Summer Experience Award (SEA): Frequently Asked Questions

The Summer Experience Award application for 2024 is open.

Jump to the answers that align most closely with your needs:

Still have questions?

Check out the Summer Experience Award page, send your question to, or make an appointment to meet virtually or in person with an Office of Career Strategy advisor

Connecting with the Office of Career Strategy

While you’re in the midst of your experience, remember that the Office of Career Strategy is open all summer and ready to assist you, so don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment.  (Yale Career Link appointments are in EST).

General Eligibility

Email immediately if your position has been canceled or modified. Use the subject line “Updating [or Withdrawing] SEA Application”. Do not submit a second application until communicating with the Office of Career Strategy.

Students may use both the ISA and SEA in the same summer as long as the requirements of both awards are met. The ISA does cover some academic experiences that are less than 8 weeks and in those cases, the ISA and SEA may be used in the same summer as long as the student completes the requirements of each experience. The Office of Career Strategy recommends, however, that students use each award in separate summers to broaden their opportunities.

No; the SEA is for current first-years, sophomores, and juniors. Visit the Fellowships Office website for more information on post-graduate fellowship opportunities. Seniors graduating in December 2023 may be eligible. Please email to discuss your eligibility.

Yes, depending on your eligibility and the eligibility of the experience including the U.S. State Department’s Travel Advisory and the International SOS Rating for the country. Visit Planning an International Internship for important information. To be eligible, you must be a first-year, sophomore or junior currently on Financial Aid, have not used the DSA or SEA in the past, and have secured an internship. Additionally, if you are awarded the SEA for an international experience, you must adhere to the Travel Policy for Yale College Students.

Additionally, all students traveling abroad are required to provide the International Air Transport Association (IATA) airport code for the airport nearest their summer destination. Locate the code through: IATA CODE SEARCH. Use the “Search Airport Codes” field and enter the city.

Your SEA award may be used for an eligible experience in your home country, provided travel to that area is permitted per The Yale University International Travel Policy for Yale College Students.

Your SEA award cannot be utilized for experiences in countries classified as High or Extreme Risk Levels, even if the experience it within your home country.

For questions or clarification, please review the travel policy and contact the Office of Career Strategy Summer Experience Award administrators with any additional questions.

If you are an international student engaging in a completely unpaid summer opportunity in the U.S. AND that opportunity has been approved for the SEA, you may still need to use your OPT for that summer. Please visit the Office of International Students & Scholars for more details, and schedule an appointment with your OISS adviser.

No; the proposal must be inclusive of one experience only.

Due to the restrictions set out through the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, unpaid or underfunded opportunities with for-profit employers are only eligible if completely outside the U.S. Unpaid or underfunded opportunities with for-profit employers in the U.S. are not eligible. If you’re looking to explore a certain area, such as Entertainment, that is for-profit in the U.S., please meet with an OCS advisor to explore possibilities.

Yes; the SEA can be used for opportunities with a tribal nation located within the U.S., and all U.S. territories including Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

No; students cannot use the SEA to fund an unpaid student job at Yale University including those with Yale centers or student organizations. However, the SEA can be used to fund Science, Laboratory & Other Research with a Yale faculty or research staff member. An acceptable research opportunity requires the student to confirm that the faculty or research staff member is willing to take on a formal and direct mentoring role in supervision of the student’s summer experience.

If your volunteer opportunity fits the eligibility requirements of the SEA and your proposal clearly shows why this volunteer opportunity is an important part of your career path, the Committee will consider it for the SEA.

Unpaid or underfunded internship opportunities with public and nonprofit Pre-K-12 educational institutions qualify for the SEA. Science, Laboratory & Other Research opportunities at public and nonprofit higher education institutions, including Yale University, also qualify for SEA funding. Students can verify that the educational institution is a U.S. nonprofit using GuideStar. The same qualifications apply to international opportunities, although international opportunities may include for-profit educational organizations.

No; classes, including Yale Summer Session courses, do not qualify for the SEA. For the International Study Award, please contact the ISA office.

Yes, there are opportunities at non-profits or government organizations, and some international internships, posted in Yale Career Link, which may be eligible for SEA funding. Students are encouraged to search for employers tagged as ‘Preferred Yale Partners’ in the Yale Career Link, as well as other opportunities, as they consider where to use their SEA award.

No; you cannot use the SEA for a political campaign either in the U.S. or outside the U.S.

