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CUSP SEF Internship & Research Assistantship Funding

[UPDATE: All summer opportunities must be conducted virtually online, with the exception of experiences on Columbia University campuses.]

The CUSP Internship & Research Assistantship Funding provides partial financial support for Scholars who wish to participate in an internship or research assistantship over the summer.

The CUSP Summer Enhancement Fellowship for Internships & Research Assistantships is a competitive grant that assists Scholars in securing partial financial support for structured research and internship opportunities (including research-related activities such as conferences, symposia, travel, publications, etc.) and unpaid or low-paying summer practicums (in line with the Program’s mission and the student’s academic trajectory). This opportunity is secured solely by the student. 

All Scholars funded for Summer 2022 are expected to:

  • Post a response on an educational blog on a weekly basis during the summer, beginning in June. The final blog entry will consist of the abstract.
  • Provide a budget reconciliation report listing your CUSP-related expenses and appropriate original receipts. This will be due by the Welcome Back Dinner & SEF Showcase at the start of the Fall 2022 term.


* Welcome Back & SEF Showcase (MANDATORY ATTENDANCE)
   Monday, September 20, 2021
   6:00-8:00 p.m. ET


* SEF Information Session (MANDATORY ATTENDANCE)
 Thursday, November 4, 2021
 6:00-7:00 p.m. ET


* CUSP SEF Online Application Opens
  Friday, March 11, 2022
  An email will be sent with instructions.
* CUSP SEF Online Application Deadline
  Monday, April 18, 2022 - 11:59pm ET
  A reminder will be sent to all scholars.


For the summer, we will revert back to our pre-pandemic process where all CUSP scholars (CC, SEAS) traveling outside the 50 U.S. states on a Columbia-LedColumbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized Travel program will need to complete the Undergraduate International Travel Policy process. This includes any opportunity that is funded in whole or part by the CUSP Summer Enhancement Fellowship  for internships, research assistantships, volunteer work, or independent projects.  If you have any questions, then please feel free to contact us at  The deadline to submit your plans for the International Travel Policy process is Monday, April 18th, 2022.



  • For international students who are from a country that has a tax treaty with the US, there may be a tax responsibility of up to 14% taken from the SEF award amount.  Please review the explanation of tax liability of your stipend as described on the IRS website. You can find guidance also on the ISSO webpage
  • If you are entitled to an exemption from taxation of the SEF award, then complete the Foreign National Information Form and return it to the Human Resources Service Center. Students interested in more information about the tax exemption must email Carlos Liro-Coppa ( from Columbia University's Human Resources Service Center. 



CUSP strongly recommends that all applicants register for Direct Deposit.  Direct deposit to a U.S. checking or savings account is the University's preferred method for issuing stipends to students.  International students need to set up direct deposit for Refund and Stipend separately. Questions about direct deposit and timing of disbursement must be directed to the Student Service Center.



* APPLICATIONS FOR SUMMER 2022 WILL BE DUE MONDAY, APRIL 18th, 2022 BY 11:59PM ET.  Applications will be available online on Friday, March 11th, 2022. 

The online application can be saved as a draft, reviewed, and revised before your final submission. However, you should have available at the time of your submission: the logistical information about your internship/research assistantship and contacts; your budget breakdown (e.g. amount for housing, food, supplies) that you will enter into the form fields; and, an essay answering the supplementary questions as a .doc or .pdf. The supplemental questions will ask you to describe your internship and what motivated you to this opportunity; to explain what you intend to learn during the summer; and to list the CUSP events that you attended and how each event contributed to your understanding of this year's theme of "Disruption." If you were approved to attend alternate events due to academic conflicts, then you will have to reflect on your experiences and on the theme from those events. 

Preparation Tips:

  • You must participate in and complete the reflection forms for at least 4 CUSP events or alternate events (if applicable) by Monday, April 18th, 2022, at 11:59pm;
  • Have readily available your employment/position confirmation letter for those pursuing internships, research assistantships, or volunteer positions (more below). 
  • Prepare your responses to Supplemental Questions in advance
    • What skills (hard or soft) or competencies do you hope to gain from your experience?
    • How will your work with this organization or individual align with your academic, career, or professional interests?
    • How did the CUSP events (or alternate events) contribute to your understanding of this year’s Speaker Series theme of Disruption? [List your events and explain.];
  • Consider a realistic budget – on average, awardees receive about $4,000 for a 12-week summer experience.  With the recent economic climate and an uptick in student interest in the SEF, the amounts for this year will be variable.  You must be able to justify your budget in the application.


Applications will be evaluated by a selection committee on the basis of their overall fulfillment of the selection criteria. Incomplete applications and candidates who do not meet the criteria will not be considered. Notifications of the award decisions will be sent in mid-May. 

Criteria for Selection: To be considered for the SEF grant, applicants must: (1) have a GPA of at least 2.6; (2) be in good academic standing with Columbia College and Columbia Engineering; (3) be in good standing with CUSP.


Applications will be evaluated on: (1) the feasibility, clarity, and coherence of the responses to the Supplemental Questions; and (2) the ability of the applicant to undertake the internship/research assistantship.


Expectations of Award Recipients: Recipients of the SEF Internship/Research Assistantship award are expected to: 

  • Post responses on an educational blog on a weekly basis during the summer beginning in June, with the final blog entry consisting of the abstract summarizing their summer experience;

  • Submit at least one (1) visual representing the project when prompted in the blog;

  • Submit a budget reconciliation report listing their CUSP-related expenses and appropriate original receipts by the Welcome Back Dinner & SEF Showcase in September 2021. [Your GSM will share a budget reconciliation template during the summer.]


Human Subjects Research for SEF Independent Projects: Many applicants wish to undertake “human subjects research” in which they interview or survey people. Because of the importance of treating human subjects ethically and ensuring that no harm comes to someone who participates in research, all universities are federally mandated to oversee approval of all human subject research through an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Given the short duration of SEF Independent Projects, CUSP will not support projects by Scholars requiring IRB approval unless they are listed as an approved researcher by their faculty sponsor. For applicants wishing to undertake such research, the letter from the faculty sponsor must include a statement confirming that the IRB process has been fulfilled. For questions regarding IRB permits and whether you will need them for your proposed Independent project, please contact Annie Barry (, Assistant Manager, Institutional Review Board (IRB).  



To apply for the SEF Independent Project award, please CLICK HERE - SEF APPLICATION! The application will be open from March 11th through April 18th, 2022.

We look forward to reviewing your applications.

Questions about the SEF application? Contact us at



*IMPORTANT: CUSP does not vet the safety or security of the setting in which Scholars intend to pursue their projects. The nature of this fellowship is solely for financial support.   

Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program


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