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About the ILR School

The School of Industrial and Labor Relations, on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York, has long been recognized as a leader in its field. The first institution in the country to offer a comprehensive undergraduate program of professional training in industrial and labor relations, the ILR School remains the only college with a four-year program leading exclusively to the bachelor of science degree in the field.

Combining Theory & Practice

The founding faculty, recognizing the importance of combining theoretical and practical elements in the curriculum, instituted a requirement that all undergraduates work during all three summers between their college years in a labor union, a corporation, and a government agency. That requirement, although sound in principle, was dropped in the face of increasing student enrollment, higher expenses associated with college attendance, and a tightening job market. As a partial substitute, the faculty instituted a program to grant academic credit for internships undertaken during the academic year that provide students with opportunities to work at a professional level of responsibility in one of the careers encompassed by the field of industrial and labor relations.

Internships for Academic Credit

Internships for academic credit are available to qualified ILR juniors and seniors. Students receive twelve credits for successfully completing the internship and a project or written report based on the experience. Eight of those twelve credits, reflecting the experience component, are graded as satisfactory or unsatisfactory; the other four are graded by the faculty supervisor on a scale of A to F.

How to Participate

Organizations interested in having an intern from the ILR School should provide a description of the internship opportunity by completing the sponsor application form. Since the number of students receiving faculty approval for participation in the program is limited and every effort is made to match student interests with internship opportunities, the school cannot guarantee to fill all internships each semester. Organizations that provide the school with complete information early in the semester preceding that for which the internship is available are most likely to secure an intern. If possible, information about internship opportunities should be supplied by mid-October for spring semester internships and mid-March for fall semester placements.

Optional Stipend

Since the purpose of the internship is to provide a working and learning experience for the student, and because academic credit is awarded for the experience, no compensation by the sponsoring organization is required. Many students, however, cannot afford to undertake an internship without some financial support. Most organizations offer a stipend directly to the intern to help cover the extra expenses associated with the internship.  This stipend can take the form of a lump sum payment or a regular hourly wage.