What is a Micro-Internship?

Micro-internships are short-term projects or internships offered by MIT alumni and other employers. These opportunities occur over the January Individual Activities Period (IAP) and are open to undergraduate and graduate students. Micro-internships help you develop new skills, explore your career options and connect with the MIT network.

Are you an MIT Alum or employer looking to hire a micro-intern? Here are additional details relevant to you.

How Do I Find a Micro-Internship?

  • Log into Handshake.
  • Select Jobs.
  • Type “micro-intern” in the search box or select Jobs -> All Filters -> and select “micro-internships” under the filter Labeled by your school.
  • Each micro-internship posting will specify whether the opportunity is connected with an alumni host.

What is the Application Process?

The application process for a micro-internship is similar to applying for a traditional internship except the process may advance more quickly. Each posting will have specific application instructions and you will also interview with the company. The key dates listed are recommended and employers may contact you at varying times for an interview.

Key Dates

September 16 – Micro-internships are in Handshake and students begin applying

Note: The application deadlines for micro-internships vary, so apply as soon as possible

October 11 – Employers begin interviewing candidates

October 25 – Employers extend the offer to the student

**Students have 5-7 business days to make a decision**

November – Employers begin to contact micro-interns to make arrangements for the experience

January 6-January 31 – Individual Activities Period (IAP) – Students participate in micro-internship. Students and employers are encouraged to work together to determine the appropriate start and end dates for the micro-internship.

  • In general, applicants will be asked to submit a resume and cover letters, employers might require additional application materials.
  • Expectations for participating in a micro-internship are very similar to those for students participating in the recruiting process for internships. View the recruiting guidelines for students.
  • For international opportunities, students should contact MISTI regarding processes and requirements.

Schedule an appointment via Handshake to meet with a CAPD staff member for help with your application or to prepare for an interview.

Guidance for International Students

Undergraduate and graduate international students hired for a micro-internship must receive off-campus work authorization (CPT, OPT, or AT) before they can begin. OPT authorization can take up to 120 days for processing. International students are strongly encouraged to first review the ISO’s information on employment and then contact their ISO advisor with any follow-up questions regarding their eligibility for these micro-internship opportunities.

Before you apply:

  • Verify that you’re eligible to get off campus work authorization
    • First Year International Students (graduate or undergraduate) are NOT eligible for off-campus employment authorization in their first year.  All new students must be in the US enrolled in a full-time program for a minimum of one academic year (two full terms) before they are eligible for off campus work authorization. Of campus authorization is required to engage in micro-internships and student must be eligible for either CPT or pre-completion OPT. J-1 status students must apply for Academic Training.
    • If you are eligible for both OPT and CPT but you are considering CPT, please be sure to check with your major field of study program administrator or graduate program administrator regarding whether you have an internship or experiential learning subject in your degree program curriculum that will count towards fulfilling graduation requirements and that you are eligible to complete this subject. This is required to apply for CPT (unless the student is in a Master’s/PhD program and the internship is based on thesis course). See CPT website for details.
  • Select and apply ONLY for experiences that align with your field of study (all off campus work authorization must be directly related to student’s major field of study)
  • Be sure to review the ISO employment website for information on off campus employment: https://iso.mit.edu/employment/.

If you accept a micro-internship:

  • Begin the process to get off campus work authorization IMMEDIATELY

For Masters or PhD students, if you have already completed all coursework requirements, but just have thesis remaining, you may not be eligible for CPT authorization.  

If you are not eligible for CPT authorization, then you need to apply for Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization. This application requires an application with $410 fee to USCIS and it currently takes 90-100 days on average to get approved. ​

The ​ISO website provides extensive details about CPT and Pre-Completion OPT, carefully review the information and reach out to your ISO Advisor with specific questions.

Will I Be Paid?

CAPD strongly recommends that all micro-interns are paid.

  • Employers are encouraged to pay students fair market value for their work or at least minimum wage.
  • If you are considering completing an unpaid micro-internship, please reach out to Tavi Sookhoo at tsookhoo@mit.edu to discuss your particular situation.

Global Micro-Internships

If you are interested in doing a micro-internship with a company located abroad, your micro-internship will be administered through the MISTI programMISTI program managers have expertise in the culture, language, and internship practices of the host country and can assist with internship funding, preparation, logistics, and administration.

What Happened to the Externship Program?

The MIT Externship Program has been transformed into micro-internship opportunities. Instead of a matching process of students to alumni hosts, micro-internships will be offered by a broad set of employers. While alumni may host some of the micro-internships, any employer can offer these opportunities. Also, there are no longer set application deadlines, we encourage students to apply to micro-internships as they become available.

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