For Host Organizations

Community Semester

A full-time, intensive academic and service experience in New York City

Provide an internship opportunity that connects your organization’s vision to students who are passionate about social and economic justice. Support and enhance their academic and professional opportunities. Add capacity to your organization.


The Internship Opportunity

The Community Semester program follows the 15- week academic calendar and students must participate in a week-long training and orientation at the Murphy Institute before beginning their 15-week internship. Students will intern for a maximum of 28 hours a week at their host site, which may include weekends and evening hours provided these times do not interfere with the program's class schedule. The host organization and the student determine the internship schedule jointly. Students who intern for a full 8-hour day are entitled to a 30-minute lunch break during those days. 


Types of Assignments

Internship opportunities will vary, and students may be placed in a variety of roles within your organization. These may include: organizing; conducting research or community outreach; participating in constituent services; and working on publications, educational campaigns, communications or political action campaigns.


Student Profiles

The program seeks to admit students from New York. Students who have begun or completed coursework at other CUNY colleges are encouraged to apply. We accept nominations for qualified students from college faculty or from participating community-based organizations (students who are nominated need only submit one letter of recommendation with their Community Semester application).

Students must be enrolled in or recently admitted into either the BA in Urban and Community Studies or the MA in Urban Studies to be considered and must complete a separate application for the Community Semester program in addition to the application to be admitted into one of the degree programs. Current students enrolled in non-SPS degree programs can enroll in Community Semester via e-permit—check with an advisor at your home campus to see how credits earned in Community Semester can be applied to your current course of study. The application process requires a 500-700 word essay, transcript review, a writing sample, two letters of recommendation and a telephone interview.  To receive an application, contact the Community Semester Program Coordinator, Crystal Joseph, e-mail or call at 212-857-1966.  

In general, students accepted into the program have a demonstrated commitment to leadership development and community organizing and show a strong desire to work for social and economic justice.  While many may be pursuing undergraduate degrees, the program also seeks recent CUNY graduates from BA or BS programs who are interested in receiving an MA in Urban Studies. Candidates may or may not have had any direct leadership experience on campus or with community activism. 

Internships are determined by a collaborative process through which students are matched to an affiliated community organization. This process includes resume reviews and in-person interviews during the program's orientation week. The Program Coordinator works with students and participating organizations to coordinate the process and to ensure appropriate internship placements.

Before the start of an internship, the host organizations receive information on the particular experiences and skills of each student. Each host organization will provide a mentor and a site supervisor (who may or may not be the same person) who will develop a specific internship plan with the student. The internship assignments will provide a meaningful experience for both the host organization and the student.  With appropriate supervision and support, the student may be assigned a variety of activities such as research, writing, designing fliers, phone-banking, canvassing, planning and implementing action plans, participation in organizing campaigns and attending staff or community meetings. The mentor will meet with the student once a week to discuss the experience in its larger social, political and organizational context. These weekly meetings also serve as a time to evaluate the student’s progress, discuss the internship experience and any problems or areas of concern. 

To participate in the program, host organizations pay a fee to cover the student’s stipend and administrative costs.  This fee is determined by the size of the organization’s membership, with slightly higher fees subsidizing internship stipends for smaller organizations. All students who are placed in an internship receive a $7,000 stipend. The stipend covers the cost of tuition and fees, as well as educational expenses for the semester.


If you are interested in providing an internship opportunity for a Community Semester student, please contact Eve Baron, Academic Program Manager for Urban Studies at 212.642.2073 or