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Internship Program Overview

The internship program is designed to enrich graduate studies and provide GSE students with opportunities to better connect their academic learning to real-world experience in the education sector. We strongly encourage students to only participate in internships that directly advance their career goals in the field of education.

Internships are a valuable resource to explore a new career area of interest.  An internship should be mutually beneficial; that is, the student will bring new perspectives and value to the organization while the internship adds value to student’s personal, academic, and professional pursuits. Students can also develop diverse professional relationships through participating in an internship. Past students consistently cite the following reasons for participating in internships:

  • Broadened skill set
  • Enhanced marketable skills
  • Obtained real-world experience and professional contacts in a desired field/industry/organization
  • Connected academic learning with real-world experience

On average 60% of Stanford GSE MA students complete at least one internship. Whether an internship is required, strongly encouraged, or not part of the graduate experience depends on the MA program. To find more information about MA programs that do have internship-specific requirements, see below:

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Finding an Internship

There are two main ways that students find internship opportunities.

The first (our favorite!) is when students find an internship opportunity from a posting in our EdCareers Portal. To search for an internship, log on to the EdCareers Portal, click on "All Jobs/Internships”, and use the advanced search to search by “Position Type: Internship (Student Position)”. 

Internship resources are available to you here and in the Document Library on the EdCareers Portal.

The second is when the student and organization connect with each other directly and formulate an internship that meets the goals of both parties.

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Internship Agreement

Students wishing to pursue an internship are required to submit an Internship Agreement via the EdCareers Portalfor each quarter they are interning. The Internship Agreement is essentially a “contract” between the student and manager. It’s an essential part of the process to ensure that the internship matches professional aspirations, and that clear goals are set and monitored from the beginning of each quarter. Upon logging in, click on “My Internships” in the right sidebar menu, then click on “add new” to fill out the internship agreement. There are two components to the Internship Agreement that must be completed by the deadline specified below:

  1. Description of impact and overall goals, as well as proposed tasks to reach those goals.
  2. Approvals: All Internship Agreements must be approved by 1) EdCareers staff, 2) the student’s manager. EdCareers will forward all internship agreements to the student's MA Program Director (MA students) or Faculty Advisor (PhD students) after approvals are completed. EdCareers reserves the right to reject a proposed internship if it does not meet the program requirements.

Students who (with their managers) decide to continue an internship at the same organization for an additional quarter are required to submit a new quarterly internship agreement with updated tasks and goals.

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Units & Hours

Internships can be 3-10 hours per week (or 30-100 hours per quarter) during the 10-week quarter (Autumn, Winter, Spring). Internships exceeding 10 hours per week (or 100 per quarter) are not permitted, and students are only allowed to do one internship per quarter. Students interested in completing an internship during the Summer quarter must consult with the EdCareers Associate Director to determine the appropriate number of hours.

Students may earn one unit of credit for a paid or unpaid internship. This unit of credit reflects work done specifically for the course, and not for the work being done in the internship. LDT students should enroll in EDUC 215 and MA/MBA students should enroll in EDUC 380. MA/MBA students must arrange and gain approval for their work and deliverables (beyond work done for the internship itself) with their sponsoring faculty member before enrolling in EDUC 380. Students in other programs should consult with EdCareers about the appropriate course in which to enroll, if there is one. Enrollment must be in the same quarter the student is completing the internship.

Students completing an unpaid internship have an option to earn additional units, up to three units total. Students working an average of 3-5 uncompensated hours per week (30-59 over a 10-week quarter) may earn a total of two units; students working an average of 6-10 uncompensated hours per week (60-100 over a 10-week quarter) may earn a total of three units. LDT students interested in completing an internship during the Summer quarter must speak with the LDT Program Director. All other students interested in completing an internship during the Summer quarter must consult with EdCareers staff to determine the appropriate number of units, if applicable.

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Best Practices

We encourage all students to think of the internship as a career position. To increase the likelihood that students will achieve their internship goals, we encourage students to be proactive and evaluate the internship experience by asking these questions:

  • Will the internship help me to achieve your goals (learning, work experience, development of new skills, create networking opportunities, etc.)
  • Will it open doors to where I think I want to go?
  • Will the experience expand my resume or is it more or the same work I’ve already done?
  • Does the organization’s mission resonate with my values?
  • Is the organization well-run and/or does the leadership have a strong record?
  • Are the organization’s culture and people inspiring?

Students should remember that the value of the internship depends on how well it aligns with their professional goals and aspirations.

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Role as an Intern

The internship manager’s role is two-fold: MENTOR and INTERNSHIP MANAGER. Correspondingly, this makes the student’s role two-fold: MENTEE and INTERN.

We’ve found that successful MENTEES:

  • Assess their own skills, abilities, areas of growth, and what they want to learn from the experience
  • Meet with their manager to outline achievable and measurable short- and long-term goals
  • Understand the historical context for the project (mission, principles of practice, fit within the organization, etc) and learn how their contributions fit into the larger picture.
  • Think through what they expect to learn and gain, and meet with their managers to understand his/her expectations.
  • Maximize learning by reflecting on how the job ties into what they are learning in their academic coursework.

Likewise, successful INTERNS demonstrates outstanding performance in these areas:

  • Time management, dependability, and planning
  • Work accuracy and quality
  • Judgement and problem solving ability
  • Creativity and initiative
  • Ability to work both independently and on a team
  • Adaptability, flexibility, willingness to learn
  • Communication skills (written, oral, listening)

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GSE Student Affairs Fellows Program

The GSE Student Affairs Fellows Program is designed for students interested in exploring opportunities in higher education administration, specifically in student affairs. Students participating in a GSE Student Affairs Fellows Program internship at Stanford will have the opportunity to attend a variety of departmental meetings and events with key university administrators including:

  • Quarterly Student Affairs Staff Forums
  • Student Affairs Annual Conference
  • Group meetings with Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Associate Vice Provosts

Student Affairs Fellows Program opportunities are listed in the Stanford EdCareers Portal and will have “EdCareers/Student Affairs Fellows Program” in the internship title.

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International Students

We encourage all GSE students to pursue an internship in order to build skills, make connections, and gain exposure to organizations in the education industry. International students should always consult with Bechtel International Center to ensure that an internship opportunity (paid or unpaid) does not violate any rules related to visas and employment authorizations.

For further information and resources, please see Stanford’s Bechtel International Center’s website.

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Important Dates for Internship Program

  • September 14, 2020
    Autumn quarter begins
  • October 2, 2020
    Autumn quarter Internship Agreement Deadline
  • November 6, 2020
    Autumn quarter Week 8 Feedback due
  • January 11, 2021
    Winter quarter begins
  • January 29, 2021
    Winter quarter Internship Agreement Deadline
  • March 5, 2021
    Winter quarter Week 8 Feedback due
  • March 29, 2021
    Spring quarter begins
  • April 16, 2021
    Spring quarter Internship Agreement Deadline
  • May 21, 2021
    Spring quarter Week 8 Feedback due
  • June 21, 2021
    Summer quarter begins
  • July 9, 2021
    Summer quarter Internship Agreement Deadline
  • August 13, 2021
    Summer quarter Week 8 Feedback due

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If there are any questions after reviewing the information on this page, or if anything for the internship has changed after the Internship Agreement has been submitted, please contact EdCareers at

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