Carnegie Mellon University

Internship Process

The internship requirement is intended for all INI students, and must be successfully completed in order for them to graduate from the INI.

These internships, paid or unpaid, must be relevant to your program of study and will only appear on your official transcript if you are registered for the course. While some students may opt to take a course at the same time as their internship, we encourage you to carefully consider this prior to the start of the semester as it can be very difficult to manage both at the same time.

Important Steps

  1. All students are required to submit their offer letters* for the INI’s review and approval. Learn More

    *Please share this template with your internship supervisor: Employer Letter Template [.pdf].

  2. All initial offer letters should be submitted to for approval. 

1. Applying to Internships

  1. Make a list of companies that you’re interested in, including a plan A and a plan B.
  2. Review your resume with Rachel Amos, Director of Career Services & Employer Relations.
  3. Submit your internship applications!
  4. Follow up with the recruiter or alumni contact.
  5. Connect with the company on LinkedIn.
  6. Follow up with INI Internship if you have any issues.

2. Prepare for the Interview 

  1. Research the company
    Review their website - make sure to read their mission, vision, and values statement!
    Ask any affiliated peers or alumni about their experience.
    Educate yourself on the latest trends related to their work.
  2. Prepare a list of questions for your interviewer about the company.
  3. Practice interviewing.
    Know your resume.
    Identify how your skills and experiences can align with the company's mission.

3. Consider the Offer

The primary criterion required of all internships is that the work to be done is relevant to the student’s program of study. To that end, students are required to obtain a job offer letter from the company, faculty member or other representative offering the position.

The offer letter must include the following:

1. Description of work to be done and position title,

2. The period of time the student will be working (start date and end date are required); the internship length should be 12 weeks and fit within the semester on the academic calendar (check with INI staff for approved semester session end date),

3. The work location where the student will report each day during the internship, and

4. The name and contact information (phone and email) of their supervisor, or a manager, at the company.

Download the Employer Letter Template [.pdf] 

4. Before You Accept

  1. Make a list of Pros and Cons, considering salary, job function, company and location.
  2. Review CMU’s Offer Policy 
    Fall: You have until November 15 or three (3) weeks to respond, whichever is later.
    Spring: You have three (3) weeks to respond.
  3. Make an appointment to discuss your offers.
  4. Submit initial offer letter for Departmental Approval to

The INI must review offer letters to determine the internship’s relevancy towards your degree program before you accept the offer. Students who begin an internship without INI approval will not be registered or receive credit for completing the requirement, which could impact their ability to graduate. International students may not be permitted to accept an unpaid position or do volunteer work.

Considerations for International Students

Questions? Contact Lisa Currin

Curricular Practical Training, or CPT, is authorized based on the start and end dates of the semester. This authorization is provided through the Office of International Education (OIE). Please be aware of CPT and Optional Practical Training (OPT) due dates.

Students enrolled must obtain CPT in order to be eligible for an internship experience. In some cases, students may elect to utilize OPT. Please consult with Lisa Currin if considering OPT versus CPT. 


Phase 1

First Semester into Second Semester

Prepare for Internship Interview

Phase 2

First Semester into Second Semester

1. Consider Offer
2. Use Employer Offer Letter Template
3. Receive Departmental Approval*
4. Accept Offer
5. INI Academic Affairs Office (AAO) will enroll students

Phase 3

Internship Semester

Start Internship

Supply Internship Summary Form [.pdf] to your internship supervisor.

Phase 4

End of Internship Semester

Complete Internship

Internship supervisor must submit the Internship Summary Form [.pdf] by the last day of class in the summer semester.

Phase 5

End of Internship Semester

Final Grade Assigned

The INI evaluates the Internship Summary Form submitted by the advisor, and assigns a final grade to the student.

*International Students: Please be aware of OPT and CPT due dates. More information can be found on the Office of International Education’s website.