FUNDING for Unpaid Internships

Internships are an important way to get insights into a career field, obtain valuable professional experience, and develop new skills. To facilitate this, Sewanee offers funding to our students to provide stipends for unpaid internships. Why do an ordinary summer job when you can do a meaningful internship in your field of interest? 

To apply for funding, first you find an existing internship OR dream up your own at an organization of your choice, then secure it with a sponsor at that organization, and then apply for funding through Career & Leadership Development.





FAQ: Internship & Research Assistantship





How do I apply for internship funding?

First, you need to actually have been offered an unpaid internship; you can only receive funding for an internship that you have already secured. To find an internship, search for contacts/internships within your personal/family network, TigerNet (especially all the ACE internships since they are for Sewanee students only), Sewanee faculty with whom you would like to do academic research, the online directory of Sewanee alumni (,; these are just a few ways to get started. If you need more help, please make an appointment with Career & Leadership Development.

Please note: Unpaid ACE internships are not automatically funded; if you are offered an unpaid ACE internship, you must then apply for funding, which is not guaranteed.

How many students are awarded internship funding each year?

Because award funds available are based on the performance of the internship funds’ endowment, the number of stipends may vary from year to year. The average number of applicants per year that receive funding from Sewanee is almost 75%. 

Is it better to apply early for ACE internships on TigerNet? Will it increase my chances of getting the internship?

No. All applications are automatically bundled and sent to the internship sponsors after the deadline has passed, therefore it does not matter whether you apply early or late. However, you are encouraged to apply at least a few days in advance of the deadline in case any issues arise that would hamper your application, since no late applications can be accepted.

I received internship funding last year. Can I get funding again for this summer?

It depends on many factors, including the amount of funding available that particular year, the number of students who are applying for funding, and whether or not you have received funding in previous years. Please note that funding is usually not awarded to do an internship at the same organization twice.

Are there any internships that are NOT usually funded?

The following internships are less likely to be selected for funding: private corporate law firms, partisan organizations, internships with a family member/business, and remote/offsite internships (you must be in the same location as your internship sponsor.) Also, internship programs that provide placement for you (for a fee, usually) are not funded.

Note on international internships: Sewanee will not award funding to do internships in any country that is listed on the U.S. Department of State's travel advisory as a Level 3 or 4. To see a complete list of Travel Advisories for every country in the world, see  Click on this color-coded world map for a global view.

If I apply for an ACE internship, do I automatically get an interview and funding?

No. Interviews are set up at the discretion of the ACE internship sponsor. And if the ACE internship is unpaid and you are selected by the sponsor to be their intern for the summer, you are not guaranteed funding: you must apply for funding by the internship funding deadline (MARCH 1 for research assistantships with Sewanee faculty; APRIL 1 for all other internships.)

How long can my internship last?

You can receive funding for up to 8 weeks. If your internship is longer than 8 weeks, you can certainly carry out your internship for longer, but you cannot receive funding for the additional weeks you choose to stay. If you apply for both internship funding and research assistantship funding, please know that you can only be awarded up to 8 weeks combined, so you may have to choose either one or the other or reduce your number of weeks for each opportunity.

How can I improve my chances of getting awarded internship funding? What is the most important aspect of my application?

Everything (proposal, resume, etc.) plays a role in a successful application, but the most critical factor is whether you are able to develop a substantial internship that will allow you to make a contribution to the organization and help you learn about that career field. Sometimes, even if the application is excellent, some funding requests cannot be fulfilled due to lack of funding for that particular field. All applications will be judged on the following criteria:

• The quality of the tasks that you will be given to do during your internship. Although some menial tasks can be expected in any internship, the majority of the duties must be meaningful, skill-building, and substantial, and this should be clearly indicated not only in the proposal, but also in the internship sponsor's letter of confirmation.

• The benefit of the projects and assignments to you and the participating organization

• The quality of your internship funding proposal: it is IMPORTANT for your proposal to be carefully written. An application with multiple writing errors will not be considered, even if it is a great internship.

