Fellowships & Internships

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Fellowship application


  • Applications for Summer 2016 Fellowships are due Friday, March 18th, at noon.
  • Applications for semester-time Fellowships are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Important: If your Fellowship involves research such as surveys, tests, observation of public behavior, or the study of instructional strategies, then read and act on this.
  • Special opportunity for undergraduates! The Baker Foundation supports projects that focus on improvements in education, the provision of basic necessities (i.e. sanitation or health services), or the protection of civil liberties. If you are proposing a project in one of these areas, the Baker Foundation Committee would like to help. In addition to funding Fellowships through the PSC, they may also be able to find a faculty advisor for your work, connect you to other resources, or be a sounding board for your ideas. Contact baker_foundation@mit.edu.

Before beginning your application, please carefully review the program overview and information on eligibility, timeline and the selection process at http://web.mit.edu/mitpsc/whatwedo/internshipsandfellowships/index.html

Proceed with this application only if you can answer yes to each of the following questions:

Application Timeline

March 18, 12 pm Deadline for submitting applications
March 28 Invitations to interview sent out
March 31, April 1-6 Interviews
April 7 Offers emailed to successful applicants
April 22 Deadline for submitting required paperwork and contact information

Application Checklist

We need a complete application packet to consider you for a Fellowship, so please make sure we receive all of the following application materials:

  • Complete the online cover page
  • 2 hard copies of your project proposal to the MIT PSC, 4-104
  • 2 hard copies of your resume to the MIT PSC, 4-104
  • 1 email attachment of project proposal (as a Microsoft Word or PDF document) to fellowships-staff@mit.edu
  • 1 email attachment of resume (as a Microsoft Word or PDF document) to fellowships-staff@mit.edu
  • 1 letter of commitment from your project supervisor
  • 1 letter of recommendation from MIT faculty or staff member

Save and attach your proposal and resume files using the naming formula fullname_proposal and fullname_resume. For instance, John Doe’s documents would be named johndoe_proposal.doc and johndoe_resume.doc.

Please Read Before Writing Your Application:
Be specific in your application. Don’t just tell us what you are going to achieve – show us how you’re going to do it. There are suggested limits on your answer length, so make each word count.  Provide concrete examples and clear connections between your work plan and your goals. And remember, we are probably not be technical experts in your field, so write in clear language anyone would be able to understand.

(length limits are suggestions)

Demographic information


Project title

Project abstract (200 words)

Summarize your application.

Be clear, specific, and jargon-free. Pretend that a friend who knows little about your project asks you to explain your proposed work. How would you describe it to them? Include the name of the community or organization you will be serving and its location.

Funding total

How much money are you requesting from the PSC?

Community needs and community partner (1-2 pages)

Identify the community you will be serving and the organization or people you will be working with.

Who is your main community partner, what is their role in the community or organization, and how will they support your work?

Describe the need that you and your community partner will address and explain why it's significant. As specifically as possible, describe the impact you intend your project to have on the community. How will the community be different because of your work? What are the sustainable benefits of your project? Who will benefit?

The rest of your application must explain how you are going to address the community needs you describe, so focus on the local rather than global scale. For instance, it is not relevant to know that 2 billion people world-wide lack clean drinking water but it is relevant for us to know that you plan to provide clean drinking water to 30 households that currently lack it.

Work plan (1-2 pages)

Essentially, this is your plan of attack. Imagine you are describing your work plan to someone who needs to implement it without you. What are your goals? What steps will you need to take and in what sequence in order to accomplish those goals? What is the timeline for this work? How will you evaluate your success in meeting your goals? Roughly, how will your time be organized and spent? What preparation do you need to do? Describe your plan primarily in words, not charts.

If you are applying with other people, outline each person's role in the project and how you will work together.

Time available

How long, in weeks, do you plan on spending on your project at the location specified? Will you be working part-time or full-time and how will this shape your work plan? If you will also be doing significant work from MIT during the semester before or after, outline this work plan.

Qualifications (half page)

What qualifies you to make a success of this project? Describe what you bring to this project in terms of directly applicable skills, knowledge, first-hand experience, job experience, hobbies, etc. What, if any, courses have you taken will provide particular background for your project (4 courses max)? We will also read your resume, but we want you to explain how your skills will help you to do the proposed work.

