Each year, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Board) hires a new cohort of Research Assistants (RAs) who gain real-world experience by working alongside PhD economists to assist with original economic research and provide critical support for policy analysis.
The RA position is a two-year program and most RAs leave the role well-suited to pursue a graduate degree, often in economics, or a number of different careers at the Board or with other organizations. While at the Board, RAs often become involved in a variety of other projects, including collaboration with various government agencies and Federal Reserve System Banks, and participate in efforts to provide economic and financial literacy instruction to local high school students. RAs are encouraged to attend academic research seminars and presentations given by Board economists and visiting scholars.
The Board is committed to attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse workforce. We recognize the benefit derived from different perspectives and experiences, and we look carefully at candidates’ records to identify individuals whose perspectives could benefit our work. As such, we especially encourage submissions from groups traditionally less represented in economics.
Want to learn more about the RA experience across the Federal Reserve System?
Visit fedeconjobs.org. While there, be sure to navigate to Opportunities ~> Washington, DC to learn more about our focus on policy and the national outlook, as well as the application, offer, and onboarding process.
RAs at the entry level use standard statistical techniques and a general knowledge of microeconomic or macroeconomic theory to assist economists in their current reporting, research, modeling, forecasting, database maintenance, and regulatory casework.
- Carries out assignments in support of current analysis, research, forecasting, modeling efforts, or regulatory casework, or activities associated with the Federal Reserve's statistical program by using and/or modifying standard statistical and graphics software packages and by developing ad hoc computer programs of moderate complexity.
- Assumes responsibility for the preparation of and verification of data in the section's charts, tables, and other material used in memoranda and briefings to the Board, in the implementation of policy through open market operations, in data books or testimony for Board members, in casework, or in publications such as the Federal Reserve Bulletin.
- Assists economists in monitoring well-defined subject areas or project developments; drafts routine reporting memoranda and analytical memoranda of limited complexity.
- Performs literature searches and summaries.
- Handles routine requests for data or other information from the public, Federal Reserve Banks, or government agencies.
- Bachelor’s or master’s degree in economics, statistics, math, or a related field with demonstrated economics coursework.
- Knowledge of economic principles, quantitative techniques, and data analysis.
- Statistical software package or programming language experience such as Stata, R, MatLab, Linux/Unix, VBA, and others.
- Demonstrated strong communication skills, initiative, integrity, and experience working both independently and collaboratively.
- U.S. citizenship is required for Research Assistant positions.
About the Application Process
Recruiting Cycles and Deadlines
RAs are selected during two main recruitment cycles in the fall and spring. Applications are not reviewed until after each respective deadline.
Fall Recruitment Cycle
Completed applications accepted August 15-October 15 (Deadline)
- Interviews conducted October-November.
- Offers extended on a rolling basis starting in October and continuing until the conclusion of the fall cycle.
- At the conclusion of the fall cycle:
- Candidates not selected during the fall recruitment cycle will automatically be considered during the spring recruitment cycle.
- Incomplete applications submitted during the fall recruitment cycle can be completed and considered during the spring recruitment cycle.
Spring Recruitment Cycle
Completed applications accepted October 21 – January 31 (Deadline)
- Interviews conducted February–April.
Very infrequently, positions may become available for immediate placement outside of the fall and spring cycle. Depending on the timing, candidates for these positions are drawn from the fall and spring cycle application pools.
How to Apply
All application materials listed below, including recommendation letters, must be received by the application deadline to be considered by our hiring committee. Please send all files as .PDF (cover letter, resume, transcript, letter(s) of recommendation).
1. Application email
- Please submit the following in one email to [email protected] with the subject line “RA Application: LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME”. (Example- RA Application: DOE, JANE).
- Cover letter
- Unofficial transcript from every institution attended (study abroad if not included in undergraduate transcript, graduate programs, etc.)
- Names & contact information of intended recommender(s).
2. Letter(s) of recommendation (minimum of one, maximum of two)
- At least one letter of recommendation must be submitted on your behalf; however, it is strongly encouraged that you have two letters submitted. A maximum of two letters will be accepted.