• Your qualifications, including academic performance

• The relationship of the project to your career interest

I won't be able to turn in my application on time. Can I turn it in late?

No. All the uploaded documents will be bundled and sent to the selection committees after the deadline.

My internship sponsor told me that he/she won't make a decision until after the deadline for the application for funding has passed. Is there any way I can still apply for internship funding?

Some internship sponsors will not make a decision until late April or May, and these decisions will indeed be too late to receive consideration. However, if the sponsor is deciding in early April, and if the sponsor can indicate to you in writing that you are on a short list of candidates, you can submit this letter in your application in lieu of the employer's final confirmation. You will still need to submit their final confirmation letter as soon as it arrives. Please contact Career & Leadership Development about the situation (931-598-1121).

When will I find out if I have been awarded internship funding?

Email notifications will be sent out during the third week in April, depending on when the selection committees have their meeting and make their decisions.




Who is eligible to apply for ACE internships on TigerNet? 

ACE internships are for currently enrolled, degree-seeking Sewanee students only.

Do I have to be a certain major to obtain internship funding?

Students in ALL majors have received internship funds.

Which class years have the best chance of being awarded funding?

All class years have received internship funds, but preference goes to rising juniors and rising seniors, with second consideration going to first-year students, and final consideration to graduating seniors. While a student's class year does not play a direct role, the selection committees do seriously consider the level and quality of the projects that you will be performing in your internship. 

I'm in the Class of 2022. How does the Sewanee Pledge affect me?

Thanks to the Sewanee Pledge for the Class of 2022, the first time that a person from this class applies for internship or research assistant funding, they will receive guaranteed funding. Your proposal must still of high quality, meet all the requirements, and be submitted on time.

The internship I was offered is paid, but not as much as I need. Can I get internship funding to supplement the internship pay?

You are not eligible to receive a full internship stipend ($375/week) if you will receive more than $1000 from your internship sponsor for an 8-week internship. However, in cases where housing is provided for you instead of payment, you are still eligible for funding. If the employer pays you a very small amount or only compensates you for nominal expenses, you may also be eligible. Please contact Career & Leadership Development for more guidance.

Can international students apply?

Yes, internship funds are available to full-time international Sewanee students. However, due to INS regulations, additional requirements are necessary. The student should contact Sewanee’s International Support Specialist (x1184) to discuss eligibility before applying for funding.

I don't have a very high GPA. Will that hurt my chances?

Your GPA is only one of the criteria used. Be reminded that the selection committees are seeking indication that you will perform well in your internship. If your grades do not convey that, you will want to make sure that your proposal does.

What if I will be transferring after the summer? Am I still eligible for funding?


I was placed on probation (academic or social) by the University. Will that affect my chances of getting funding?

Yes, it can affect your chances. All students selected to receive funding will be reviewed by the Dean of Students to ensure that they are all in good standing academically and socially.




What do I need to include in my internship funding application?

Applications require the following components:

1. An internship funding proposal (see the next question below for information about research assistantship funding proposals: they have different requirements)

2. A resume (How to create a great resume)

3. A list (not a letter) of 2-4 references, with at least one faculty member. Please ask permission of each person before including them on your list (How to create a reference list.)

4. A letter (or saved official email) or online form of confirmation from your internship/research assistantship sponsor.

Check the application deadline and make sure that it is submitted on time; late submissions will not be considered. Funding applications for both internships and research assistantships are online. 

What kind of information should I include in my internship funding proposal?

Your proposal must be a well-written and carefully-edited 2-page document (12-pt, double-spaced text, normal margins.)  Please include your name and page number in the upper right corner (header) of all pages. Important: there are separate proposal guidelines for general (non-academic) internships and for research assistantships with Sewanee faculty (see below for RA guidelines)

1) Provide a comprehensive overview of the organization that you will be working with and what your specific responsibilities/projects will be as an intern.

2) Interview someone who is currently a seasoned professional in the field of work of your proposed internship. Select a person NOT affiliated with your proposed internship. Write a paragraph or two about the most important information and advice you learned from her/him about this line of work. 

