Carnegie Mellon University

Dietrich College Internship 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  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 off-campus internship opportunities.  Typically, the program awards two types of internship opportunity grants:

  1. Cost-Offset Grants. Grants for students whose internships would entail significant out-of-pocket costs for students (e.g., travel, meals, or [if during the summer] room and board) that derive directly from the internship.
  2. Federal Community Service Work Study Grants.  Grants for students whose internships qualify for the “Federal Community Service (FCS) Work Study Program,” which makes it possible for students to be compensated in part (70%) from work-study funds, and in part (30%) either from the internship sponsor or, if the sponsor cannot provide any compensation, from a Dietrich College internship opportunity grant.

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 internship learning objectives, review your resume, and receive assistance as needed with the application, projected internship expense/revenue form and (if relevant) determining FCS status for your internship. 
  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
  • currently enrolled (i.e., not on leave –of-absence)
  • registered at the time of application either as a primary major in one of the Dietrich College major programs, or as a BHA student

Students seeking grant support for any portion of a time period after they graduate are not eligible.

Preference is given to:

  • Current (or rising) juniors and seniors
  • Students accepting internships in the public or non-profit sectors
  • Students with high financial need
  • Students who, as undergraduates, 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
  • (For summer grant requests) Generally last at least six weeks, entail at least 180 hours, and require no more than 40 hours per week
  • (For academic-year grant requests) require no more than 20 hours per week
  • Demonstrably support students’ academic and career goals and development
  • Be supervised by a professional in the field throughout the entire internship
  • (For Federal Community Service Work Study grants) Be sponsored by a non-profit organization that qualifies for “Federal Community Service” status.
Before being granted access to Handshake to apply for a grant, 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.
      • 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, and submit this as part of your application.

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

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 a Dietrich Internship Opportunity Grant, you will be expected 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.
  • Develop and execute a plan (as described in your grant application) for sharing your internship experience with the Dietrich/CMU communities.  There are several options for fulfilling this requirement, including:
    • a one- to two-page report and presentation about the internship experience
    • reporting and reflecting on the internship experience as it unfolds using Twitter, a blog, video clips, etc., with updates to be posted on the College’s website
    • a poster presentation on Saturday of Family Weekend (in October), as part of the annual Dietrich College Undergraduate Colloquium

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 consultantas well as your academic advisor, family and friends, to assist you in your internship search.

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 can 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, and if approved to proceed, you can submit your application materials by searching “Dietrich Opportunity Grant” under the “Jobs” menu tab within Handshake.  Click the “Dietrich Opportunity Grant” posting when it appears, and upload the following documents as one scanned pdf file when clicking “Apply”.  You will be prompted to “upload new documents” when clicking “Apply”.

  • Application [pdf]
  • Internship Opportunity Grant financial worksheet (created in Excel, converted to pdf)
  • Resume
  • Essay (about the internship organization, your roles and responsibilities as an intern, and your goals and learning objectives that you hope to achieve through the internship.)  See the essay prompt in the application for more details.
  • Most recent CMU financial aid award letter and detailed summary (if you receive financial aid from the university)

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:

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

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 rising sophomores and 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. To contrast, 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.

When is the application due, and when will applicants be notified?
Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis during a cycle that lasts from July 1 through June 30 (or until available funds in that cycle have been distributed, whichever occurs first). 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.

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

What are the key differences between requests for internship grant funding over the summer, and requests for internship grant funding during the academic year (Fall or Spring semester)?
Typically, the main difference is the extent to which one’s projected costs derive from the internship, or represent costs that one would have incurred anyway, independent of the internship. For example, a summer internship away from home would entail housing and other living costs, and could qualify for Dietrich Internship Opportunity Grant funding. On the other hand, a Pittsburgh-based internship during the academic year, while enrolled as a student, could not point to housing and other standard living costs that one would incur anyway, independent of the internship. Hence, these costs would generally not qualify for Dietrich Internship Opportunity Grant funding. Exceptions to this might include meals on internship days that could only be purchased on or near the internship site, or transportation costs if the internship is not accessible via free public transportation.

In addition, academic year internships might also be eligible for Federal Community Service Work-Study Program status, through which students eligible for Federal Work Study funds could be compensated in part by their work-study funds. See the questions and answers below regarding this program.

What is the “Federal Community Service Program” (FCSP)?
The FCSP is a community service program for students with financial need who qualify for federal work-study funding. Students have the opportunity to work in a nonprofit organization during the academic year, and be paid in part from their work-study funds.

How do I know if I and my internship are eligible for FCSP?
Students demonstrating financial need and receiving Federal Work Study funds have generally been eligible. In addition, the internship sponsor must be FCS-approved.

How does the FCSP program work?
The Program requires that the work you perform must be for the benefit of the community or national welfare and, when possible, complement your educational program or vocational goals. The Career and Professional Development Center will help you confirm if your internship organization is FCSP-eligible as a non-profit.

How is community service defined in the context of the FCSP?
Community service is defined as services designed to improve the quality of life for community residents, and particularly low-income individuals, or to solve special problems related to needs such as:

  • childcare
  • education/tutoring
  • health care
  • housing
  • community improvement
  • mentoring
  • crime prevention
  • welfare
  • public safety
  • rural development

Is the Federal Community Service Work-Study Program available for summer internships?
The Federal Community Service Work-Study Program is not available for support of summer internships. However, there is a separate Federal Community Service Program that will support financially eligible students for summer internships that are deemed FCS-eligible. Eligible students could receive up to $3600.00 for FCS-eligible summer internships