “best” place, but there are a number of great resources students can use to find internship opportunities. Here are a few options, each with its own strengths:

  • Online Job Boards:

    • General boards like Indeed: indeed.com and Glassdoor: glassdoor.com have internship listings alongside regular jobs.
    • Platforms like Internshala: internshala.com and InternJobs: internjobs.com specialize in internships and often allow filtering by field and location.
  • LinkedIn: This professional networking site is a great way to connect with companies and professionals in your field. You can search for internships directly, and many companies post opportunities there.

  • College Career Centers: These centers are a valuable resource with advisors who can help students find internships and prepare for applications. They often have connections with local businesses and organizations that offer internships.

  • Company Websites: Many companies post internship opportunities directly on their websites. Look for a “Careers” section where you can search for internships or entry-level positions.

The best approach is to use a combination of these resources. Look for internships on job boards and company websites, connect with professionals on LinkedIn, and utilize the resources offered by your college career center.


Internships are a crucial part of university education, providing practical experience, industry insights, and professional connections that can significantly enhance a student’s career prospects. Ottawa, with its diverse range of industries and opportunities, is an ideal city for university students to explore these opportunities. Whether you’re interested in government, tech, healthcare, non-profits, or t


Where can I find internship opportunities in Ottawa?

There are several resources to find internships in Ottawa. Here are a few:

  • University career centers: Most universities have career centers that offer internship postings, workshops, and guidance on finding internships.
  • Job boards: General job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor often have internship listings. You can filter your search for Ottawa locations and internships.
  • Company websites: Many companies list their internship opportunities on their careers pages. Look for companies in Ottawa that operate in your field of interest.
  • Government websites: The federal government and provincial governments often offer internship programs for students

What types of internships are available in Ottawa?

Ottawa, with its concentration of government institutions and tech companies, offers a wide range of internship opportunities. You can find internships in various fields like:

  • Government (public policy, science research, communications)
  • Technology (software development, web development, data analysis)
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Healthcare
  • Business

What are the qualifications for internships in Ottawa?

Qualifications for internships vary depending on the position and company. However, most internships require:

  • Being a university student (enrolled in a program)
  • A relevant field of study
  • A strong academic record
  • Prior work or volunteer experience

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