Graduate Internship Program

In spring 2021, CLA launched a graduate student internship program to offer doctoral and research-based master’s students the opportunity to gain experience in a profession beyond a traditional tenure track position, explore how their academic training translates into various career options, and build skills that will translate across sectors and jobs.

To date, Graduate Career Services Director Mackenzie Sullivan worked with 20 students via a series of workshops and related activities on pursuing career options beyond academia. While the immediate goal has been to provide outside work experience for students via summer internships, the program also trains students in how to conduct a job search effectively so that they are prepared to do so upon graduation.

The college provides fellowship funding to ensure that each student with an internship receives the standard graduate researcher salary, regardless of the ability of the employer to pay. This funding also has the benefit of allowing students to apply for a full range of internships, including low-paid (or possibly unpaid) positions in areas relevant to their doctoral experience.

Interested in offering an internship or fellowship for graduate students?
Contact Mackenzie Sullivan, director of graduate student career services, if you'd like to hire a doctoral or master's degree student. View examples of previous internships.

2023 Graduate Student Internship Program

CLA is excited to present its third annual Graduate Student Internship Program. As in past year, the program offers graduate students the opportunity to gain experience in a profession beyond academia and the tenure track, explore how their academic training might translate into various career options, and build additional skills that will translate across sectors and jobs. It is a small, cohorted program, enrolling and funding up to 10 graduate students.

The program has been expanded to run from October 27, 2022 through April 2023, and students will now receive up to $6,000 in fellowship funding.  

Funding

If students complete the workshop series, all assignments, and secure an internship for the summer, they will receive funds that will support them during their internship. The program goal is for each student to complete an internship of ten weeks in duration at 20hrs/week for which they will be paid the standard CLA graduate researcher rate of $6,000.

The employer will be asked to pay its normal internship rate, with the understanding that some employers may end up paying more than $6,000 and others may offer less than this amount. When the employer pays less, CLA will make up the difference. Students will work with the employer, in consultation with the director of career services, to determine the amount the employer is able to pay. Students will be eligible to have their summer health benefits covered by the college if they are not already receiving them.

Internships address a number of pressing needs. Students see internships as a vital but underemphasized component of graduate education that gives them valuable experience outside of, but complementary to, their other training. Internships open doors to a range of careers, including the professoriate, but are seen as especially germane to non-faculty career paths. The Mellon Foundation notes that since “...the early 1970s, the average percentage of tenure track faculty positions in the United States has dropped from approximately 70 percent to 30 percent of the academic teaching force” (from What Can you do with a Phd?). At the same time, many organizations — government agencies, corporations, and community groups — face increasingly complex and pressing challenges. Innovation today requires not only higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills but also a more thoughtful and nuanced understanding of the interconnectedness of people and place. As a public land grant university, we have a responsibility to produce research and ideas that improve lives and advance the state’s economy. Tomorrow’s academic and industry leaders will get their start here. Pairing their needs with the needs of our community via internships will produce stronger outcomes for all.