There are two primary ways the GSD supports students early in their academic careers to gain meaningful experience.

January Externships

GSD students may participate in 1-3 week "mini-internships" during the January winter break. Opportunities in design, research, urban planning and real estate range in locations from Boston to New York to San Francisco. Here are a few comments from a student who participated in a recent externship program:

"The three best things about my externship were:
I got to know how an individual/small architectural/non-profit studio works; I had the flexibility to create a project of my interest; and I was able to extern in a friendly work environment with accomplished and knowledgeable colleagues."

Community Service Fellowship Program

The main mission of the Community Service Fellowship Program is to expose students to new challenges and methods of working, and to encourage them to explore connections between the research interests they pursue at School and existing community needs. The Program also provides an opportunity for students to defray their tuition costs while gaining relevant work experience.

Through this program, students can apply for summer employment fellowships in agencies/organizations that address issues that serve the public interests of communities. It is intended to increase and enhance the school's contact with, and relationship to, the outside world and to offer students an opportunity to explore new uses and applications for the skills they have acquired through studies at the GSD.

Summer Internship Community Service Fellowships are 10 week paid summer internships with community organizations, state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations. GSD students may develop their own projects and fellowship sites.

International Travel Community Service Fellowships provide funding to help GSD students travel to overseas destinations to perform community service throughout the year, in projects of varying durations. Funding is focused upon helping students with travel expenses. 

View recent Community Service Fellowship sites and student experiences.

Other Ways to Gain Experience

Paul M. Heffernan International Travel Award

There are two kinds of international travel awards for GSD students. Both are administered by Career Services. The Paul M. Heffernan International Travel Award is intended to fund GSD students to travel internationally to extend the academic experience. 

Work study options

Federal Work Study (FWSP) is a great way for students to earn money and gain professional experience. Although FWSP is more commonly used for on-campus jobs, it can also be used for off-campus options during the school year as well as over the summer.

Depending on available funds, eligible students may utilize their FWSP funding with nonprofit or government employers. Organizations such as the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Community Design Resource Center of Boston (CDRC) and the Cambridge Office of Community Development are just a few examples of eligible employers. Students may also use their FWSP at for-profit jobs, depending on the job.

For more information on how to utilize your work study funding, please contact a member of the GSD Financial Aid team at or 617.495.5455.

Additional Harvard Fellowship/Research Funding Sources

Resources: Career Services: Gain Experience

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