Duke Career Center Internship Funding Program for Master’s Students

The Duke Career Center’s Internship Funding Program aims to reduce the financial challenges associated with participating in a wide range of low-paying or unpaid internship experiences, thereby achieving the objectives of facilitating student participation in experiential career exploration and expanding the diversity of internship opportunities in which Duke students participate. 

In partnership with The Graduate School, the Duke Career Center is excited to announce a pilot program for summer 2023 which expands the Internship Funding Program to include Master’s-level* students. Through the generosity of donors, we are able to offer 10 stipends in the amount of $5,000 to support students as they complete unpaid or low-paying industry internships.

Students do not need to have a confirmed internship at the time of applying for the funding, however experiences must be confirmed prior to the processing of awards. Students may list up to 3 potential internship sites on their funding applications. Please note that funding awards can only be applied to the internships listed on the application and cannot be transferred to other experiences.

* Students must be enrolled within a Master’s program through The Graduate School or Duke Divinity School. Professional school Master’s programs are not eligible for funding at this time. Professional school Master’s programs include those affiliated with the Fuqua School of Business, Sanford School of Public Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke School of Nursing, Duke Medical School, and the Duke Law School. Students enrolled within these programs are encouraged to seek funding opportunities through their programs’ Career Centers.

Summer 2023 Application Information

Application Timeline

  • January 18:  Virtual Information session available for viewing
  • January 23: Application Period period opens at 8:00 a.m. ET (Go to Application)
  • April 6: Application Period deadline at 11:59 p.m. ET
  • April 27: Award notifications sent by email
  • Mid-Late June: Awards distributed

Please note: Applications will not be accepted after 11:59 p.m. on April 6. No exceptions will be made.

Eligible Students

  • Are currently enrolled in a Masters degree program within The Graduate School or Duke Divinity School. Students who are enrolled within professional school programs are not eligible.  
  • In good standing at Duke University (good standing applies to academics, conduct and student accounts.)
  • Will be enrolled in coursework during the semester following the internship
  • Must view the online information session
  • Agree to the terms of the Internship Funding Program (listed below)
  • Legally eligible to complete an internship. Students in need of sponsorship should consult with Duke Visa Services to arrange CPT/OPT. Registration for summer internship course may be required.

Eligible Experiences

  • Provide an opportunity for intellectual growth, development of knowledge and skills specific to a career or career setting; exploration of career options and understanding of career pathways; acquisition of transferable professional skills
  • 240 hours or more of supervised experience completed during the internship
  • Internships within private, non-profit, NGO or government agencies only (research opportunities are not eligible)
  • Supervision from a professional in the host organization
  • Less than $1,500 (gross pay, international currency equivalent) compensation for the experience
  • If the experience takes place abroad, students must comply with the University’s International Travel Policy, including the Restricted Regions List 
  • In-person and hybrid opportunities are eligible for funding; fully remote opportunities are not eligible
  • Applicants may apply for consideration of up to three qualifying internships. Funding may only be applied to the internship(s) indicated in the application
  • Internships can be domestic or international (with the exception of areas listed on the Restricted Regions List)

Ineligible Experiences

  • Fee-based volunteer programs
  • Tuition-based experiences
  • Fully remote opportunities
  • Research projects including both independent projects and summer lab assistant positions
  • Experiences without regular supervision by an on-site professional
  • Experiences that begin and/or end outside of the summer term

How To Apply

  • Watch the virtual information session
  • Go to the Internship Funding Program’s Online Application (Go to Application)
  • Review the information on the application’s landing page
  • Complete the 4 steps of the application process
    1. Career Center Internship Funding Program Acknowledgements
    2. Career Center Internship Funding Program Personal Statement (guidelines for statement)
    3. Career Center Internship Funding Program Questionnaire
    4. Duke Experiences Application (includes uploading resume and unofficial transcripts)
      • References: This is a common application shared by multiple summer programs on campus. It asks for the contact information for 2 references. The Internship Funding Program does not use these references when evaluating your application, however you must complete the information fields for the application to be accepted by the system. If you are not applying to other Duke Summer programs who use this application, you can enter “n/a” in these fields.
  • All components of the application must be completed by the application deadline. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Selection Process

  • A committee of Career Center staff, Duke Graduate School representatives, and other Duke administrators evaluate applications
  • Emphasis is placed on application and personal statement with support from the resume and transcript
  • A competitive application is one that successfully demonstrates the applicants’ understanding of the link between their goals, past experiences, and the opportunities afforded by the internship(s) in question

