How to apply – students

Hiring timeline

Timing is everything

Have you heard the saying “timing is everything”? When it comes to our Student Program, this is especially true.

Working at CSE requires a Top Secret security clearance. The security clearance process can take up to six months to complete, which is why we need your student application 8 months in advance of a work placement.

We understand that the CSE security clearance process is demanding. Protecting national security and Canada’s interests is what we do; that is why all candidates go through a rigourous screening process before becoming a CSE employee.

Mark your calendars - Hiring is 8 months prior to your placement start date

You read that right - CSE hires students 8 months before the start of your work placement.

Looking for a Summer session placement? You will need to apply in September.
Looking for a Fall session placement? You will need to apply in January.
Looking for a Winter session placement? You will need to apply in May.
Exception: We regularly have special projects for a limited number of students. These positions are located in Ottawa, but not on the CSE campus. You must apply for a CSE special project 4 months before the start of your work placement. Check our job postings.

How to apply

What you need to know

All positions are located in Ottawa.

You must apply online.

You must be a Canadian citizen.

You must be eligible for a Top Secret security clearance and be willing to comply with CSE’s own security policies and standards.

To qualify for our student employment program, you must be registered as a full-time student at a Canadian college or university.

CSE is committed to employment equity. When applying, you have the option to indicate whether you are a member of a designated employment equity group. Employment equity groups are women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minority groups.

Your résumé and cover letter

Remember, we only accept online applications.

In your cover letter, tell us which position(s) interest you and what makes you a good candidate.

Security clearance process

Security is vital at CSE.

CSE career opportunities are available to all Canadians who meet our standards. We hire a cross-section of the country’s best candidates through a rigorous selection process.

We ask that if you choose to apply for a position with us, please use discretion, and limit those you tell about your application to your closest family and friends.

The Security Clearance process at CSE takes, on average, about six months to complete. To complete the security clearance process, you will be required to:

  • fill out a personal history questionnaire and consent form;
  • meet with CSE security personnel for an in-depth interview;
  • be fingerprinted and photographed;
  • participate in a two-part psychological assessment that includes a test and interview; and
  • undergo a polygraph examination to assess your loyalty to Canada.

As part of the security clearance process, your name will be checked against credit, criminal and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) databases. CSIS will also conduct database checks of all names on the security clearance questionnaire and conduct background checks as required. Your references may be contacted as part of the screening process.

We understand that the CSE security clearance process is demanding. Protecting national security and Canada’s interests is what we do; that is why all candidates go through a rigourous screening process before becoming a CSE employee.