Yes, however programs with an academic course or classroom component will not be accepted for consideration; please contact OCS if there are any questions regarding this. Third-party internship providers are fee-based programs that provide internship placements, housing (sometimes included in the fee), visa support, emergency support, cultural and professional activities, and other infrastructure that may not be found in an internship secured directly with a company. Placements are generally made through a matching process, rather than a student applying directly to an employer. For many third-party internship providers, a student is first accepted into the program, and then a customized placement is secured by matching the student’s skills and interests with their network of employers and positions. Their advisors work with students to determine the best fit, so it is important to be flexible and open-minded should you choose this route, as not all students receive their first-choice internship placement. In choosing a fee-based internship provider, consider the reputation of the program, the quality of the internships and any other professional/cultural experiences, and the purpose of the program fee (where does this money go specifically). It will also be helpful to look for program reviews from sources other than the organization’s website; organizations may feature great videos or quotes from past participants on their websites, so it is good to try and find reviews elsewhere, too. Students must research third-party internship providers independently to understand costs, program structure, locations, timelines, whether the internship placements offer a stipend, etc. If a student decides a third-party internship provider meets their needs, they may apply to the program directly through their individual website. Students may be required to submit a third-party program fee/deposit before receiving SEA funding. Please note, third-party internship providers have not been vetted by the Office of Career Strategy. Students who participate in a third-party internship program with SEA funding take full responsibility for due diligence of the program. For international programs, you may wish to review NAFSA’s guide to vetting providers, which includes specific questions to ask.

No, students must be fully enrolled in Fall 2024 to be eligible for the SEA.

If you previously used the SEA, you are not eligible for another SEA (internationally or domestically). If you have not used your ISA, you are still eligible to use that for a qualifying study abroad program. For an international internship, students are encouraged to apply for fellowships through the Yale College Office of Fellowships. There are over a dozen fellowships available for professional opportunities outside the U.S.

Yes, the experience can be more than 8 weeks. It must be with the same organization and full-time. The award does not increase for an experience of more than 8 weeks.

The experience can qualify if it is with an international university or research lab or a Yale faculty member conducting research abroad.

Yes, students returning from a Leave of Absence are eligible as long as they are returning in Fall 2024 or Spring 2025, meet all other SEA eligibility requirements, and are able to show proof of financial aid eligibility.

Applying for SEA & Other Yale Fellowships

Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at 11:59 pm ET is the final deadline. Students who have secured an opportunity with the federal government but are waiting for security clearance, should see ‘FAQ: How does the SEA work for students who are waiting on their security clearance?’

Tuesday, April 2, 2024, is the priority deadline. Applicants who submit a complete application by April 2 will receive their funds by late May. Students applying for an international experience are strongly encouraged to submit by the priority deadline.

If a student is offered an opportunity with the U.S. government but the offer is pending due to security clearance, the student may submit the SEA application, but a check will not be issued until the clearance is final. Students in this situation can select one of the following options:

  • Option 1: For students who want an alternative option, if the security clearance has not been approved by May 1 please inform OCS, and then the student has until May 15 to upload a new SEA proposal for a different eligible opportunity. The student must relinquish the first opportunity (requiring security clearance) before submitting the new proposal.
  • Option 2: If a student chooses to wait for the security clearance beyond May 1, SEA funds will not be disbursed until documentation is received showing final clearance, which must be received before May 15. If the clearance does not come through, the student will not have the option to submit an alternative proposal for that summer. The student can withdraw the SEA application entirely and save their SEA for a future summer.

Yes; through your Yale Career Link account, you can make an appointment with any OCS advisor to discuss your SEA application.

No; in order to complete an application for your SEA, you must have a secured opportunity at the time of application. If you need support in determining whether or not an anticipated opportunity would qualify for the SEA, please meet with an OCS career advisor to discuss your intended plans.

Travel, Health & Safety Agreements

It is important to be prepared with travel information and resources before you arrive. Read the information and agreements below and visit the links provided. All responses apply to your intended activity (“Program”), which may be funded by Yale University (“Yale”) or sponsored by Yale.

U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Website

Travel is restricted to countries at level 4. If you are traveling to multiple countries, you are responsible to review this information for each country. On your application, indicate the level of the primary country where you will be over the summer.

U.S. State Department Country Fact Sheet

International SOS

You will be required to indicate the International SOS risk level rating for your intended country. The SEA can not be used for countries at High or Extreme Risk Levels, even if it is your home country.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Yale University COVID Vaccination Policy

When you select “Yes” on your application, you understand that you are responsible for informing yourself about the travel, health, and safety risks of the country/ies where you will reside and/or visit. You are agreeing to use the travel, safety and health resources provided, other resources as applicable, and remain informed about updates on travel conditions throughout your time abroad.

Additional Agreements for all SEA recipients:

  1. Watch/read the online pre-departure information below and any other information sent to you
  2. Complete the OCS summer activities survey at the end of the summer
  3. Return any SEA funding received in the event your plans change, making the opportunity no longer eligible
  4. Return a prorated amount of the SEA funding for any time less than eight weeks, if you withdraw or fail to complete the summer experience, and
  5. Complete a mid-summer and end-of-summer check-in with your supervisor.

Important Pre-departure Information/Videos:

How to  Make the Most of Your Summer Experience

Health & Safety Resources

International Experiences – Additional required webinar ‘Pre-departure Orientation Summer Abroad: Health & Safety: To Dos’

SEA proposals take up to 20 business days to be confirmed and approved. Students will be contacted if additional time is needed.

  • Students are strongly encouraged to apply for fellowships before applying for the SEA. If a student receives a fellowship for the full amount of their proposed budget, they will not need to apply for the SEA and can save it for another summer.
  • Students receive fellowship award notifications in mid-April. If a student is not awarded a fellowship or is awarded less than the proposed budget, the SEA may be used. Students will have until May 2 to apply for the SEA.
  • The SEA application asks: “Have you applied for additional fellowships? If yes, please list the fellowship name and the fellowship award amount, and your status.” If by using the SEA, the student is funded beyond their proposed fellowship budget, the fellowship award will be reduced to accommodate the SEA. SEA-eligible students are encouraged to meet with an OCS advisor to discuss how to navigate these opportunities.

A student’s first step should be to apply for other fellowships before the SEA. If the student has a budget over $4,000 (domestic) or $6,000 (international) and would like to propose that they need funding from both the SEA and additional fellowships, the student should indicate this in their budget for their non-SEA fellowship proposal. The fellowship committee will review the budget proposal and determine what they are able to fund. The SEA is a one-time, flat award of $4,000 (domestic) or $6,000 (international) so students cannot propose to use only a partial amount of the SEA. If a student receives a fellowship award and the SEA, the fellowship award may be adjusted to ensure the student is not overfunded. The SEA award cannot be adjusted, and a student will not receive a total amount more than the budget set forth in their fellowship proposal. When combining your SEA with another Fellowship please be sure your project titles are consistent on all applications. Varied titles can result in a delay in payments being issued.


  • Fellowship budget is $5,000 for a domestic experience and the student is awarded a $5,000 fellowship — the student does not need to apply for the SEA.
  • Fellowship budget is $7,000 for an international experience and the student is awarded a $7,000 fellowship – the student does not need to apply for the SEA.
  • Fellowship budget is $6,000 for a domestic experience and the student is awarded a $3,000 fellowship and applies for SEA — fellowship award will need to be reduced to $2000 ($2000 fellowship + $4,000 SEA = $6000)
  • Fellowship budget is $8,500 for an international experience and the student is awarded a $4,000 fellowship and applies for SEA – fellowship award will need to be reduced to $2500 ($2500 fellowship + $6,000 SEA = $8,500)

Arts Apprenticeship Information

For an experience to qualify as an Arts Apprenticeship, a practicing artist will need to commit to taking on a mentoring role in the supervision of the student’s overall summer experience. It is allowable for students to engage in supporting activities, such as research and assisting, but the artist must be consistently available to contextualize the experience and extend the student’s professional and creative development. The 8-week, 30-hours/week minimum summer duration also applies to the Arts Apprenticeship.

Any creator of professional work within an artistic field can be considered a candidate for establishing an Arts Apprenticeship. Examples include architects, creative writers, designers, visual artists, filmmakers, theater creatives, dancers and performance artists, musicians, and composers. Please speak with a member of the Common Good & Creative Careers team to discuss potential eligibility.

Yes, search within the Yale Career Link Job Board for the Yale-coordinated “CGCC Arts Apprenticeship Program” to see approved apprenticeships that can be applied for through the Yale Career Link.

Yale faculty members with an arts practice, willing to take on the necessary mentoring engagement, are acceptable candidates for the Arts Apprenticeship model. It is also possible that Yale arts faculty would be eligible for the research-based version of the SEA. Please meet with a member of the Common Good & Creative Careers team to discuss.

The SEA Arts Apprenticeship category is reserved for students planning a mentoring relationship with a practicing artist in the U.S. In order for it to be used to fund a summer engagement associated with a for-profit company in the U.S., the employer would need to be arts-related, and the supervisor of record would need to be willing to establish a clear mentoring relationship as a component of the experience: an appropriate apprenticeship experience needs to be supervised by an Arts Practitioner, and built around the individual mentoring relationship with that creative.