Program Terms & Conditions

  • Awards are not transferable to internships outside of the scope of the application
  • Recipients cannot concurrently participate in any other university-sponsored program while completing program
  • Recipients must write a thank you letter to the donor upon the conclusion of the experience (to be forwarded to the donor)
  • Recipients will submit a reflective essay at the conclusion of the internship (to be forwarded to the donor)
  • Recipients will submit two photos that document their internship experience (to be forwarded to the donor and shared through the Career Center’s social media)
  • Recipients are required to participate in a mid-summer reflection activity/meeting and post-internship reflection reception
  • Recipients are required to submit learning objectives, progression updates, performance reviews, and any additional documentation requested by their site supervisor and Career Center administration
  • Terms for international and domestic travel may differ based upon destination and university policies
  • Additional terms and conditions are outlined in the Internship Funding Program’s handbook
  • Recipient must complete the number of hours indicated on their funding application. Failure to do so will result in the repayment of award.
  • All criteria are required and are conditions of the funding. Failure to comply with conditions will result in the repayment of award and will jeopardize future funding
  • Recipients are required to immediately notify the Career Center of any changes in summer experience plans

Career Center Resources Available for Application Assistance

To assist with guiding you through the application process, the Duke Career Center offers the following resources to students:

  • 15-minute virtual appointments with IFP program coordinator (for questions about the program and application process; please review Career Hub and information session prior to attending). Email to arrange appointment times.
  • Individual appointments with the Career Center’s advising team (for assistance and review of personal statement and resume)
  • Drop-ins with Career Center’s advising team (for review of personal statement and resume; 5-10 minute concerns only)
  • Handshake recruiting system that includes internship postings and recruiting event information
  • Internship search resources
  • IFP Coordinator email for questions or concerns not address through above resources (due to volume of email messages received, please allow an average of 24-48 hours for response)

Additional University Funding Sources:

The Duke Career Center encourages you to explore all funding sources available through the university. The following are resources that can help you identify other funding programs at Duke:

  • Duke Summer Experiences Database: a centralized listing of university-sponsored summer programs, many of which offer some form of funding. Please note that each program has their own application timeline, deadlines, and processes. If an application deadline has passed, you may still want to reach out to the program coordinator to inquire whether any additional funds are available or if they are accepting late applications.
  • Your academic department or Duke departments related to the topic of your internship: Some individual departments have alumni gifts that are used to support summer experiences. The funding isn’t part of a formal program so it wouldn’t be included in the Summer Experiences Database. Please note that not all departments or centers have this type of funding, however it may be worth inquiring about.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Duke Experiences Application asks for two references. What are the requirements for these references? As part of the application process, the Internship Funding Program is using the new Duke Experiences Application which asks for 2 references. This is a common application that is shared by multiple Duke summer programs as part of their selection process. The Internship Funding Program does NOT use the references as part of its selection process, however the information fields must be completed in order for the system to accept your application. If you are NOT applying to other summer programs what use the common application, you can enter “n/a” in these fields. However, if you are applying to other summer programs, the references can be professional, academic, or personal contacts.
  • Can I apply for funding if I have not accepted an internship yet? YES! You can still apply for funding even if you have not yet accepted an internship. However, you must be in the application process for the internship in order to be considered for funding.
  • Can I list more than one internship on my application? You may list up to three internships for which you would like to be considered for funding. Unfortunately, funding cannot be applied to experiences that are not listed on your application.
  • Can I get funding for an internship that begins before summer/internships during the academic year? The Career Center’s Internship Funding Program is only applicable to experiences that begin and end during summer.
  • Am I guaranteed funding if I apply? Unfortunately, we cannot fund all applicants due to limited resources. The Internship Funding Program is competitive and applicants should take time to create the strongest application possible.
  • Why can’t I apply for funding for my research project or lab assistant position? Due to limited resources, the Career Center can no longer provide funding towards research projects and summer lab positions.
  • Can I get more than $5000? Due to limited funds, awards cannot exceed $5,000.
  • My internship pays more than $1500 but is located in a high cost-of-living area. Can I still apply? Yes, you may still apply. The selection committee will take into consideration factors such as cost of living as part of their evaluation process.
  • I am graduating in May. Can I still apply? Unfortunately, the Internship Funding Program cannot fund graduating students. Recipients must be returning students who are enrolled in fall coursework following their internships.
  • Do I have to return the funding if I complete an internship that is not listed on my application? Yes, funding can only be applied to the internships that are listed on your application. If you decide to accept a position outside of those on the application, your award will be rescinded and reallocated to another student.
  • What happens if I don’t complete my internship? Students who do not complete at least 240 hours of their agreed upon internship must return their funding award in its entirety.
  • What is required of me if I accept funding? In addition to completing the agreed upon internship, you will be asked to participate in activities such as a departure workshop, check-in sessions, reflection activities as well as write a thank you letter to your donor, submit at least 2 photos taken during your internship, and complete a reflection essay which will shared with your award donor.