Departmental Off-Campus Internships and Independent Studies

Cornell internships are off-campus experiential learning activities, usually for one or two Blocks. An internship offers an opportunity to make connections between the substance and methods of academic study and the application of that study to work or service. They help students develop leadership and service skills. Internships are sponsored by a Cornell faculty member and supervised by a representative of the organization or firm where the internship resides.

Internships typically feature an agreement among the parties projecting student responsibilities (including hours to be assigned); documentation of activity, e.g., through daily journals, weekly reports, and/or a final, reflective essay from the student; and evaluation of performance (including a report from the supervisor on site).

Although some departments may suggest topics or put students in contact with prospective employers, most students develop their own proposals and contacts. Students must consult the faculty member whom they wish to have sponsor their internship several Blocks in advance. International students on F-1 (student) visas should consult with the Office of Intercultural Life to determine if the internship constitutes curricular practical training or off-campus work. Students participating in international internships must meet with the Office of International & Off-Campus Studies to submit required documents and obtain information about the college’s foreign insurance policy.

Students may also, with departmental approval, design their own off-campus independent research projects. Some departments have a 485 Advanced Studies course or use either the 290/390 Individual Project or 690 Special Studies options described in the preceding section. Summer internships and individual projects are permitted only under the 297/397 or 299/399 Summer Study options described in the preceding section. Students should contact the off-campus studies office if they plan to intern or complete independent study abroad.

Internships and independent studies are open only to students who have earned at least eight course credits. Any expenses incurred (such as for transportation and lodging) must be borne by the student. Students who receive financial compensation for their participation in an internship or similar program may have their Cornell aid adjusted accordingly. Students who are off campus Blocks 1 and 2 may not participate in room selection or otherwise hold an on-campus room for first semester. Students should contact the Residence Life Office the Block prior to their return to campus to confirm their housing assignments.