Hire Our Talent!

The Career Design Lab is looking forward to working with diverse industry partners and connecting you with out outstanding students and alumni!

Post an Employment Opportunity

Joining SPS Talent gives you access to School of Professional Studies students and alumni, from those seeking internships and entry-level roles to experienced professionals wanting to advance their careers.

SPS Talent is powered by 12twenty, the preferred choice vendor for top business and professional schools. Come see why!

STEM-Designated Programs

The Columbia University School of Professional Studies offers six Master of Science programs that are STEM-designated, which grants graduates an additional 24 months of work authorization on Optional Practical Training (OPT). Those programs are:

Hiring International Talent

International students offer a wide range of skills and abilities, including multiple languages and cross-cultural skills, maturity, flexibility, proven ability to adapt to new situations, and knowledge of work practices in another country. International students generally hold F-1 (student) visas while studying in the United States. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) permits students to undertake internships during their studies and full-time employment for a specific period of time after graduation for practical training. The INS defines practical training as paid employment related to the student’s field of study. If you have questions about hiring international students, please consult your human resources department or refer to the Columbia University International Students and Scholars Office.

Employer Quick Guide to Hosting an Internship

Thank you for working with the Columbia University School of Professional Studies – Career Design Lab (CDL) to host an intern. We believe in the value of internships which provide rich and meaningful experiences for students to thrive in the professional world and set the foundation for gaining a competitive edge. CDL works collaboratively with internship hosts and students throughout the process before, during and after an internship. The purpose of this guide is to provide employers an overview of the development of an internship program. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at careerdesignlab@columbia.edu

What Is An Internship? 

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) defines an internship as a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional workplace setting (across in-person, remote, or hybrid modalities). Internships provide students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience, develop social capital, explore career fields, and make connections in professional fields. In addition, internships serve as a significant recruiting mechanism for employers, providing them with the opportunity to guide and evaluate potential candidates. 

Unpaid Internship

For unpaid internships, refer to the The Test for Unpaid Interns and Students on the Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act. We strongly encourage employers that hire SPS students to offer monetary pay, stipend  or other forms of compensation for their experiences. 

Internship for Domestic Students Not for Credit 

Domestic students are eligible for internships without any restrictions. Employers refer to the “Recruitment and Selection” section of this guide for best practices. 

Internship for International Students & Regulatory Considerations

The internship course at Columbia University School of Professional Studies is 3 credit hours and students must work a total of at least 210 hours by the end of the term registered for the internship course. International students should refer to ISSO’s CPT(Curricular Practical Training) guidelines for more information on part-time vs. full-time work. The student, the supervisor, and SPS are in agreement about the scope of the internship, its relationship to the student’s education, start and end dates, hours of work, academic credit, and learning objectives.

International Student Eligibility & Responsibility 

Students attending SPS on an F-1 student visa must receive school authorization for all paid off-campus internship work through Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Students must be in active F-1 status for one academic year in the U.S. (two consecutive full-time terms) to be eligible for elective CPT and are eligible to receive academic credit for an internship in which they are also receiving compensation. In order to earn academic credit for an internship, students must meet the eligibility requirements and complete an Experiential Learning Application in SPS Talent

  • Internships must be minimum 20 hours a week for 10.5 weeks 
  • Internship must be aligned with the academic program the student is enrolled in 
  • The deadline to secure an internship and register for the internship course is one week prior to the start of classes. Requests beyond this point will not be considered. 
  • Students are typically eligible to intern for credit no sooner than the second semester of their graduate program. 
  • Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and must be in good academic standing. If in doubt, students should confirm their academic status and individual program requirements with their academic advisor.)

Recruitment and Selection

Create a job description and post it on SPS Talent. Below are guidelines of what should be included in the description. 

