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Internships and Labs

Do you have a research opportunity you'd like to share with our STS students? If so, please fill out the following form.


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.

Curricular 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

By Stanford policy for all majors, CPT “is an authorized period of employment that is an integral or important part of a student’s curriculum... The employment must be clearly related to your field of study.”

What this means for you: your internship must have a clear and direct relationship to the content and goals of the STS major. For this reason, many internships will NOT qualify for CPT credit through STS.

For example, most internships in the financial sector (banks, brokerages, hedge funds, and the like) are unlikely to qualify (though students are welcome to make a case if they believe there is a genuine fit.) Before applying for any CPT internship, please ask the STS Student Services Officer to help you choose opportunities that fit your curriculum.

To seek CPT approval, please submit:

  • A 1-2 page statement of how the specific duties of your internship will enrich and support your STS curriculum.
  • Your internship offer letter. If your offer letter does not describe specific duties – i.e., exactly what you’ll be doing as an intern – you should ask the internship provider to write a brief statement of those duties. Business jargon is unhelpful, but clear, concrete examples of what you might do in a typical day are useful.

Once again: STS cannot grant your CPT request if it does not clearly and directly support your STS curriculum and educational goals. We will not grant a CPT request solely for the purpose of maintaining an F-1 visa during the internship period. Please plan accordingly.

If you’re not applying for CPT credit, you can do any internship you like!

Our CPT submission form is here.

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: