Externships & Internships

Student Registration on mySwarthmore: Tues. Oct., 20 8:30am thru Wed. Oct., 21 4:30pm.

Wonder what it would be like to be a public defender? Emergency room physician? Magazine editor? Public interest lobbyist? International consultant? Environmental activist? City planner? Economist? Teacher?  Consider taking part in an externship or internship to find out.

An externship is a "mini-internship" or a one-week job-shadowing experience designed to offer a glimpse of a career. Swarthmore alumni, parents of students, and friends of the College offer assignments in many environments. You could be in a laboratory, museum, office, art gallery, theater, environmental interest group, publishing company, labor union, economic think tank, or other work situation. Extern Week runs the last week of Winter Break and each year there are a broad range of exciting externships in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and other cities. Externships are unpaid. To help make externships affordable, some alumni offer housing for that week. Although transportation and meals are the student's responsibility, many hosts live close to public transportation and offer breakfast and dinner to their externs. So if you like, you can broaden your experience even further by living with a Swarthmore alum and his/her family during your externship. To register for the Extern Program, attend an externship orientation in Career Services and register through your mySwarthmore account prior to the deadline in October each year. Our FAQ guide to the Extern program provides other helpful information. To arrange your own externship, follow these guidelines and meet with a career counselor if you need assistance.  Finding Your Externship [pdf].


An internship helps you gain experience in a particular field or job function under the guidance of an employer. It can be paid or unpaid, and it can be during the academic year or during the summer. Participating in internships is a great low-risk opportunity to build your resume and explore career options. Internships can serve as stepping stones as you develop skills and make contacts in your fields of interest. It is never too early nor too late to participate in internship opportunities. Internships should be part of your college experience. Employers rate internship experience as a top factor in evaluating candidates for employment; thus, internships are an essential part of preparing for life beyond Swarthmore. Be sure to apply for several internships as you won't be offered each one. Deadlines vary by industry; most organizations recruit candidates at least one semester in advance.  Check out our Internship Resources and download our Internship Guide [pdf].

If you had a great time with your alumni sponsor during our extern program, why not ask them if you can come back this summer? This is a great way to enhance your learning opportunities, develop valuable skills and build your career. If your sponsor cannot pay you, Career Services offers Summer Experiential Fellowship Grants of $4,350 each for 10 weeks of full time unpaid internships approved by the selection committee. These grants are intended to make a summer internship possible where the student needs to get paid and the alum cannot offer a salary. Externships must have been completed this year through the official Career Services' Extern Program, and graduating seniors are not eligible. This is a competitive application process, so please work closely with your alumni sponsor to submit a strong application. The deadline for submission is February 2016. To view the application, click here [doc].