3) Describe the skills, knowledge, and experience you hope to develop/gain from this internship experience. How will this internship contribute to your career goals? 

For the informational interview that is required in my internship funding proposal, what are some tips to help me do this?

Interview someone who is currently a seasoned professional in the field of work of your proposed internship. Ideally, do not interview a person affiliated with your proposed internship or a family member. Write a summary paragraph or two about the most important information, insights, suggestions, and/or advice you learned from her/him about this line of work. Devote no more than 1/3 of your proposal to this interview.

Need help with this interview part of your proposal? Here is guidance on how to find people to interview; how to request an informational interview; suggestions for excellent questions to ask; and how to write a follow-up thank you note: (How to do an informational interview.)

Interview TIPS and EXAMPLES:
• Interview someone who is doing what you hope to do someday. For example, if you are applying for funding to do an internship with a veterinarian and you hope to someday be a vet, then interview a vet, not a vet assistant. If you are applying for funding to do an internship with a judge, interview a lawyer or a judge. If you are doing an internship with a congressional office, call your local congressional representative’s office and talk with the director. Pick your interviewee based on what you hope to do someday, and then relate it to your internship opportunity and how this internship will help you in your career goal. Do not interview a family member.

• If you cannot find someone to interview, try using the Sewanee Gateway, Sewanee’s online alumni directory. Login with your Sewanee email address and Banner ID as your password. Go to Advanced Search, and then search by Job Position. Note: Access to the Sewanee Gateway requires sophomore standing, so if you are a first-year student and want to access this database, please make an appointment with a staff person at Career & Leadership Development. If you are a sophomore or beyond and are having trouble logging in, please contact for help.

• If you need some guidance on how to request and prepare for an interview, some suggestions for excellent questions to ask, and/or how to write a follow-up thank you note, you can find that at

Interview example #1:
During my pursuit of this internship, I have been assisted and advised by Caroline Waterlow. Ms. Waterlow is a producer who lives in New York City. Her most recent work includes "Teddy in His Own Words", a documentary about the life of Senator Edward Kennedy, that she produced for HBO. I interviewed her for my proposal and the advice she gave me was not only helpful but also constructive. Like most businesses, the entertainment industry is challenging, fast-paced, and constantly changing. It is difficult to find one’s way in the business, but through hard work, dedication, and sometimes a bit of luck, one can push their way to the top. It can take years to find a job that will do much more than “pay the rent”, but it is an industry based on passion and creativity. Lastly, Ms. Waterlow’s most important suggestion was to start at a small shop, not at a big corporation like HBO, where I would end up doing day-to-day “grunt work.” She felt working at a smaller company such as IconicTV would offer me a better experience and the ability to make a real contribution as a summer intern. She also thought I would make better contacts that might result in a full-time position in the industry after graduation. She thinks working at IconicTV would be a great start to my career. I plan to stay in touch with Ms. Waterlow this summer to share my experiences with her and seek her advice and counsel about my plans after college.

Interview example #2:
As the current editor of Sewanee magazine and the former editor of Scuba Diving, Robert “Buck” Butler, C’89, is a veteran of the publishing world in print media. When first ousted from the shelter of the Domain, Buck began his publishing career as a copy editor for a daily newspaper. After developing his news media background, he then moved to Scuba Diving, and eventually found his way back to the Mountain. Buck was an English major at Sewanee, and he is confident that the written and verbal communication skills developed in this course of study are invaluable to a career in publishing and print media. Although he admits that the majority of people who start in news media tend to stay in that field, he found that moving between different mediums was not all that difficult, as he moved from newspaper to magazine. Upward mobility, location, and work environment all tend to be factors that increased both his interest and mine in the realm outside of news media. When it came to breaking into the field, Buck informed me that I was on the right track with NewSouth Books because internships and the connections that they allow the intern to make are the most important and valuable tools to an aspiring editor when looking to break into the field.

What information needs to be included in my letter/email of confirmation?

