Intellectual Entrepreneurship: Becoming an IE Pre-Grad Intern

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The internship is open to undergraduates in all UT colleges and schools in the fall or spring semesters (not available for summer).To participate and earn academic credit, you must currently be a UT-Austin undergraduate with a minimum 2.25 GPA and plan on undertaking the internship prior to graduation. Participation is contingent upon finding a graduate student mentor and/or faculty member willing to supervise in your chosen field of study, before submitting an Internship Contract.  An Internship Contract must be submitted before you can register for the course.

Submit an Internship Contract

NOTE TO NON-CMS MAJORS: The maximum number of CMS hours that a non-major may take is 9 hours. This total includes all courses completed (in-residence or by transfer), those currently in progress, and those for which a student may be registered. If a student plans on completing CMS 364M/264M/164M, it is highly recommended that the student complete it prior to reaching her or his CMS limit.  Students who have officially declared a CMS minor are allowed to complete additional CMS coursework; however, students are allowed to take ONLY the amount of hours required for that minor. If you are a CMS minor and wish to complete this course, it is recommended that you complete the course within the requirements for your minor.

Choosing a Discipline

Research is key. You must first ascertain in what discipline you would like to do graduate study. In many—though not all—cases the chosen field could be the same as your undergraduate major. Understand, however, that graduate degrees do not necessarily correspond to academic departments and that many graduate degree programs seek students from a variety of related disciplines. There are even some graduate programs that do not have an undergraduate major and vice versa. A complete list of UT-Austin graduate degree programs may be found on-line. Each program has a web page describing the degree and the various areas of concentration.

Choosing a Graduate Student Mentor/Faculty Supervisor

Once you have located a graduate program, it is best to talk with faculty and graduate students in that discipline to seek someone to work with. If you do not know faculty or graduate students, you might contact the program's Graduate Coordinator. S/he will be able to assist you and make recommendations about faculty and graduate students to contact. A list of all Graduate Coordinators is available.

If you wish to find a mentor in Law, please send an email to and request to be matched with a UT Law student.

Receiving Course Credit for the Internship

Interns may receive credit for the internship via enrollment in CMS 164M, 264M or 364M. Which course you choose depends on the internship activities specified in the contract and the number of hours you spend undertaking those activities. In other words, the amount of credit should equal the amount of work you put in. This is a discussion that should occur between you and your mentor and/or faculty supervisor while putting together the internship contract. You will be asked to specify which of the three courses you wish to enroll in on the contract. Students may not earn more than three hours total for the internship.

Internship Activities

Internship activities include but are not limited to: observation of undergraduate teaching done by graduate student teaching assistants, attending graduate classes, seminars and departmental research colloquia, undertaking a research project (similar to what you might engage in as a graduate student), attending meetings of graduate professional organizations, journal groups, lab sessions and other academic gatherings for graduate students and faculty, discussing your discipline, graduate study and career development with faculty and graduate students, observing graduate student/faculty interactions (where permitted), attending state, regional or national conferences run by the discipline's professional organizations. There are, of course, many other possibilities; you and your mentor/supervisor should work out the specific details of your internship.

Remember that the internship is what you and your mentor make of it.  Your mentor is there to listen to your inquiries and goals and to facilitate this academic and professional journey for you. Make sure to fully discuss your goals for the internship with your mentor when you two meet to create the "curriculum" or plan for the internship semester and sign the contract.  Additionally, it is important to revisit these goals throughout the semester as the internship is intended to be organic and fluid.  Keeping the channels of communication open will allow you and your mentor to make the most of this experience.

Another important and enriching activity that you may consider is attending an academic/professional conference with your mentor. IE Travel Grants may be available to support conference attendance. Contact Dr. Darwin directly for further information on travel grants.

Internship Requirements

In addition to your independent work with your mentor/supervisor, you will also be required to complete the following in order to receive your grade for the internship:

  • Attend a mandatory IE Pre-Grad group meeting once a month throughout the semester (dates and times of these meetings will be given to you upon enrollment).
  • Complete four written assignments. For details on these assignments please visit the Syllabus page.

Grading Your Internship

Your final grade will be determined by an evaluation of your semester's performance by your mentor/supervisor PLUS your successful completion of the requirements listed above.

Students who enroll in the Pre-Grad Internship via CMS 164M/264M/364M will automatically be enrolled on a graded basis. If you wish to take the course on a pass/fail basis, you will be responsible for making that change via proper university channels by the posted university deadlines for the semester. NOTE TO COMMUNICATION MAJORS: the College of Communication does not allow their majors to enroll in communication courses on a pass/fail basis for credit. All communication majors MUST take CMS 164M/264M/364M on a GRADED basis.

If you will be undertaking credit for the internship via a course other than CMS 164M/264M/364M, please consult with that department for pass/fail eligibility. In all cases, you should always consult with your undergraduate academic advisor to inquire about your pass/fail options.

Enrolling in the Class

Once you have determined your discipline and have secured a graduate student mentor/supervisor, you are ready to complete the course contract (see below). In order to submit the contract you will need to know the name and address of either a graduate student mentor AND/OR a faculty supervisor for your Internship. Only one of these is required for submission. Also, make sure that you have determined the appropriate course credit for your internship (either CMS 164M, 264M, or 364M) -- discuss this with your mentor or supervisor before you submit. Contracts will be accepted through the FOURTH class day of each semester, but not after. You will receive registration instructions upon receipt of your contract.