For an arts apprenticeship to be considered for SEA funding, financial compensation cannot be provided to the artist. In general, a tuition component is not allowed as part of an apprenticeship program; exceptions will need to be discussed with the OCS Creative Careers advisor,

SEA Award Information

Funds will be disbursed through Zelle. Yale University has implemented Zelle as a digital payment method to transfer money with fast results. This is available to Yale students meeting the following requirements; you must have a U.S. bank account, and that account must use your Yale email address. You may have difficulty accessing your SEA funds if your account is not tied to your Yale email address. Visit or click get started to register.

Students who submit completed applications by the priority deadline of April 2 and are approved will receive their awards by the end of May. All other students who are approved will be paid in the order in which they applied, on a rolling basis from May through June. Please plan your travel and expenses accordingly.

Students applying for a SEA who are also applying for additional fellowship funding must include this information in their SEA application.

If the opportunity is underfunded, then it can be considered for SEA funding. The Committee defines underfunded as $2000 USD or less for an 8-week summer opportunity. International Students pursuing an opportunity in the U.S. must consult with the Office of International Students and Scholars.

Students who receive a SEA are required to use the money for the purposes for which it was granted. Students who withdraw from funded programs and activities will be required to repay Yale the amount of their award.

If a student leaves an organization early, the student must notify the Office of Career Strategy and is required to return the prorated amount of the award to Yale.

Any student physically in the U.S. receives $4,000 (even if they are working with an international organization). The $6,000 is set to cover international airfare and visa costs of physically working in another country.

For domestic experiences: Under federal tax law, a scholarship or fellowship provided to a student in a degree-granting program is generally taxable. If you are a candidate for a degree, however, you can exclude from taxable income that part of the award used to pay the costs of tuition, required fees, books, equipment, and supplies (required fees, books, equipment and supplies are limited to those specifically required of all students in a course). You cannot exclude from taxable income any part of the grant used for other purposes, such as room and board. Please refer to IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Higher Education, Section 1, Scholarship, Fellowships, Grants and Tuition Reductions and the IRS tax guide for students, Taxable Income for Students. While OCS cannot offer tax advice, the IRS Tax Office on Court Street does offer free tax advice to students. Students pursuing international opportunities must be sure the Tax Office knows their experience is NOT in the U.S.

Find tips on budgeting, taxes, and other financial considerations: Financial Literacy: Managing Your Money at Yale.

Yes, international students must complete certain forms at the International Tax Office before receiving the SEA. If you have not already done so, please make an appointment at Yale’s International Tax Office.

Science, Laboratory, or Other Research Opportunity

Yes; students should apply through the regular SEA process and the final deadline to apply is: May 1 at 11:59 pm ET

To receive Committee approval, research with a faculty or research staff member must be full-time, with direct supervision by that faculty or staff member, and be in furtherance of a research agenda and not towards the faculty member’s teaching-related tasks. The supervising researcher will need to commit to taking on a mentoring role in the supervision of the student’s overall summer experience.

A research supervisor must be a Faculty member or full-time research staff (Faculty Principal Investigator). Although Ph.D. students and/or postdocs may supervise some of the work, the official supervisor can not be a student or postdoc. Faculty members for this purpose include Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, Research Associates, Lecturers, Lectors, Instructors, Visiting Professors, Adjunct Professors, Clinical Professors, Museum Curators, Athletic Coaches, University Librarians, and Yale Summer Session Faculty across Yale College and Yale Graduate & Professional Schools. Research supervised solely by a postdoctoral scholar or Ph.D. student will not qualify.

The following opportunities are examples of research at Yale University that would be eligible for SEA funding.

  • Working with a faculty member in a Yale Laboratory.
  • Assisting a faculty member with research for an upcoming book or other publication.
  • Working with a Yale Museum or Yale Gallery Curator in the research necessary for an upcoming exhibit.
  • Assisting a faculty member in the research necessary for an upcoming Yale theater production.
  • Assisting a faculty member with field research conducted within the United States.

Yes, a student may use the SEA to fund their individual research agenda if the student has established a formal mentoring relationship with a faculty or research staff member who has agreed to take on a formal and direct mentoring role in the supervision of the student’s summer research. The supervising faculty or research staff member must complete the Employer Verification form as part of the SEA application. The student cannot also gain course credit for the summer experience. The 8-week, 30-hours/week minimum summer duration still applies to this type of research.

In order to be considered for SEA funding for a domestic experience, there can be no tuition component required from the student or financial compensation expected from the supervisor. There may be a program fee for a third-party internship provider.