Micro-internships are short-term projects or internships where students can collaborate with employers and/or MIT alumni on research, data analysis, software development, or other projects that will provide a learning opportunity while meeting a workplace need. Discover how a micro-internship helped transform the journey of one MIT student.
These opportunities will enable students to prototype different careers as well as build mentoring relationships and professional networks they can maintain beyond the experience.
- Micro-internships typically range between 4-6 weeks and 10-35 hours per week; however, terms are flexible and predicated based on the nature of the highly specific, project-based work.
- The employer/alumni and students can negotiate the specific terms, as each individual situation or need may vary.
Micro-internships are offered during the January Independent Activities Period (IAP) break. Some students may have the flexibility to undertake micro-internships during the fall or spring semesters; however, their availability is usually limited. Key Dates:
- September 15 – Post-micro-internships in Handshake
- October 12 – Begin interviewing students
- October 26 – Extend an offer to the student
- Students can have 5-7 business days to make a decision
- November – Employers should contact the student micro-interns as soon as possible to make arrangements for the experience
- January 8-February 2- Individual Activities Period (IAP) – Students participate in micro-internship
View the academic calendar for updated IAP start and end dates. Employers and students can work together the determine the appropriate start and end dates for the micro-internship. If offering a remote micro-internship, consider additional supports and supplies students might need to complete the experience, including laptops, printers, and WIFI access and security.
Hiring timelines differ 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.
MIT’s International Students Office provides detailed information regarding the approval process for F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and F-1 Pre-Completion OPT, including information about dates for work authorization and a sample offer letter that students seeking CPT need.
Employers are encouraged to visit CAPD’s information about hiring international students.
- Log in to Handshake. If you do not have an account, follow these steps to create a Handshake Employer User Account or join your company’s existing Handshake Account.
- Once your Handshake account is approved, post the opportunity. For Position Type, select “Internship.”
- For Position Title:
- Label the opportunity as: Micro-Intern: Position Title (Semester). Example: Micro-Intern: Data Analytics (IAP).
- If you are an MIT Alumni, please include the term “Alumni Host” in the micro-internship job title. Example: Micro-Intern: Data Analytics (IAP-Alumni Host).
- Complete the required job posting information. Include key information outlined on the CAPD Post Jobs, Internships, and Fellowships page.
- For the “apply start” field, select September 15.
- To ensure the greatest number of applicants, CAPD recommends not selecting labels on the Preferences page (ie: School Year Preference, Major Categories) of Handshake’s job posting page.
If you have any questions or need additional support, please contact Tavi Sookhoo, Assistant Director of Career Prototypes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All MIT undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply for micro-internships. If hiring international students, consider the timeline restrictions outlined above. MISTI students may need to meet additional program-specific requirements.
Employers and alumni should pay micro-interns fair market value for their work.
The Summer Experience Survey provides an overview of MIT student pay during summer internships, including hourly pay.
If an organization cannot meet these standards, consider paying micro-interns at least minimum wage, which is $15.00 per hour in Massachusetts. A competitive pay results in a greater number of applicants.
For global micro-internships, we understand that internship compensation practices vary by country. See the MISTI internships page for more information.
CAPD will not approve an unpaid micro-internship unless it is in accordance with the unpaid internships guidelines outlined on our site.
Non-compete laws and regulations vary by state. Students are encouraged to learn about the laws in the location of the internship or job to better understand their rights and what is allowable. The recent Workforce Mobility Act of 2021 may change the landscape for noncompete acts.
Students with questions and concerns are encouraged to seek assistance from the MIT / BU Law Clinic.
Hosts located abroad are encouraged to work directly with MIT’s MISTI program.
MISTI works closely with international partners to place hundreds of students in internships abroad each year.
MISTI program managers have expertise in the culture, language and internship practices of the host country and can assist with student recruitment, matching, logistics, and administration.
- Offer valuable learning opportunities.
- Provide a paid experience.
- Hosts are encouraged to foster connections and/or mentoring relationships with students. For example, scheduling regular check-in meetings with students, consider connecting students to relevant colleagues within the organization.
Instead of a matching process of students to alumni hosts, micro-internships will be offered by a broad set of employers.
Micro-internships are posted in Handshake and the process is similar to hiring an intern.
Alumni are strongly encouraged to host micro-interns, as MIT students highly value opportunities to build relationships with MIT alums.