Internships and Labs

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The STS Program encourages its majors to pursue internship opportunities in public service, research, and professional development. The Program does not run an in-house internship program, nor is an internship experience required for the STS degree. STS Majors may receive credit for an internship once during their career at Stanford, subject to approval by the STS Director or Associate Director and typically for no more than 1 unit of credit. However, you may get academic credit for an internship even if it does not count toward the STS major.

The Program's peer advisors are the first point of contact for students who would like to identify or evaluate an internship opportunity. The Program also works with STS alumni to identify new internship opportunities for majors.

Two excellent resources for internship opportunities are the Haas Center for Public Service and BEAM: Bridging Education, Ambition & Meaningful Work.

How Do I Get Academic Credit for an Internship?

STS Majors may receive credit for an internship just once during their career at Stanford, subject to related concentration area approval by the STS Director or Associate Director and typically for no more than 1 unit of credit. However, you may get academic credit for an internship even if it does not count toward the STS major (per the guidelines below).

Some organizations or firms may require that you be able to receive academic credit for an internship, particularly if it is unpaid. You should determine whether academic credit is required as early as possible in the application process. If academic credit is required, you will need to arrange for both an academic department and a faculty member to sponsor you in an independent study.

You must be proactive in finding a professor in an academic department related to your internship field. You will need to enroll in an independent study with the professor’s home department, and then define tangible milestone(s) such as related readings, assignments, or a research project in order to receive credit for your internship at the end of the quarter. For example, a student in an internship related to public relations for an educational technology company might sign up for a independent study with a Communication professor (COMM 199), agree upon assignments that are related to the internship, and then receive a grade at the end of the quarter.

More information on academic credit and internship letters can be found on the Career Development Center website.

Curriculum Practical Training (CPT)

CPTs are available for declared STS majors maintaining a valid F-1 visa during summer quarter only. Information on CPT eligibility may be found on the Bechtel International Center website. Students must obtain an internship in a relevant research or industrial activity to enhance their professional experience consistent with their STS degree program and area of concentration. If a student is engaged in employment not directly related to their field of study, they are in violation of their F-1 status, and this will have long-term immigration consequences.  Therefore, students must reach out to the program about all internships BEFORE they apply, to determine if the internship is related to their STS field of study. Failure to obtain approval may result in a denial of your CPT request if you obtained an internship and it is not deemed relevant to STS.


After obtaining approval, the student is responsible for arranging their own internship and must obtain an offer letter before submitting the CPT proposal form for the STS Program Director's evaluation and approval. Once approved, the student may enroll in STS 199A, offered summer quarter only, for 1 unit. The deadline to submit a proposal is no later than three weeks before the preceding quarter has ended. At the end of the internship, a one-page final report must be submitted to the STS Program Director documenting work done and relevance to degree program. 


Research is an integral part of the STS academic experience. Labs include not only traditional science and engineering laboratories at Stanford, but also interdisciplinary research centers. Majors can earn up to 5 units of credit toward their STS degree conducting such research. 

The labs and research centers in which STS majors can conduct research include the following: