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Unpaid Internship Scholarship for Public Service and Social Justice Internships


The School of Humanities and Social Sciences is comprised of 12 different programs and approximately 2,000 students, making it the largest school on campus. Students in many HSS programs complete faculty-supervised internships for academic credit. Internships provide an opportunity for students to apply their classroom learning beyond the campus, serve the community, and network with professionals.  Unlike internships in other fields, internships in the nonprofit and governmental sectors typically are unpaid. For example, in 2019, 115 HSS students undertook unpaid internships, collectively foregoing over $150,000 of paid work. Students who must work for pay instead of taking internships thus face special obstacles in building career paths in social justice and public service.  

Social justice work focuses on removing barriers and structural inequalities to create a more just world.  Typical work examines how systems of privilege and oppression are related to racism, sexism, and other ‘isms.  Students often engage in advocacy work within the nonprofit and governmental sectors and this scholarship is focused on funding this important work.  

The Fund for Students in Unpaid Internships, established in 2019 with donations from 139 friends and members of the TCNJ community, provides a stipend of at least $750 for a 1 unit/4 credit HSS internship with an HSS faculty sponsor, for students with financial need who undertake an unpaid mentored internship for academic credit at a site focused on social justice and public service.  Students from groups that are underrepresented in the Humanities and Social Sciences or at TCNJ and first-generation college students are especially encouraged to apply. 

All students with financial need who are registered (or will be registered) for an internship related to social justice and public service may apply but priority will be given to students who articulate how the social justice/public service internship broadly corresponds to their future career interests.  Student financial need will be confirmed by the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

* Please note – Eligibility may vary for participants in the Garden State Guarantee Program.  If you have any questions please contact Assistant Dean Lehr-Furtado at

This scholarship is independent from the process to apply for academic internships within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and thus, students may be approved for academic internships but will not be eligible for this scholarship if their internship is not related to social justice or public service within the governmental sector.

To apply for the Dean’s Fund for Students in Unpaid Internships:


    • For Summer, please submit the following four items by May 15 or June 15 
      • We do not fund retroactive applications.  The June deadline is for internships obtained after the May 15 deadline.
    • For Fall, please submit the following four items by August 15
    • For Spring, please submit the following 4 items by January 15 


Application Requirements

  1. Contact information (name, phone number, and email address) of the supervising faculty member who would be able to explain how you are prepared, via coursework and relevant prior experience, to carry out the internship.  
  2. Statement of current registration status for the internship.   If you are not yet registered, please explain where you are in the application process. The eligible course numbers are 398, 399, 487 and 488.
  3. A short 2-page personal essay that explains why you are seeking funding for an unpaid internship.  Your essay must include:
    1. A header with your name, email, class year, major(s) (and minor if relevant), dates of the internship, the name of your HSS faculty supervisor, the name of your internship site, and a link to the organization’s website (if available).
    2. A description of the internship for which you are applying for support.  Include a description of the internship site, your responsibilities at the site, and your learning goals for the internship.  
    3. Have you already been offered the internship?  If not, when do you expect to hear from the employer?
    4. An explanation of how the internship is focused on social justice.
    5. An explanation of how the internship will benefit your academic program and future goals.
    6. An explanation of how the funding will enable you to undertake the internship, given your financial circumstances.
  4. A TCNJ academic transcript (unofficial is fine).

Applications are to be submitted by email to Assistant Dean Lehr-Furtado at   Awards will be announced no later than one week after the application deadline.  Winners will be expected to write a thank you note to the primary donor and also to participate in an event, such as the Donors and Scholars event at Alumni Weekend, to highlight their internship experience.  

Please apply!  Previous winners report the benefits of this scholarship:

“This scholarship offers an excellent incentive for students to pursue internships in their potential fields. I am so grateful TCNJ has created this scholarship for unpaid internships as it has alleviated financial stress over accepting an unpaid internship in my desired field!” – Sara Kinney

“My internship at Mercer County Community College’s Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Center has been an extremely insightful and educational experience. I’ve been able to work in close contact with the community, engage with notable academics from all over the world, and have had the honor of working closely with survivors and experience their unimaginable stories. This internship has taught me a lot about the behind the scenes work that goes into supporting a non-profit and has ignited my passion for non-profit human rights work.” -Kasey McNulty

All scholarship questions can be directed to Assistant Dean Lehr-Furtado (


School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Social Sciences Building, Room 302
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628