Unpaid Internship/Research Assistantship

Unpaid Internships

A student participates in a guided internship or practicum experience for the purpose of career or academic advancement. Internships must be clearly in line with the students’ future goals and grounded in the scholarship surrounding the chosen field.

Unpaid Research Assistantships

A student engages in a guided assistantship, externship, or practicum experience under the supervision of an approved mentor who interacts with the student on a frequent basis to discuss the student’s progress, experiences, and reflection on the activity. The student develops a working knowledge of the disciplinary literature relevant to the activity, maintains written documentation appropriate to his/her discipline, and submits a final project document that integrates the assistantship experience with his/her academic training. Assistantships can take place in a laboratory, a think-tank, or through individual work with a faculty mentor.

Grant Requirements:

Students should indicate if there is a formal application process (separate from the Common Application) for the internship or research apprenticeship for which they seek funding. Students will be required to submit a copy of that application as well as the acceptance letter to CUSE.

  1. A Proposal (4-5 double-spaced pages) that includes:
    1. A 100-200 word Abstract describing the proposed internship/assistantship.  The abstract should introduce the organization, an overview of the activities in which you will participate, and highlight your major goals.
    2. A description of the organization offering the internship or research assistantship. 
    3. A discussion of the research question or topic you are considering that may be informed by the internship/assistantship experience.
    4. A detailed description of the activities you expect to undertake within that time frame, with start and end dates. 
    5. A description of the learning goals for the internship or research assistantship.
    6. A discussion of how the internship/assistantship experience relates to your academic work, particularly as it relates to your goals for research, scholarship, or creative endeavors (e.g. how the internship/assistantship lays the groundwork for a senior thesis, capstone, or other project), andyour overall trajectory post-graduation.
    7. A clear engagement with the scholarly literature, as demonstrated by in-text citations AND a short bibliography of works relevant to the research (for research assistantships) or the focus/work of the internship.
    8. Any additional information or items relevant to your proposal.
  2. A Letter of Recommendation from a supervising Notre Dame faculty member.
    • After you have submitted your proposal using the Common Application, the faculty member should recieve an email with instructions for uploading their letter. Faculty will not be able to submit their letter until after the proposal has been submitted. We allow a 5-day grace period beyond the deadline to receive letters of recommendation. Grant proposals for which we do not receive a faculty recommendation five days beyond the original deadline will not be considered for funding. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that their faculty mentor uploads their recommendation letter in a timely manner.
  3. An itemized Budget using the approved CUSE student budget form
    • CUSE budget guidelines can be found here. The budget must be itemized and show all your calculations for figuring out each cost and a source to justify those calculations.  It is the student's responsibility to develop a budget that is complete and accurate. Students must submit their budget on URApply with the student budget form. Any changes to a budget after the project is awarded, such as transfers between line items, must be pre-approved by CUSE. 
  4. A completed domestic travel waiver if traveling within the United States. Students traveling internationally must register their travel with Notre Dame International.
    • *Please DO NOT complete the travel registry until you have received notification that you have received an award from CUSE (disregard the automated email that URApply sends requesting one). 
  5. Human subjects / IRB approval, if applicable.
    • Students engaging in research involving human subjects must complete research ethics training and submit a protocol to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for approval. Students who require IRB approval to conduct research must submit a copy of the approval from Notre Dame Research. Follow the link for more information on IRB and the training and submission process
Funding Limits:
  • Academic Year: $1500
  • Summer $3000

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