Carnegie Mellon University

Dietrich College Opportunity Grants

Dietrich College encourages its undergraduate students to find and undertake professionally relevant and meaningful internship opportunities. We understand that many of these opportunities are unpaid or, at best, provide minimal compensation. Yet it is often these very positions that provide students with the most meaningful work experiences that are invaluable in helping them define and move forward toward their career goals.

We have instituted the Dietrich College Internship Opportunity Grant Program to make it more possible for our undergraduate students to take advantage of less remunerative but worthwhile internship opportunities. The goal of the program is to minimize or eliminate any out-of-pocket costs to students who receive and accept an offer from such an internship sponsor, and particularly for students who would not be able to participate in a low- or unpaid internship without this support. Grants of up to $2,000 per internship are available.

Students may submit applications in Handshake (the recruiting platform for the Career and Professional Development Center (“CPDC”) at any time. Completed applications will be reviewed and decisions made on a rolling basis.

  1. Secure an off-campus internship.
  2. Bring your internship offer letter with you to meet with your CPDC career consultant to develop learning objectives and review your resume and projected internship expense/revenue form. 
  3. Submit your application and supporting documentation in Handshake.
  4. Complete your internship and submit your completed post-internship questionnaire to
  5. Meet with your career consultant to identify skills acquired or enhanced in your internship, and update your resume to reflect these skills.
Which students are eligible?

To qualify for a Dietrich College Internship Opportunity Grant, students must be undergraduates, be registered as a primary major in one of the Dietrich College major programs, or be enrolled in the BHA program at the time of application. Students seeking grant support for any portion of a time period after they graduate are not eligible.

Preference is given to:

  • Current (or rising) sophomores and juniors
  • Students accepting internships in the public or non-profit sectors
  • Students with high financial need
  • Students who have not had a meaningful internship experience
  • Students who have not received prior internship funding from the university

What internships are eligible?

To be eligible for one of these grants, internships must:

  • Be off-campus
  • Generally last at least six weeks, or at least 180 hours
  • Demonstrably support students’ academic and career goals and development
  • Be supervised by a professional in the field throughout the entire internship
Before being granted access to apply for a grant on Handshake, you must:
  • Schedule and attend an appointment with your CPDC career consultant. Be sure to bring the following items with you to this meeting:
    • Your internship offer letter, complete with information about:
      • Any compensation you will receive for the internship.
      • The start- and end-dates of the internship.
      • Title of the internship, and description of the work you will be doing as an intern.
      • Name, job title and contact information of the person who will supervise you in your internship.
      • Mention and description of any additional steps or documentation that the internship sponsor will require before you can begin the internship (For example, a background check, security clearances, and/or a memorandum of understanding [MOU] with Carnegie Mellon University).
      • The deadline date for you to respond to and accept the internship offer.

NOTE: If your internship offer letter does not include all of this information, request a written supplement to the letter from the person who signed the offer letter that furnishes any missing information.

  • Documentation confirming the organization’s nonprofit or for-profit status. This might be found on the internship organization’s website.
  • A copy of your resume.
  • Internship Opportunity Grant financial worksheet [Excel]

Tax Information
Please note that these grant funds are considered a nonqualified scholarship under IRS regulations. As a result, for U.S. tax residents, taxes will not be withheld from the payment; nor will Carnegie Mellon issue a tax statement (W-2 or 1099) to the recipient or the IRS for the payment. It is the student’s responsibility to include information about the grant funds on their personal income tax return. Students should consult their personal tax advisor for additional information or if they have additional questions. Nonresident aliens (Non-U.S. tax residents) may also be subject to tax withholding and reporting requirements. For non-resident aliens, it is the student’s responsibility to discuss employment authorization with their Office of International Education advisor for any employment opportunity that involves an employer other than Carnegie Mellon University.

If selected to receive one of these grants, you will be required to:

  • Have at least three formal meetings during the internship with your internship supervisor (on-boarding, mid-point evaluation and final evaluation).
  • Complete an internship questionnaire and reflective essay about your internship experience and how it affected your career interests and goals.
  • Schedule an appointment with your CPDC career consultant at the beginning of the semester after your internship concludes to discuss your internship experience and how to incorporate relevant facets and takeaways from the experience into your resume.