- Recommendations can be academic or professional.
- Please have your recommenders send their letter directly to [email protected] with the subject line “RA Recommendation: LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME”. (Example- RA Recommendation: DOE, JANE).
- Submit this form immediately after sending your Application Email. This form only needs to be submitted once through the above link. You do not need to attach a copy of your responses to your application email.
The Board complies with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and provides job applicants with disabilities reasonable accommodations to assist them in applying for jobs at the Board. If you have a disability and would like to request an accommodation in order to apply for a job at the Board, please call 202-452-3880 or e-mail [email protected].
Please review our FAQs below. If you have additional questions or want to check the status of your application, you can contact the recruiting team directly at [email protected] or by calling us at 202-872-4912.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I submit additional supporting documents beyond those required (i.e., thesis, white papers, research studies/memos, capstone projects, etc.)?
- We welcome you to submit these additional supplemental materials, but we do not guarantee that we will review them or that they will give you consideration preference.
- Whom should I address when writing my cover letter?
You can simply put “Research Assistant Hiring Committee”.
- What does the Board look for in RA applicants?
We look for individuals who meet our list of qualifications and encourage you to use your application as a space to discuss how the RA program fits into your long-term professional and/or academic goals.
- What types of classes should I take to strengthen my candidacy?
A combination of coursework in upper-level mathematics and statistics, econometrics, computer programming, and economics strengthens your application, but if you’ve gained similar experience through other avenues (internships, jobs, enrichment programs, additional training, etc.), we encourage you to highlight that in lieu of what may or may not be listed on your academic transcript.
- Do I need to have computer programming experience in multiple/particular languages?
While we do not require a certain level of proficiency in any particular programming language, we ask that you have familiarity with at least one (1) language and have both the ability and desire to learn a new language quickly.
- Do the Federal Reserve Banks offer RA positions?
They do, but it’s important to know that each Reserve Bank handles recruiting separately. (There’s no “common app” across the System.) To learn more about opportunities across the entire Federal Reserve System, visit www.fedeconjobs.org.
- How can I check in on the status of my application?
You will receive automated notifications about the status of your application, but feel free to reach out directly to our [email protected] mailbox to request an update.
- Do I have to know for sure that I want to pursue a PhD or graduate studies?
No, not at all. While many of our new RAs have graduate studies in their plans, others aren’t considering masters or PhD degrees. For many, this position gives them strategic space and time to decide if a graduate program is the right next step.
- When do hired RAs start working?
Almost all RAs start between June and August, but sometimes we need someone who’s available outside of that typical summer timeframe (off-season). We welcome applications outside of our main recruitment timelines.
- Where are RAs placed within the Board?
There are over 150 RAs who work across seven of the Board’s divisions, with most opportunities in the economic divisions (Financial Stability, International Finance, Monetary Affairs, and Research & Statistics). Your placement on a particular team (internally called “section”) is based on both position availability, your professional interests, subject matter expertise, and a number of additional factors.
- Where do RAs go after they leave the Board?
Over half of our RAs enter graduate programs, primarily to pursue either a PhD in economics or finance. The remainder either stay at the Board as analysts or enter the private and public sector in a variety of roles.
- Where is the Board located?
You’ll find us in Washington, D.C.
- What benefits does the Board offer to RAs?
You can visit our benefits page to learn more about our Total Rewards offerings. If you’re invited to interview, your recruiter will discuss these in detail with you.
- Does the Board offer tuition assistance?
We do, and many RAs take advantage of this benefit to take coursework in math and statistics at local colleges or universities.
- Does the Board offer relocation assistance for moving to D.C.?
- Is this job a long-term, permanent role?
RAs work at the Board for 2 years and then move on to either graduate school, other full-time work at the Board, or positions across industry and government.
- I’m only a sophomore or junior. Does the Board offer research-related internships?
We do! Please head over to our internship careers page to learn how to apply. Our economic research internships do offer the opportunity for a full-time return offer into the RA program for eligible rising juniors and graduate students.