Interested in working with a Chicago Semester intern?

Chicago Semester is an experience-based academic program that provides undergraduate college students the opportunity to gain professional experience in the big city. Through an internship for credit in their field of study, classes that engage the city as their campus, and housing in the heart of the city, students are inspired and challenged to grow professionally, academically and personally. We invite your organization to partner with us to make this possible, by hosting CS students for internships and providing hands-on learning experience. CS seeks opportunities that truly challenge students and help them contribute to your team. As a site supervisor, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with an energetic, capable worker who is eager to begin building his or her future.

How does the intern hosting and selection process work?

  1. Pre-screen. Several months before each semester begins, CS students are pre-screened through an application process on their campus and with our program. CS staff then work with students to understand their interests and prepare their resumes for professional consideration.
  2. Identify potential site matches. CS staff begin the placement process, recruiting new potential site partners and/or determining which current site partners might be a good fit for students and their interests. Staff reach out to a variety of organizations, share resumes and invite site partners to consider interviewing one or more students.
  3. Arrange interviews. CS staff arrange one to three interviews for every student with sites that express interest. These sites, in turn, may be interviewing several students for a single internship position.
  4. Mutual decision-making. Final decisions are based on mutual agreement between the CS student and the prospective site supervisor, usually several weeks in advance of the internship start date. This opportunity to make a decision based on mutual fit fosters a strong sense of ownership and commitment for both sides of the internship match.
  5. Internship placement. Students work 32-40 hours per week depending on their Track and school’s requirements. Fall and Spring semester internships last 14-15 weeks and the summer semester internship lasts 8 weeks. Students receive academic credit for the internship, complete learning goals and are evaluated by their site supervisor at least once during the experience.

Want to get started? Click on the sidebar and tell CS about your organization!

Expectations for Sites

  1. Create projects and responsibilities which meet student learning goals and academic requirements.
  2. Host intern for a minimum of 32 hours/week. Fall/Spring Semester Program internships are 14-15 weeks long (Wednesdays are class days for most students). Summer Program internships are 8 weeks long (classes completed online, students available M-F).
  3. Provide at least one hour of weekly supervision.
  4. Complete at least one evaluation and participate in at least one site visit with CS faculty.

Expectations for Students

  1. Create and share learning goals with site supervisors which meet academic requirements.
  2. Arrive on time and work at internship for a minimum of 32 hours/week.
  3. Communicate illness or emergencies with site supervisor and CS faculty.
  4. Prepare for and participate in at least one hour of weekly supervision with site.
  5. Complete weekly timesheets and share with CS faculty (available for review upon site request).
  6. Participate in at least one evaluation complete by site supervisor and site visit with CS faculty.

Site Testimonials

"I have had the pleasure of working with several Chicago Semester interns over the years. Time and again, Chicago Semester interns have been valuable members of our team. They are engaged, motivated and passionate. Each one has brought a deep desire to learn about the world, the city and refugee resettlement. We are always eager to have Chicago Semester interns join us!"

– Léa Tienou-Gustafson

Director of Refugee Family Services, Heartland Alliance

Site Testimonials

"The Field Museum has consistently partnered with Chicago Semester over the years to attract interns interested in a variety of careers, including graphic design, human resources and exhibition development. These interns always have a positive attitude, and come prepared to learn and work. In exchange for helping them grow in their desired career paths, we get much needed help on projects that help us achieve our mission. I expect our relationship to continue with this program for many years to come!"

– Craig Merriman

Human Resources & Internship Coordinator, The Field Museum

Site Testimonials

"My company and my life are both forever blessed thanks to Chicago Semester. Over the last few years, we have developed an amazing partnership that has resulted in the highest level of talent, as it relates to interns, that I have ever worked with. The individuals are intelligent, eager to learn, respectful and committed. Year after year, each CS intern has exceeded my expectations. I am also proud to say that the individual who is second in command at the company started as an intern through CS, proving herself on multiple levels which resulted in a fulltime job offer."