There are many resources available to help you find eligible internships, starting with the CPDC on its web site, at workshops and job fairs, and opportunities listed on Handshake.

You should consider attending the CPDC spring career fairs, as well as its early engagement events, Jumpstart and Internship Showcase:

  • Jumpstart - A networking and internship fair for freshmen and sophomores, for undergraduates only.
  • Internship Showcase - Connect with other students to learn what a great internship experience can do for your job search.

We also encourage you to meet with your CPDC career consultant to assist you in your internship search, as well as your academic advisor, family and friends.

To apply for a Dietrich Internship Opportunity Grant, you must have an internship offer. You must also schedule and attend an appointment with your CPDC career consultant before you are able to apply. You must bring your internship offer letter and resume to this appointment. During this meeting, your CPDC consultant will review the application process, confirm your eligibility for the program, and assist you as needed with the internship grant application and projected expense/revenue form.

After meeting with your CPDC consultant, you submit your application materials on Handshake. Make sure that the following documents are filled out and uploaded into your document library in order to have your application considered complete:

Essay Prompt:

This essay should provide more information to the review committee about how your internship will affect and connect to your plans.

  • Describe the organization, and the roles and responsibilities you will have as an intern.
  • List and explain your learning objectives for the internship, focusing on:
    • How the internship will help you develop knowledge and skills specific to your post-baccalaureate plans.
    • How this experience will positively affect your experience at Carnegie Mellon.
    • How this will broaden your understanding of the industry or professional sector related to the internship.

You will also be asked for information about financial need and financial aid that you receive to attend CMU, as well as about other sources of CMU funding that you have requested (and received, if known) to support you in your internship, and to list and describe these in more detail.

Completed applications will generally be reviewed on a bi-weekly basis until June 30, or until all funds for the current cycle have been distributed (whichever comes first).

What is the difference between an internship and a job?
An internship is any carefully monitored work or experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what she or he is learning throughout the experience. Internships vary widely from organization to organization. Some common characteristics of an internship include:

  • Is a time-limited experience that usually lasts about three months and occurs during the fall semester, spring semester, or summer.
  • Is generally a one-time experience.
  • Must be at least 180 hours and/or at least 6 weeks.
  • May be paid or unpaid.
  • May be part of a learning plan that the intern and career consultant develop together.
  • Is different from a short-term job or volunteer work and has an intentional “learning agenda” in a structured work environment.
  • Includes learning objectives, observation, reflection, evaluation and assessment.
  • Has an existing employee working in the department/position to mentor and supervise the intern.
  • Promotes academic, career and/or personal development.

When is the application due, and when will applicants be notified?
Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis from July 1 through June 30. Completed applications will generally be reviewed every two weeks, and applicants notified immediately thereafter via email.

What if I must respond to my internship offer sooner than when I am likely to be notified about my internship grant application?
If your submitted application is complete, your deadline for responding to your internship offer is sooner than when you are likely to receive a decision about your internship grant application, and your ability to accept the offer is contingent on whether or not you receive a grant, we will make every effort to review and respond to your application soon enough for you to meet your response deadline.

What is the difference between this grant program, and the Pittsburgh Summer Internship Program (PSIP)?
PSIP internships are all Pittsburgh-based and all in summer. The program targets mainly current sophomores (rising juniors), and screens both student applicants to the program as well as prospective internship sponsors who want to be part of this “closed” internship market. The Dietrich Internship Opportunity Grant Program gives priority to rising juniors and seniors, is not restricted to Pittsburgh-based internships, is not restricted to summer internships, leaves it to students to find and secure internship offers, and requires students to have an internship offer when applying for grant support.

Are there other internship grant programs that I could or should be considering?
Yes. Examples include the Career and Professional Development Center’s Summer Internship Experience Fund (SIEF) or Peter C. Dozzi Internship Initiative.