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Praxis Program

Approximately 400 undergraduate students per year receive Praxis stipends to work at unpaid internships in the United States and abroad in such fields as health care, government, education, communications, research, social welfare, technology, law, science and the arts.

Internships are an increasingly important element of education for students wishing to advance to graduate school or professional positions. Because many students cannot afford to forgo earnings, the Praxis program assures that all students can pursue unpaid internship opportunities that expand their education.


Praxis Guidelines & Regulations

You Are Eligible to Apply If:

  • you have not yet received Praxis funding.
    • Exceptions: Students applying for Praxis Plus, to support a second internship in support of their Concentration requirements (Concentration Director must confirm eligibility)
  • you are not receiving any payment from the organization or through other Smith College funding.
  • you're a rising Junior or a rising Senior. Incoming students and graduated Seniors are not eligible.
    • First-Year (rising Sophomore) applicants may apply, but must have at least 32 credits by the end of the Spring semester and Liberal Arts Adviser must complete Faculty Adviser Form, explaining student's background and benefit from doing a Praxis internship.
  • Minimum credit requirements: Rising Sophomores with at least 32 credits, rising Juniors with at least 64 credits, or rising Seniors with at least 96 credits are eligible. Rising sophomores with credit shortages are not eligible for Praxis. Any other student who anticipates a credit shortage must receive permission from their Class Dean, emailed to praxis@smith.edu.

International students: The internship hours that are funded through Praxis will not be counted as part of your Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the United States. If you have questions about OPT, contact Caitlin Szymkowicz (cszymkowicz@smith.edu) in the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO)

Students on Leave are eligible for Praxis, but must provide documentation; please have your Class Dean email praxis@smith.edu to confirm that you are or plan to be enrolled during the semester following your Praxis internship

You Are Not Eligible If

  • you do not meet the aforementioned criteria
  • your internship is paid by host organization or if you funded by other Smith College programs*
  • you have previously received a Praxis grant (see exceptions in previous column)
  • you have previously participated in the same internship
  • you are a student enrolled at Smith College who is on an exchange program from another college

Students who withdraw from the college at any point after receiving a Praxis grant and before the start of the following semester will be charged the full amount of the grant

*Fox Boorstein/Leana Brown funds: Students will be allowed to combine these funds with Praxis funds, however they must provide a budget that demonstrates the need for combined funding, and those funds cannot exceed $4,400.

Internships That Qualify for Praxis Funding

Your internship qualifies if it:

  • is unpaid by the host organization; any compensation received will be deducted from the Praxis grant.
  • consists of a minimum of 220 hours, and at least 5.5 weeks (40 hours/week maximum) during the summer break; there are no exceptions.
  • is connected to your overall educational goals (may or may not be connected with your major)
  • offers substantial learning opportunities and allows for significant career exploration
  • takes place within an organization, division or department, where interns are not paid.
  • is well-supervised by someone with enough relevant expertise to ensure that the internship will be an educational experience
  • includes meeting with your supervisor at least once a week
  • takes place at an organization NOT affiliated with Smith College (on-campus internships do not qualify for Praxis funding)
  • takes place at a geology, archaeology and other comparable field school; however, credits may not be transferred to Smith.
  • takes place during the Smith College summer break (with the exception of students on study abroad programs in the Southern Hemisphere and with Smith JYA in Hamburg, Germany). Students participating in Smith JYA programs need to consult with the faculty director regarding internships and the legal use of Praxis funding in each JYA country.

Internships That Do Not Qualify

Your internship does NOT qualify if:

  • does not meet the aforementioned qualifying criteria
  • takes place during an academic term
  • it is an independent project. Your duties must support the work of an organization
  • your supervisor is a volunteer rather than a permanent, paid staff member
  • it is an academic, study or training program that emphasizes theoretical rather than practical learning
  • takes place at Smith College, or is affiliated with Smith College (e.g., research with Smith faculty)
  • the host organization is owned by/internship is supervisored by a member of your family
  • it takes place at two separate internships
  • it is an internship that has already taken place; Praxis cannot retroactively fund an internship

Note: The Lazarus Center has the right to reject any internship it deems inappropriate.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT (Curricular Practical Training) is a work authorization option for F-1 students for off-campus career opportunities, much like OPT (Optional Practical Training).  CPT is available for students who have been in F-1 student status for nine months or longer. Smith’s policies allow students to use CPT authorization to pursue off-campus jobs and internships – paid or unpaid – during Summer (and J-term, under limited circumstances). International Students using Praxis for internships in the U.S. are required to obtain CPT.

