Frequently Asked Questions

Please stop by the Career Center to learn more about how you can find, fund, and secure an extraordinary internship!

What’s the difference between an internship, an externship, and a fellowship?

 InternshipExternshipResearchFellowship
ObjectiveProvides direct experience to connect career and academic interestsProvides direct experience to connect career and academic interestsSystematic investigation calculated to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge; not institutional research intended for use only at and by Carleton employees or studentsProvides direct experience or opportunity to conduct research in a chosen area of interest
ActivityMaximize participation with ongoing observation; enhance existing skills and abilities and discover new skills and abilitiesMaximize observation, with some opportunity for participation, usually in the form of a shorter‐term, focused projectMaximize independent work and personal initiative through researchMaximize independent work and personal initiative, through research, volunteering, and/or travel
ReflectionDevelop learning goals and engage in reflection activitiesDevelop learning goals and engage in reflection activitiesMay or may not involve learning goals and reflectionsMay or may not involve learning goals and reflections
SupervisionProvide close supervision with regular feedback and mentoring between supervisor and internProvide close supervision with frequent formal interaction between supervisor and externMay or may not have a supervising elementMay or may not have a supervising element
LengthLonger‐term (at least 6 weeks and 240 hours)Shorter term (1-3 weeks)Can be either shorter or longer termCan be either shorter or longer term
TimingRequire sustained length of time, often over summer breakWinter BreakVariesThe majority—though not all—are completed during summer or winter break
Compensation (from host site)May be paid or unpaidUnpaidMay be paid or unpaidUnpaid
Funding/Award EligibilityMay be eligible for Carleton funding to offset associated travel and accommodation expensesMay be eligible for Career Center funding to offset associated travel and accommodation expensesProjects connected to academic work may be eligible for funding from the Office of Student Fellowships or some academic departments (contact relevant Departmental Administrative Assistants for further information)Fellowships administered by Carleton are awarded competitively through the Office of Student Fellowships.

Are internships available on campus?

Yes! A few select on-campus internships are available. Please contact the Career Center to learn more.

Is housing available for internships?

Summer Internship Housing at Carleton: If you would like to live on campus during the summer as you intern, Residence Life does offer housing on campus to Carleton students in the summer for a fee. Check with Residence Life for application information. 

Internship Housing Beyond Carleton: Start by checking with friends and family nearby your internship site. Carleton alumni can also be a great resource to suggest options in cities where you do not have any connections. Check the alumni directory and search by Area/Club. Our colleagues at WilliamsBerkeley, and Lafayette have also put together some helpful information and links to other internship housing options.

When can research be considered an internship to be eligible for college internship funding?

“Internship” is a broad term that can encompass experiential learning in a variety of settings, including laboratories, structured organizations, and studios. When a student is seeking out a research-related internship, they may be eligible for applying for internship funding if the following criteria are met:

  • The student must be seeking to gain new, research-related skills and experience and be able to articulate how the research experience will be relevant to their post-Carleton plans;
  • The student must be engaged in research with a Principal Investigator and/or research team who would provide regular and ongoing guidance, instruction, and feedback;
  • The research itself constitutes a systematic investigation calculated to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge; not institutional research nor an independent project intended for use only at and by Carleton employees and/or students;
  • The research is based entirely off-Carleton campus, such as in an educational, non-profit, or corporate setting unaffiliated with Carleton. 

At the present time, research done exclusively with Carleton faculty will not be eligible for Carleton internship funding. Although a faculty member may be involved with the research, the primary site supervisor/investigator at the host organization cannot be a Carleton faculty member. Carleton faculty are encouraged to apply for internal competitive funds to help support faculty-led research with students.

To discuss this information and any other questions you may have, please reach out to the Career Center.