– Lauren Walsh

President, LW Branding

Site Testimonials

"The Magnificent Mile Association has hosted interns from the Chicago Semester program for as long as I can remember. Some of our best interns ever have come from this program. Chicago Semester not only provides quality intern talent, they are extremely thoughtful when placing students to be sure it is the right fit. The process is extremely seamless from interviewing and hiring to the final evaluation. Chicago Semester’s staff is very engaged in the entire process and provides many resources to the sites and the site supervisors. I would highly recommend Chicago Semester’s intern program to any Chicago business looking for qualified, quality intern talent."

– Ashley Gordon

Marketing & Strategic Partnership Director, The Magnificent Mile Association

Site Testimonials

"I’ve been consistently impressed with the enthusiasm and drive in all of Chicago Semester interns. They have approached each task and project with professionalism, hard work and openness. Chicago semester does a great job preparing students for the excitement and challenges of transitioning from student life to the professional world. It’s a wonderful program to partner with."

– Krystle Reniguntala

Client Relations Center Supervisor, Northwestern Mutual – Chicago

Our Partner Sites Include


Who are Chicago Semester students?

Chicago Semester students are undergraduate juniors and seniors from more than 25 different faith-based liberal arts college and universities across the Midwest, but we also invite sophomores and recent graduates. You can find a list of our partner campuses on our About page. Students come from a variety of academic disciplines, including finance, marketing, English, event planning, exercise science, social work, student teaching, nursing and more. Visit our Semester Program and Summer Program pages to learn more about our Tracks.

How do CS internships meet academic requirements?

Students create and share learning goals with their site supervisor, which help shape tasks and projects for the semester. CS faculty and supervisors later consult this document to evaluate the student’s job performance. These evaluations inform a large portion of the students’ grade for the semester. Faculty also schedule and complete site visits to discuss the evaluations and student learning progress.

Do I need to pay my CS intern?

During the fall and spring Semester Program, the majority of students do not receive payment at their sites but are instead awarded academic credit by their colleges. However, payment is welcome, and students are always grateful to receive compensation given the expenses of city life. During the Summer Program, students often prioritize paid opportunities. While highly encouraged, it is not a requirement of partner sites. Please note that if your organization is unable to provide payment, some students are still open to unpaid opportunities.

Is it legal for CS interns to be unpaid?

Yes. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, organizations can host unpaid interns as long as their internships provide academic credit and a tangible learning benefit to the student. Click here to learn more about the Fair Labor Standards Act.

How many students usually participate in CS each year?

Chicago Semester serves around 100 students each year – approximately 30-35 in the fall, 45-55 in the spring and 20-25 in the summer.

Will I receive a CS intern every time I participate in the placement process?

While CS staff work hard to serve site partners, there are times when a match may not be made for every site who participates in interviews. Sometimes, a site may interview a student and find that he or she is not the best fit for the organization. Alternatively, a student may decide the learning experience at another site will be more beneficial. In each case, both sites and students are encouraged to consider this process a learning experience.

Do you ever have graduate students?

At this time, Chicago Semester serves only undergraduate students or recent graduates.

Can my CS intern work less than 32 hours/week?

Because students receive academic credit for their internship, they must work a minimum number of hours per semester, usually 32 hours/week or more. If you are looking to have a part-time intern for fewer hours, please reach out to CS staff to discuss further possibilities.

Can CS interns make up hours if they are sick or there is a holiday?

Yes, it is the student’s responsibility to manage their hours and communicate any change in hours to you, the site supervisor, and their CS instructors.

Can I still consider CS interns if we have our own recruiting process?

Absolutely. CS staff are more than willing to work with partner sites in this way, whether it involves meeting specific application requirements and/or having students go through more than interview. Please reach out to CS staff with additional questions.

Can my CS intern have an earlier (or later) start or end date than the CS program one?

Yes. Sometimes our students start earlier or end later than our program, depending on their site’s needs or their Track’s hour requirements and flexibility. Please reach out to CS staff for further discussion.

Do interviews take place in-person or online?

Because many CS students are not from Chicago, interviews take place via phone or videoconference. However, if you require an in-person interview, CS staff can assist with these plans and accommodations.

How do students get around city during the semester?

The majority of CS students exclusively rely on public transportation. If your internship requires a car, please reach out to CS staff to discuss further.

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