CPT differs from the OPT in that the job/internship for which you are applying must be an integral part of your major and usually an opportunity for which you will receive academic credit. CPT can be issued on a part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week) basis. Part-time CPT will not interfere with the ability to pursue your 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT). Full-time CPT that totals 12 months or more will result in a student being ineligible for OPT. Given the short nature of Praxis internships, CPT received for your Praxis internship should not affect your eligibility for OPT. 

If you have questions about CPT or OPT, contact the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) or make an appointment with Caitlin Szymkowicz (cszymkowicz@smith.edu), Associate Dean for International Students & Scholars.

Praxis Stipends & Tax

If you are an international student, taxes may be withheld from your Praxis payments. International students whose home countries maintain tax treaties for scholarships with the United States may not be subject to tax withholding on scholarship funding. If your country maintains such a treaty you may receive a tax waiver for your Praxis stipend by filing the required forms. Contact the Payroll and Disbursements Office to find out your country's tax treaty status and to obtain forms.

Faculty Sign-off

As a requirement of your Praxis application, you must communicate your internship plans and learning goals to your Faculty Adviser (or Concentration Faculty Adviser, if applicable*). 

A Faculty Adviser Sign-Off form will be collected via direct link, sent to your Faculty Adviser upon submission of your application. Your Written Statements will be forwarded to your Adviser, along with the form, for their reference. 

 *Students applying for support of internships required by a Concentration must obtain Faculty Sign-Off from their Concentration Adviser

Faculty Sign-Offs for Students Abroad 

If you are on a Smith junior year abroad program in Geneva, Florence, Hamburg or Paris, you may list the director of your JYA program as Faculty Adviser for sign-off. If you are on a Junior Year Abroad program other than those run by Smith, please obtain Faculty Adviser sign-off your Smith major or pre-major adviser.

Students who intern abroad and not in their home country are eligible for a $4,000 stipend.
Note: Remote internships are not eligible for international internship stipend.

Travel Warnings & Travel Registry

Visas

  • Many countries have very strict visa requirements for internships. The Lazarus Center does not provide guidance on visas. Students should contact the country embassy to obtain information on proper internship visa procedures well in advance of their departure.

Internships in the UK

If you are planning on interning in the UK, you need to go through BUNAC to obtain a proper visa. Funding may be available through the Lewis Global Studies Center to defray the costs associated with it.

Submitting Your Praxis Application

  • The application deadline for study abroad students is either the last day of your semester abroad OR the Praxis deadline, whichever occurs later.
  • Allow extra time for locating and applying to an internship; extra time to secure your appropriate visas. Allow extra time for communicating by email and mail, particularly if you're studying in a location where communications are delayed.
  • Submit your Praxis application and it will be reviewed and approved as soon as possible. If we have questions before approving, we will email your Smith College email account. Once you are approved, you will receive a confirmation email from praxis@smith.edu.

Students on Southern-Hemisphere Programs

  • If you are on a Smith-approved study abroad program for a semester or full academic year (fall and spring semesters), and your school's longest break occurs during our (i.e. Northern Hemisphere's) winter months, you may apply for Praxis funding for an internship undertaken during that break. This situation pertains to students in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Smith JYA program in Hamburg, Germany.
  • Students participating in Smith JYA programs need to consult with their faculty director regarding internships and the legal use of Praxis funding in each JYA country.
  • Submit your Praxis application at least one to two weeks before your internship is scheduled to begin.

Ready to apply? Read all guidelines first and contact us with questions: praxis@smith.edu

Praxis Applications consist of: 

1) Survey to collect information about you and your internship

2) Supervisor Confirmation Form: Collected via direct link, sent to your Supervisor upon submission of your application. The Supervisor form confirms internship offer and describes internship duties and supervision

3) Faculty Adviser Form: Collected via direct link, sent to your Faculty Adviser upon submission of your application. Your Written Statements will also be forwarded to your Adviser for their reference. (Note: Students applying for support of internships required by a Concentration must obtain Faculty Sign-Off from their Concentration Adviser

4) Written Statements: 5 text-entry questions about your internship plans; 300 words per response are required.

The deadline to apply for Praxis and/or internship credit was Friday, June 3, 2022. The 2022 application is now closed.

Application types:

  • Praxis (or Praxis Plus*) - For those who seek internship funding ONLY (no credit)
  • Praxis with Credit (or Praxis Plus* with Credit)  - For those who want to combine Praxis funding with Internship Credit (IDP 117)
  • Internship Credit (IDP 117)For those seeking credit ONLY

*Praxis Plus exists to support the second Praxis internship associated with Smith concentrations. In order to qualify, you must have previously used a Praxis grant to support the first internship associated with the concentration. Your Concentration Director must confirm your eligibility for Praxis Plus via a direct link form.