Language fluency

List the languages you know that may help you in the community you will be serving. Give the skill level (fluent/intermediate/beginner) for both written and oral competencies for each language you list.

Teamwork (half page, if relevant)

If you will be working with other people on this project, list each team member and their MIT affiliation (if any) even if the other people are not applying for a Fellowship through the PSC. If any of the team members are applying for a Public Service Fellowship or other PSC funding, indicate this.

Describe each person's roles and responsibilities. How will your jobs intersect and support each other? Would you consider doing the project if not all members of the team receive funding? Tell us what sort of role you prefer to take in a team, and what sort of people you do and do not enjoy working with on a team. 

Note: If you are applying with other people for a group Fellowship, each group member MUST write and submit individual applications. The selection committee will award Fellowships based on applicants' individual merits, so there is no guarantee that people who apply together will be selected together.

Motivation and personal outcomes (half page)

Tell us why you want to do this work. What is driving you to take on this challenge? Do you have previous experience working on this issue or in the particular community in which you have proposed this project? What do you want to learn or experience? Will the work advance your personal or professional career?

Safety and cultural impact (1 page)

Outline your safety considerations for the project. What are the main safety issues in the location you will be working in? What steps will you take to prioritize your safety and what resources have you identified to help you stay safe? Does your project have any safety implications for the community you are serving and how will you address these?

If you are planning a project in a relatively high-risk location, you will need a particularly strong safety plan and work plan.

Help us to understand how the cultural context will affect your project. Tell us about any experience you have living and/or working with other cultures. How might you prepare yourself for living in the cultural context relevant to the project you are applying for?


Fellowship funding is intended primarily for living and travel expenses.

Include a project budget explaining:

  1. What you need funding for (e.g. plane tickets, accommodation, ground transportation, food).
  2. How much each item will cost. For ongoing expenses like accommodation, list the weekly and total expense.
  3. What funds you have for the project so far (including your own money if you can contribute any), other sources you have applied for and intend to apply for, and how much you are requesting from the PSC. If any of these funds can only be spent on certain types of expenses, note this.

If you receive funding from other sources after applying to the Fellowships program, we require that you notify us of this and we may make appropriate funding modifications in consultation with you.

Fellowship funding is intended primarily for living and travel expenses.

Letter of commitment from community partner

The letter of commitment must be from a key community partner you will collaborate with. This letter should outline the project idea, describe how the Fellow and community partner plan to work together, show the community partner's commitment to supporting the student with project advice and useful local knowledge where appropriate, and acknowledge that the Fellow has ownership of the project. Click here for the letter of commitment information and format we would like your community partner to follow.

Letter of recommendation from MIT faculty or staff member

The letter of recommendation must be from an MIT faculty or staff member (professor, advisor, coach, work supervisor). This person should be in a position to vouch for your achievements, abilities, character, and motivation. Their comments must be pertinent to your ability to carry out the project(s) you are applying for, so you must provide your reference with at least your project abstract well in advance of the deadline. The more information you can provide the better. Click here for the Letter of Recommendation information and format we would like your recommender to follow.

The recommendations are confidential -- your recommender may choose to send you a copy, but you should not request one. Your recommendation should be emailed to fellowships-staff@mit.edu by March 18.

Note: If you are applying for a group Fellowship, each applicant needs a separate MIT faculty reference. The group may submit a single letter of support from your community partner as long as this letter mentions each group member by name and shows awareness of the full scope of the project.

Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects

If your Fellowship involves human subjects research such as surveys, tests, observation of public behavior, or the study of instructional strategies, then you must apply for approval from the Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects (COUHES) and complete an online human subjects training course. Visit http://web.mit.edu/committees/couhes for details.

Service projects typically fall into the “exempt” category, which requires COUHES approval and passing the online course, but is a relatively fast and straightforward process. However, you should start working on this soon!

Note that the Fellowships Administrator, Alison Hynd, is authorized to sign exempt forms for Fellows as the “Faculty Sponsor.” In contexts where it’s not realistic for community partners involved in the research to take the online training or equivalent, then you may instead propose a training session to ensure your community partners understand the fundamentals of ethical research with human subjects.

Don’t worry – we can help with all this!