  • Internship Title: Clearly state the title of the position.
  • Summary/Objective of the Internship: Provide a brief overview of the role’s purpose and primary responsibilities.
  • In-person/Virtual/Hybrid Internship: Indicate where & how the internship will take place.
  • Duration of internship: Indicate the range of dates of the internship.
  • Responsibilities/Duties: Outline the specific tasks and duties the intern will be expected to perform.
  • Qualifications/Requirements: Detail the skills, experience, education, and certifications necessary to excel in the role.
  • Key Competencies: Highlight the key attributes or competencies required for success in the position, such as communication skills, problem-solving abilities, or technical proficiency.
  • Reporting Structure: Clarify who the position supervisor will be.
  • Compensation and Hours: Specify the salary or stipend being offered for the internship and the number of hours each week the intern will be working. 
  • Start and End Date of Internship: Include the anticipated start and end dates for the internship experience. . 
  • Company Overview: Provide a brief overview of the company, its mission, values, and culture.
  • Application Instructions: Clearly outline how candidates should apply for the position, including any required documents or application procedures.

By including these elements, the internship description can effectively communicate the expectations and requirements of the role to potential candidates and help attract qualified applicants. We will work closely with you to promote your internship opportunity with our eligible students, by including in our newsletters and reaching out directly to our students.

Written Offer 

Once a student receives an internship offer, the student then reaches out to their primary Academic with the official offer letter. The offer letter should include:  

  • Official company letterhead  
  • Have a specific start date and a specific end date
  • Include the address of the employer
  • The letter should indicate if the student will be working remotely, in-person or hybrid from NY-area home
  • Include the number of hours per week the student will work
  • Include a detailed description or list of position duties
  • Be signed and dated by employer

Approval of Academic Advisor

The academic advisor from the program that the student is enrolled in will review the offer to make certain it meets the program rigor and approves it. If the student is International, they will need to complete the CPT form and send it back to the student.

  • The student then logs into SPS Talent and completes an internship application by clicking on “New Experience” in the “Experiential Learning” section. This includes uploading a completed CPT form (if on a F-1 student visa) and an offer letter in the ‘Documents and Forms” section. The student should then submit for approval.
  • Advising and CDL will then review the application and either approve or request more information from the student, if needed.
  • The student should also add themselves to the waitlist for their program-specific internship course section (found on the Directory of Classes). Once the SPS Talent application has been approved, the student will be added to the class from the waitlist and will be registered for the course.

Onboarding and Orientation

As part of the “Internship with Industry” course, we ask direct supervisors to meet with their intern in the first few days of the internship. In this meeting we strongly encourage the supervisor to establish a minimum of three SMART Goals with the intern oto help guide them through the experience. Important questions to answer before arrival include: 

  • Dress code for the office/virtual meetings
  • Anticipated hours and schedule 
  • How to get to the office 
  • Any advice on getting from the airport to housing, if not straightforward 
  • Sharing best contact information for once they arrive 
  • First day expectations  
  • Any useful pre-reading or preparation for the organization, project, or country
  • Emergency contact at work who could be the supervisor of another staff member from internship site 

Training and Development

Provide interns with meaningful learning experiences, including assigning challenging projects that allow for transfer of classroom learnings to the workplace. , Encourage them to explore mentorship, affinity groups, and engaging in training opportunities.

Supervision and Support

Provide interns with regular feedback, guidance, and support throughout their internship.

Cross-Cultural Communication

Provide tips for communicating effectively with international interns and fostering a culturally inclusive work environment.

Evaluation and Feedback

An internship can only be a true learning experience if constructive feedback is provided. An effective evaluation will focus on the interns’ initial learning objectives identified at the start of the internship. Supervisors should take time to evaluate both the student’s positive accomplishments and areas for improvement. Interns will look to their supervisors to help them transition from the classroom to the workplace. It is recommended that supervisors meet  regularly so the  intern receives and provides feedback concerning their performance. 

Resources and Further Reading

Provide additional resources and references to your interns as needed. 

Supervisor Evaluation Form

A final evaluation of the intern will be requested and considered as part of their grade. The evaluation form will be sent to the supervisors directly from the  “Internship with Industry” course lecturer. We ask ALL employers to fill out the form and share your feedback with your intern.