Stipends

Praxis pays stipends to undergraduate students with qualified, unpaid internships. 

U.S.-based internships (or internships in one's home country): $3000 stipend
Internships abroad (non-U.S. and not in one's home country): $4000 stipend

Note: Remote internships are not eligible for international internship stipend.

Stipends are paid in two installments:
First Payment ($2800 or $3800): 3 to 4 weeks to after approval.
Second Payment ($200): 3 to 4 weeks after you've completed your internship and we receive all end-of-internship requirements (see below)

Getting Paid

Direct Deposit for Praxis Stipends

By default, Praxis stipends are sent to your direct deposit account. Please set up direct deposit in Workday. If you do not have direct deposit set up, your stipend will be mailed to the permanent address on file in Workday.

End-of-Internship requirements
  • Verification of Internship Completion - (Required for both Praxis and Credit-only Internships): At the end of your internship, your Supervisor will be sent a direct link form, in which they must confirm hours worked and comment on your work performance.

  • Final Activity Report - Required for all Praxis Internships (including Praxis w/ Credit). You will receive a link to the Final Activity Report form at the end of your internship.

  • Final Reflective Essay - Required for all credit-bearing internships (including Praxis w/ Credit). Your essay will be submitted to your faculty adviser to determine pass/fail. You will receive a link to the Final Reflective Essay form at the end of your internship. See our Guide to Writing Your Final Reflective Essay

  • The deadline to submit end-of-internship documents is August 31.

IMPORTANT: Failure to provide all end-of-internship requirements to the Lazarus Center by the deadline will result in you being charged for the full amount of your Praxis funding and forfeiture of the final $200 stipend payment. 

If You Don't Complete the Required Hours

If, for extraordinary circumstances, you are forced to end your internship before you have completed the required hours, you must contact us at praxis@smith.edu before you leave your internship, or immediately after. If you do not complete the required hours, you must reimburse Smith College a pro-rated portion of your Praxis stipend, or the entire award that was given to you. The amount you owe will be placed on your next tuition bill.

Low-Paid Internships

If you will be paid a salary for your internship that is less than your grant award, you may apply for reduced Praxis funding to supplement your employer-paid salary. The total combined amount may not exceed $3000 (US) or $4000 (International), and you will not be eligible for additional Praxis funds in the future.

Other Smith Funding

Praxis funding may NOT be combined with any other Smith grants.
Exception: Government Department Fox Boorstein/Leena Brown Funds may be combined with your Praxis stipend; Combined total cannot exceed $4400.

International Students

If you are an international student, taxes will be withheld from your Praxis payments. Exceptions are made, however, for international students whose home countries maintain tax treaties for scholarships with the United States. If your country maintains such a treaty you may receive a tax waiver for your Praxis stipend by filing the required forms. Contact the Payroll and Disbursements Office to find out your country's tax treaty status and to obtain forms.

What are the components to the Praxis application?

1) Survey to collect your information

2) Supervisor Confirmation Form: Collected via direct link, sent to your Supervisor upon submission of your application. The Supervisor form confirms internship offer and describes internship duties and supervision

3) Faculty Adviser Form: Collected via direct link, sent to your Faculty Adviser upon submission of your application. Your Written Statements will also be forwarded to your Adviser for their reference. The Faculty Adviser Form confirms you have communicated your internship plans and learning goals to your Faculty Adviser. (Note: Students applying for support of internships required by a Concentration must obtain Faculty Sign-Off from their Concentration Adviser

4) Written Statements: 5 text-entry questions about your internship plans; 300 words per response are required.


Where can I find information on Praxis and filing my taxes?

Please contact Christine Clark in the Controller's Office: ceclark@smith.edu. The Controller's Office administers Praxis grants and can give you more detailed information on necessary tax documents.


If I plan on taking a leave of absence after receiving a Praxis stipend, do I have to pay it back?

No. As long as you complete all the requirements of your Praxis-funded internship, a leave of absence will not affect your Praxis stipend.


When is the Praxis application deadline?

The deadline to apply for Praxis is the the first Friday in June (Friday, June 3, 2022). 


What is the stipend amount?

U.S.-based internships: $3000
Internships abroad (and not in one's home country): $4000
Note: Remote internships are not eligible for international internship stipend.


When can I expect my payments?

First Payment ($2800 or $3800): 3 to 4 weeks to after approval.
Second Payment ($200): 3 to 4 weeks after we receive BOTH: Supervisor's Verification of Internship Completion (from supervisor) AND Final Activity Report, due by August 31.


How many hours per week are required for my Praxis internship?

