The Columbia Engineering Internship Fund (CEIF) provides funding to selected Columbia Engineering students to participate in an unpaid or low-paid engineering summer internships related to their career pursuits and/or academic studies.
Through the Columbia Engineering Internship Fund, students are awarded stipends via a competitive process which includes a written application and review by a committee of staff from across campus.
The Columbia Engineering Internship Fund:
- Supports undergraduate students who have secured unpaid or low-paid summer internships. (Low-paid is defined as compensated at less than the equivalent of New York State minimum wage — less than $15/hr)
- Provides stipends ranging from $500 to $5,000 based on the nature of the internship
- Focuses on support for international engineering internships and research opportunities, though U.S. based experiences will also be considered.
All qualified students who apply to the Columbia Engineering Internship Fund and receive Columbia grant-based financial aid with a summer work expectation (Student Contribution) are encouraged to also apply for a Work Exemption Program (WEP) grant. Students do not need to submit a separate application to the Work Exemption Program. Simply check the Work Exemption Program box on your funding program application form to be considered. The WEP grant will replace a student’s summer work expectation (Student Contribution).
Institutional funding through this program is made available with the sole intention of supporting students’ living expenses (such as housing, food and travel expenses). This support enables students to participate in unpaid or low paid opportunities. Funding is not provided in lieu of compensation for work and supervisors are required to acknowledge in the Employer Veriﬁcation Form that participating organizations are compliant with the US Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other applicable state and local legislation.
Columbia Engineering Internship Fund awards are made possible thanks to the generosity of Columbia Engineering alumni/ae, parents, and friends.
Here are a few suggestions to search for unpaid or low-paid internships and research opportunities.
- To learn about ﬁnding an internship please visit the Internships section of our website.
- Columbia Engineering students should review the SEAS Research Portal and the Student Research Program Database for opportunities to contribute to your community.
- Did you know that Columbia has 214 research centers and institutes? Students also frequently ﬁnd research opportunities through their academic department and professors.
|Criteria||Columbia Engineering Internship Fund||Work Exemption Program|
|Currently registered Columbia Engineering student in good academic and disciplinary standing||
|Rising sophomore, junior or senior||
|Minimum 3.0 GPA||
|Recipient of Columbia grant-based financial aid *||
|Secured an unpaid or low-paid summer internship prior to the application deadline. (Low-paid is defined as compensated at less than the equivalent of New York State minimum wage — less than $15/hr)||
|Work commitment of at least 20 hours/week during the summer (for partial funding/WEP grant)||
* If you are unsure if you receive grant-based ﬁnancial aid, please contact the Oﬃce of Undergraduate Financial Aid & Educational Financing.
The following opportunities are not eligible for the columbia engineering internship fund or work exemption program:
- Any opportunity that is a component of an academic program of study or for which course credit is being offered (including research conducted for the sole purpose of a senior thesis project).
- Any opportunity that is not compliant with the US Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers must sign and acknowledge compliance when completing the employer verification form.
On-campus extra-curricular activities (exceptions include CU EMS and the Double Discovery Center)
Any academic or experiential endeavor that requires a student to pay to participate in the program
Opportunities that support partisan political activity or that involve proselytizing, preaching or missionary work on behalf of a religious organization
An opportunity where you will be supervised by a classmate, peer, family member or friend
This program does not provide funding for students planning or working on their own startups
APPLICATION PROCESS & TIMELINE
The Columbia Engineering Internship Fund accepts applications for summer internships only.
Friday, May 15, 2020 at 12:00 noon.
The current plan is to share notifications by the end of the first week of June. For accepted students, we want to get the funds to students as quickly as possible; however, due to various University procedures in place to distribute stipends, we anticipate that students will receive their funding by the end of June.
Click here to review the application instructions, including personal statement prompts, and to start your application.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS PLANNING OVERSEAS TRAVEL
In accordance with the new Undergraduate International Travel Policy, all students traveling overseas through a Columbia led, Columbia facilitated and/or recognized program must submit a school sponsorship application 4-weeks prior to departure.** When completing your school sponsorship application:
- If participating in an established set program, enter the corresponding coordinating program
- If not participating in a set program, add CCE as a coordinating program
- In the funding program section, select Summer Funding Programs (CCE)
Once you have received conﬁrmation of your school sponsorship, log in to the Undergraduate Travel Web App to complete:
- Online Pre-Departure Orientation
- Sign the Assumption of Risk, Waiver, and Release form
Additionally, all students must:
- Register your travel (including side trips) through International SOS
- Conﬁrm that, while abroad, you will be covered by a health insurance policy that also provides coverage outside the United States for routine, urgent and emergency care.
If you do not submit a School Sponsorship application and complete all subsequent pre-departure requirements, you may face disciplinary action.
*Graduate students participating in a Columbia led, Columbia facilitated and/or recognized programs such as STEP are also required to complete a school sponsorship application. This policy does not replace any additional requirements from a student’s home school. Graduate students, including Columbia Engineering graduate students, are encouraged to check in with their home school prior to ﬁnalizing any travel arrangements.
** Students applying to summer funding programs with overseas opportunities who plan to travel in May should apply for school sponsorship by the funding program application deadline. Submitting a school sponsorship application does not guarantee you will receive funding. Similarly receiving summer funding does not guarantee approval of your school sponsorship application. Please note that school sponsorship applications related to summer funding programs will not be approved unless the student receives a summer funding award. Students who submit a school sponsorship application and do not receive a summer funding award must withdraw their school sponsorship application unless they are also part of the CEO or STEP programs. In those cases, sponsorship applications should not be withdrawn.
