Sanford Internship Fund

The Sanford School has limited funds available for stipends to partially defray summer expenses of students who choose to take unpaid or low-paying internships to meet the requirements of the master of public policy degrees and advance their policy careers. Our goal is to provide parity among students who choose paid and unpaid internships; however, annual allocations are limited to funds available.

Please review the following information carefully while making internship decisions.

  • These funds are not intended to cover all the costs of an internship. The school encourages students to seek other sources for funding while planning for summer expenses.

  • Allocations will be based on cost of living calculations. The school expects that stipends will be at least $3,000 for lower-cost areas, $3,500 for high-cost areas, and $4,000 for international internships.

  • Acceptance of an unpaid or low-paying internship does not guarantee that students will receive funding support from the Sanford Internship Fund. Final stipend amounts are based on funding availability and number of eligible applications submitted and may be less than the amount requested. Sponsored students are expected to use the summer resources provided by their sponsor.

  • The internship must last at least ten weeks, at least forty hours per week. The internship must be policy-relevant, as determined by the MPP Career Services Office. Research assistantships with Duke or other university faculty do not normally qualify.

  • Internships that involve working in a partisan political campaign are not eligible for funding from the Sanford Internship Fund even if the internship is approved as policy-relevant by the MPP career services office.

  • Students may request internship funds only once while enrolled at Duke and the funds may be used solely to complete the Sanford internship requirement. Two-year MPP students may apply for funds for the summer between their two years of study. Dual-degree students may apply for internship funds only for the summer immediately following their year of study at the Sanford School. Any exceptions must be approved by the MPP career services office.

  • Funded students must provide a brief report about their internship by the deadline established by the MPP career services office. In addition, students who receive funds from the internship fund must participate in at least one event for current students (such as New Student Orientation), Board of Visitors members, or admitted students to describe their internship and the process of securing an internship. Students who receive funds are also encouraged to participate in community service and fundraising activities of the Living Policy Forum and other Sanford student groups.

  • Students receiving Internship Fund awards who are traveling to a location on the Duke Restricted Regions List must register their travel and sign the High Risk Travel Waiver/Release Form prior to receiving funding. Students who receive Internship Fund awards may travel to locations that are not on the Duke Restricted Regions List without signing the waiver form, but they are requested to register their travel plans with the DukeTravel Registry. Students traveling to foreign locations will be covered under Duke’s international travel insurance policy, which provides for emergency assistance or evacuation. Forms and more information on Duke’s international travel policy can be found at

  • International students must work with Duke Visa Services or their sponsoring organization to acquire the appropriate government regulatory approval for an internship vis-à-vis Curricula Practical Training (CPT) authorization. Details can be found at

  • Application forms and deadlines will be provided each spring from the MPP career services office. If a student fails to comply with any of these guidelines, including falsifying information regarding other compensation, the full amount of the internship will be charged back to the student account prior to clearance for graduation.