Undergraduate Internships

Through the Duke Technology Scholars Program, this Duke Engineering student had an internship at Carbon 3D in Silicon Valley.

Each year Duke engineering students take part in more than 100 engineering internships at organizations nationwide. While networking with role models and potential employers, students get to see how ideas turn into design and are then deployed. These internships provide opportunities to get hands-on, practical experience that will help students make choices early on in their academic training that will shape their careers.

Recruitment for internships (and full time jobs) begins in September/October through the Career Fair, Technical Career Fair and the TechConnect evening co-organized by Pratt, Computer Science and the Career Center. TechConnect takes place the evening before the career fairs, enabling industry representatives to conduct question and answer sessions with students in an intimate, social environment. This allows companies to quickly target the students they are interested in, and helps students feel more comfortable with the networking/interviewing process. The Career Center also sponsors a second, smaller career fair in early February.

Your Internship Search

Internships are an important factor in obtaining a competitive advantage over all the other competing engineering graduates in the job market. There is a major difference between what you learn in school and what you do on the job; an internship is a way to bridge that gap. Companies are looking for college graduates that have industry experience in addition to a degree. A student with an internship will have the necessary experience to get started right away with a job and have the knowledge of how a company atmosphere works.  An internship shows you how book knowledge turns into a service for your employer and for you, possibly, a full time job offer.

How do I find an internship?

The most effective internship searches utilize a variety of different tactics. Here are a few to try:

  • A great place to start is the Career Center website
  • Your next stop is to check internship listings online at Career Connections
  • Take advantage of on campus networking opportunities – In addition to making contacts through friends, family, current/former employers, classmates, and faculty members, there are many other networking avenues you can pursue. One place to consider is the Duke Alumni Career Networking website. You may also learn about internship openings through TechConnect, the career fair, work/study abroad programs, Industry relations emails, hometown contacts, professional associations, student organizations, trade magazines, community service/volunteer groups, and your major’s department office.
  • To be effective, you must be persistent in your internship search. Start early and seek out help from a career counselor. Have a plan that includes a great resume and cover letter, appropriate follow-up, and good record keeping. Be prepared, open-minded, flexible, and professional.

It's up to you to make all your contacts count!

When is a good time to start looking for an internship?

Your first year is not too soon to start looking and getting a feel for the process. Depending on your major, GPA, and course load requirements, you may be ready to intern. Remember that your academic work is always your first priority.

Learn more about what to consider each academic year as you plan your search. Some companies only recruit for internships in the fall (GE, ExxonMobil, Boeing) others recruit both fall and spring and yet another group recruits only in the spring.  It is important to watch CareerConnections and stay up to date on who is coming when. Also as each semester begins, campus recruiting starts quickly, so it is advantageous to be prepared! The list below is not by any means exhaustive or a guarantee for an internship or job, but it will get you off to a good start!

First-Year Students

  • Get your sea legs ... Learn about resources and tools available
  • Visit and study the career center web
  • Make an appointment with a career counselor to talk about starting a plan
  • Learn about CareerConnections and how to use the system
  • Attend info sessions
  • Attend TechConnect and the career fair (Fall and Spring)
  • Talk to upperclassmen about their internship experiences.
  • Start getting comfortable with networking

Sophomore

  • Time to get your feet wet ...
  • Maintain contact with the career center
  • Develop a resume
  • Try a mock interview
  • Watch CareerConnections for events and postings
  • Attend info sessions, eSocials and other networking events
  • Network
  • Attend TechConnect and the career fair (Fall and Spring)
  • Network
  • Apply online for internships
  • Interview

Junior

  • Get ready, set and land an internship
  • CareerConnections should be on your favorites list
  • Work with the career center or Industry Relations to polish your resume
  • Resume should be ready to go in September for fall recruiting events
  • Watch CareerConnections for events and postings
  • Attend info sessions, eSocials and other networking events
  • Network, network, network!
  • Create a LinkedIn profile
  • Attend TechConnect and the career fair (Fall and Spring)
  • Apply on line for internships
  • Interview

Senior

  • Now for the full time offer, unless you received an offer from your summer internship!
  • CareerConnections should still be on your favorites list
  • Resume should be ready to go in September for fall recruiting events
  • Watch CareerConnections for events and postings
  • Attend info sessions, eSocials and other networking events
  • Continue networking
  • Attend TechConnect and the career fair (Fall and Spring)
  • Start applying on line for jobs
  • Interview

Can I get academic credit for my internship?

No, Pratt does not offer credit for internships, nor do we have a formal co-op program. If you have an opportunity to co-op and it will work with your schedule, it is possible to intern for more than three months.

What if I am an international student?

Many companies will hire international students. Please click on this link for more information regarding visas visaservices.duke.edu

What if my question isn't answered here?

Meet with a Career Counselor or a Pratt Office of Corporate and Industry Relations staff member in person. To make an appointment:

  • Career center at 919-660-1050 to make an appointment
  • Pratt Corporate and Industry relations at 919-660-5533 or email koshaw@duke.edu

Cultivating internships and corporate support for Pratt engineering students is a collaborative effort between the Corporate and Industry Relations office at Pratt and the Career Center.  You can also download our internship request form (Word Doc) and send to Kirsten Shaw, Pratt's Director of Corporate and Industry Relations. We encourage students to take advantage of the many services offered by the Career Center including resume development assistance, and interviewing training.