Submit a letter/email/online form of confirmation by your internship/faculty sponsor. If you choose the email option, please attach the actual entire email including all headings and signatures.

The letter/email of confirmation should confirm that you have been offered the unpaid internship/research assistantship and it needs to include:

1) the sponsor's name, department, phone number and email address;
2) the dates and/or the number of weeks for the internship; and
3) a brief description of the responsibilities of the intern/research assistant

Another alternative is to provide your sponsor with the link to the online Confirmation Form for Internships/Research Assistantships. The form is submitted directly to Career & Leadership Development.

Without a confirmation letter/email/form, it is unlikely that your application will be given full consideration and it will be waitlisted. If you do not yet have your letter of confirmation, please attach a letter in your funding application to Career & Leadership Development to explain the situation.

I have everything but my employer confirmation letter, which won't get here until after the application deadline. What should I do?

PROPOSALS WILL NOT BE FULLY CONSIDERED IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LETTER (or email) OF CONFIRMATION FROM YOUR INTERNSHIP SPONSOR. Please try to head off this problem early: inform your internship sponsor/supervisor of your deadlines, and give him/her an earlier date than which you need the letter. However, feel free to submit your funding application even if you have not yet received your confirmation letter- there is the possibility that you can still be put on the waitlist.

My internship requires a transcript- where to I go to get one?

You can download an unofficial transcript from Banner: Login > Student Services > Academic Records > SODA > Click "Class History" link > Save as a PDF. You can also request an official transcript from the Registrar's office.

Who should I list as references?

Anyone who can attest to your work ethic and the quality of your work. Sewanee professors are your best choice, as well as current or former employers.  High school teachers (if you are a first-year student) are also good choices. It is ideal to have around 3 references on your list. Be sure to include your name at the top of your reference list. 




What do I do about housing during my internship?

Although some internships offer housing, most do not. Before you apply for an internship, be sure that you can figure out a place to live before you apply. Many students choose to live with relatives or friends during the summer. Also, many college campuses open up their dorms to summer interns for a reasonable rate. Carefully think through this issue while selecting your internships. The most challenging cities to find affordable housing are Nashville, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

CLD's website has a list of summer housing resources for many locations in the United States, and we also offer a summer housing Google Groups site for Sewanee students and alumni who are seeking or offering housing.

HOUSING IN SEWANEE: Students are eligible for dorm housing only if they are doing a Sewanee-sponsored internship, research assistantship, or campus summer job. Here are the dates and rates for summer of 2018: 
Check-In: Monday, May 14 at 5:00 p.m.
Check-Out: Saturday, July 28 at 10:00 a.m.
Residence Halls To Be Determined
  • Single Room with Air Conditioning (highly limited availability):  $1843
  • Double Room with Air Conditioning: $1388
  • Single Room without Air Conditioning (limited availability): $656
  • Double Room without Air Conditioning: $370

To apply for Summer 2018 housing please fill out this form. Submissions will be considered in the order received as room types are available, and students submitting the form should expect to be billed and must write to Residential Life directly to have their application removed from the pool. Assignments will be made on a rolling basis beginning in early May.




My internship sponsor requires that I get academic credit for my summer internship with them. How do I handle this?

Because some summer internships require that students receive academic credit from their college, Sewanee offers this option. The first step is for the student to fill out this Academic Credit for Summer Internships Request Form. Once Career & Leadership Development reviews and approves the academic credit request, the student registers for the SUMMER course (ITRN 100 – Non‐Degree Summer Internship), just they would all other classes.  If you have any questions, please contact Career & Leadership Development at or 931-598-1121.

Fee: $100 (charged to your student account)

Course: ITRN 100 – Non‐Degree Summer Internship

Catalog description: For students engaged in a summer internship, as approved by Career & Leadership Development. The course will be graded on a credit/no credit basis. Credit earned in this course may not be applied to undergraduate degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students may earn no more than one such credit during a summer term and the course may be taken three times (three credits maximum, none of which may apply to an undergraduate degree). Prerequisite: Approval of Career & Leadership Development.