I need to conﬁrm acceptance to my internship program prior to the application deadline. Can the columbia engineering internship fund Committee review my application early?
Regrettably, we cannot review your application prior to the Columbia Engineering Internship Fund deadline. All applications are reviewed collectively by a committee who meets after the application deadline. It would not be possible to convene the committee to review your application in isolation. The timeline for Columbia Engineering Internship Fund applications is based on internship deadlines for the majority of students.
Can I apply to both the columbia engineering internship fund and the Work Exemption Program?
All qualified students who apply to the Columbia Engineering Internship Fund are encouraged to also apply for a Work Exemption Program (WEP) grant. Students do not need to submit a separate application to the Work Exemption Program. Simply check the Work Exemption Program box on your funding program application form to be considered. The WEP grant will replace a student’s summer work expectation (Student Contribution).
My internship provides a modest stipend. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. The committee will consider funding students with low-paid internships. Low-paid is defined as compensated at less than the equivalent of New York State minimum wage — less than $15/hr.
How competitive is the columbia engineering internship fund?
The Columbia Engineering Internship Fund is highly selective and funding is limited. Interested students are encouraged to submit a strong, well-written personal statement that clearly articulates their internship and their goal in pursuing this opportunity.
I DID NOT HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY SECURED AT THE TIME OF THE APPLICATION DEADLINE. WHY IS THE DEADLINE SO EARLY? AM I STILL ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?
Deadlines for the Summer Funding Programs are set after carefully considering a date that will allow the greatest number of students an opportunity to take advantage of the program. The funding program committee aims to notify students of a decision on their application with enough time for them to consider their employment plans if they are not selected for the program.
The funding program committee begins reviewing applicants immediately following the application deadline. Students who are selected for the program are chosen within the context of the applicant pool for that semester and additional, individual reviews for students who miss the application deadline are not offered. We do not offer extensions to the deadline.
I’VE ALREADY INTERVIEWED, BUT AM STILL WAITING TO HEAR IF I HAVE AN OFFER. CAN I STILL APPLY FOR THE WORK EXEMPTION PROGRAM? CAN I GET AN EXTENSION?
If you will be waiting to receive a final offer of employment at the time of the application deadline please contact the funding program committee directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss where you are in the interview process. Because the committee meets to review applicants immediately following the deadline, extensions to the deadline are not offered.
I HAVE MULTIPLE OPPORTUNITIES THAT I PLAN ON PURSUING; CAN I APPLY TO BE CONSIDERED FOR EACH OF THEM?
If you will be pursuing more than one internship, research, or volunteer opportunity during the summer you may apply for a funding program award to support these multiple opportunities. At the start of the application, you will be asked to select how many opportunities you have. Based on your selection, you will then have the ability to enter application information for up to three opportunities. Please review our website for application instructions and ensure that you respond to the personal statement prompts for both opportunities. It will also be important to discuss how you will manage your time pursuing multiple professional endeavors. Your supervisors will each need to submit Employer Verification forms detailing your work commitment at each organization. You only need to submit one letter of recommendation and budget form
I received a FUNDING PROGRAM award last year. Can I apply again?
As long as you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you can apply again for funding.
Would you recommend submitting a letter of recommendation from a professor or an employer?
Your letter of recommendation should come from the person who knows you best, can speak well of your academic, extracurricular and professional accomplishments, and who can comment on your character such as a professor, advising dean or supervisor. We advise against asking a teacher/coach from high school to write your recommendation. We will not accept letters of recommendation written by family members, friends, resident hall advisors, student leaders, members of student organizations or classmates. Your letter of recommendation must be on official letterhead, dated and signed.
If you are reapplying to receive the WEP grant for an opportunity for a consecutive semester (such as summer continuing into fall; fall continuing into spring; spring continuing into summer) you must submit a new recommendation for the same opportunity.
Where have previous award recipients interned?
In past summers, recipients have interned locally, nationally and internationally at organizations such as the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Engineers without Borders in Uganda and Ghana, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Denso Corporation, and numerous laboratories and research centers on Columbia’s campus.
Are there any fellowships that would cover expenses for a winter break and /or spring semester unpaid internship?
Eligible students can apply to the Work Exemption Program for exemption of their in-school work expectation during the fall and spring semesters. The Fellowships Oﬃce also has a comprehensive database of opportunities and their staﬀ are available to meet with students.
Are there additional funding sources available to supplement a columbia engineering internship fund award?
Yes, there are numerous fellowships and grants available to fund summer opportunities. The Fellowships Oﬃce also has a comprehensive database of opportunities and their staﬀ are available to meet with students. Students could also reach out to professors, departmental administrators and teaching assistants to learn of fellowships and/or awards in their ﬁeld of study.
I am not eligible to apply. I really want to do an unpaid internship this summer; however, without funding, it will not be possible for me to pursue this opportunity. What do you recommend?
The Fellowships Oﬃce also has a comprehensive database of opportunities and their staﬀ are available to meet with students. Students could also reach out to professors, departmental administrators and teaching assistants to learn of fellowships and/or awards in their ﬁeld of study.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE REFLECTION PROJECT?
The reflection project is completed and submitted at the end of the semester. The project allows you to showcase and express your experience in a way that best suits your interest. The primary focus of this exercise should be on the professional experience you are having. Your project can be any of the following: video, blog or journal, essay, social media posts, Big Interview practice interview.