By May 25, the student must submit this form to request registration for the course ITRN 100. Career & Leadership Development will review the course registration application and notify the student of acceptance into the course.

By August 15, the student must submit a final report, and the internship supervisor must submit an evaluation.

By September 15, Career & Leadership Development will assign credit/no credit dependent upon the submission of the student's final report form and the internship sponsor's evaluation. Credit will be awarded for the summer term (not the following Advent semester).




What do I do now that I have been awarded internship funding?

When you are notified, you will be told the dollar amount that you have been awarded and you will be given an agreement to complete, indicating that you have accepted the internship funding. You must complete and return this agreement by the indicated date. You will receive your stipend in one lump sum, minus $250. The $250 holdback will be released after you have submitted your final internship report form AND once your supervisor's evaluation has been received. Although you are welcome to submit these documents early, the final $250 payment may not be released until around October 1. Additionally, you will be required to attend a meeting for all internship funds recipients in April or May.

Can I transfer my funding to another internship?

No. If you decide to take another internship, you must forfeit your internship funding. The selection committees award the funding based on your application and cannot reconsider requests to change at a later date. Please notify Career & Leadership Development if you wish to decline your funding so that it can be awarded to another student on the waitlist.

I was offered a paid internship and no longer need internship funding from Sewanee. What should I do?

If your plans change and you no longer need internship funding, please notify Career & Leadership Development as soon as possible, so that another student from the waitlist may receive the funding as quickly as possible. 

What does it mean if I am “waitlisted”?

Every year, the selection committees waitlist students. Because students who are awarded internship funding occasionally will have to decline the award, some of the waitlisted students may eventually receive stipends. If you have been waitlisted, please keep in touch with Career & Leadership Development.

Once I get the internship, what is expected of me?

You are expected to serve at your internship full time (at least 32-40 hours a week) and conduct yourself in a professional manner. No part-time internships will be funded.

We recommend-- but do not require-- that you meet with your supervisor on the first day to complete a Learning Agreement together so that you have a common understanding of your internship tasks and goals for the summer.

My internship is in another country, and I need to pay for my airfare. Can I get a check right away if I receive funding?

Yes, contact Career & Leadership Development to explain your situation.

What if I lost my internship funding agreement?

Career & Leadership Development has a copy and can fax/email a copy of it to you.

What if the dates of my internship change?

You are welcome to stay at your internship longer than your original dates, but we cannot increase your funding amount. If you need to decrease your dates, please notify us as soon as possible so that we can work with you to either adjust your stipend or arrange a repayment.




What do I need to do once my internship is over?

Once you complete your internship, please submit the following documents:

1) Intern Evaluation Form (electronic)- Please ask your internship sponsor to submit an evaluation of you as their intern, detailing the duties/projects that you have completed and the quality of your performance. This must be received by Career & Leadership Development before the final $250 payment can be released.

2) Your internship report- It is due by August 15 at midnight and is submitted via the Internship Final Report Form. Since it is often easier to write the report when the experiences are fresh, please feel free to turn yours in early (however, your final check of $250 may not be released to you until October 1). We highly recommend keeping an internship journal to facilitate the writing of this report; it is easy to forget all the tasks and projects that you will be learning and doing. Please reread, edit, proofread, etc., since this will probably be published on the Career & Leadership Development website. (Internship reports written by previous Sewanee students) Failure to submit this report may be considered an honor code violation.

In terms of taxes, how do I need to treat my internship stipend? Does it affect my financial aid?

Your internship stipend is considered earned income and it should be included as income on your income tax return. The University does not report internship stipends, although Career & Leadership Development will mail a summary of your internship funding award to your home address in January; this document can be used for tax purposes as needed.  No students will receive any additional tax documents, including a W-2 or 1099. The burden to report lies with the student recipient. According to the Financial Aid department, the stipend should be reported as other untaxed earnings on the annual federal financial aid application. For information as to how it may impact your financial aid package, please contact the Financial Aid office.

Career & Leadership Development

43 Texas Ave Sewanee, TN 37375
(931) 598-1121 |

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