Eligible internships must be a minimum of 220 hours and at least 5.5 weeks (a maximum of 40 hours per week)


Can I use my Praxis stipend at two internships?

You cannot split your Praxis internship; it must take place at one organization.

 

Can I receive more than one Praxis stipend? What is Praxis Plus?
Students may receive one Praxis stipend during their time at Smith, with one exception: Students in the Concentrations have the option to apply for Praxis Plus, to support a second Praxis internship associated with a Smith Concentration. In order to qualify, you must have previously used Praxis to support a first internship associated with the concentration. Your Concentration Director must confirm your eligibility for Praxis Plus via a direct link form.

 

Can I still receive Praxis if I receive a salary from my employer?

The total amount of your employer-paid salary combined with Praxis funding may not exceed the Praxis grant award amount, and you will not be eligible for any additional Praxis funds in the future.


Do I need to meet with a Lazarus Center adviser to submit my completed Praxis application?

No. Submit your application online and it will be reviewed and approved as soon as possible. If we have questions or concerns, we will email your Smith College email account. Once you are approved, you will receive a confirmation email from praxis@smith.edu.


I'm having trouble writing 300 words for some of the written statements. What should I do?

When we evaluate your Praxis application for approval, the information you provide in your written statements is critical in our decision-making process. It’s our job to make sure your internship meets all goals and required criteria before we give it our stamp of approval. 

Praxis internships are intended to help you apply the theoretical learning of your liberal arts education to a field of work; gain broader exposure to opportunities beyond Smith and beyond the classroom; acquire first-hand access to the institutions, problems and conditions that you are studying; obtain the hands-on experience and skills valued by employers and graduate schools; and work closely with professionals to gain a deeper knowledge of a particular field. 

Your written statements should also reflect a deep understanding of the internship you've accepted, and show us how you've prepared to have a successful, meaningful internship experience. It should be apparent to us that you've spoken at length with your supervisor about your responsibilities and schedule. Do you and your supervisor have a mutual understanding of your duties? Does your internship meet the criteria required for Praxis funding? 

A common complaint about the written statements is that the question prompts can lead to redundant answers. That's OK; we know that there may be some overlap. Another common question is, "Do you really count the words?" No, of course not! However, we do feel that approximately 300 words are required to adequately answer the questions. 

We recommend that you work on the written statements in small chunks if you feel overwhelmed. Answer a question a day for a week and you'll be done! Still need help? Come to the Lazarus Center to meet with an adviser. 

Finally, for your reference: The answer to this question is exactly 300 words long. You can do it!

The Benefits of Praxis

  • Apply theoretical learning to a field of work and gain broader exposure to opportunities beyond Smith and the classroom.
  • Acquire first-hand access to the institutions, problems and conditions that you are studying.
  • Obtain hands-on experience and skills valued by employers and graduate schools.
  • Work closely with professionals to gain a deeper knowledge of a particular field.


Praxis Information for Employers

About Praxis

Smith College’s internship funding program, Praxis: The Liberal Arts at Work pays stipends to undergraduate Smith students who work at qualified, unpaid internships related to their career and/or academic interests.

The Praxis internship funding program is mutually beneficial—to the employer who gets an extra pair of helping hands, and to the Smith student who gains experience and insight into a career field.

Since the beginning of the program, supervisors have been impressed with the caliber of Smith student interns, praising them for their competence, motivation, flexibility and adaptability, and for their skills in such areas as communication, writing, researching, analyzing, problem solving, presentation and computer knowledge.

If you have any questions about Praxis, please call the Lazarus Center for Career Development at 413-585-2582, or email praxis@smith.edu.

Qualifying for a Praxis Stipend

Eligible U.S. internships receive a stipend of $3,000
Eligible International internships (abroad and not in a student's home country) receive a stipend of $4000

To qualify for a Praxis stipend, an undergraduate Smith student must be accepted to an internship that:

  • offers a minimum of  220 hours
  • takes place during Smith's summer break (Praxis may not fund academic term internships)
  • offers work assignments that are needed by the workplace and that help the student meet learning objectives
  • allows significant career exploration and learning opportunities
  • is supervised by a permanent, paid staff member with relevant expertise, and who meets with the intern a minimum of once a week
  • at work sites where interns are not normally paid. If you have other interns who are paid in your department, division or unit, this student would not be eligible for Praxis funding. 

Our students understand and expect to do clerical work in combination with more substantive, career-specific assignments, with the balance of their time being on the latter.

Important Dates

Deadline for students to apply for Praxis funding: June 3, 2022

The student's application requires a Supervisor Confirmation Form, which confirms internship offer and describes duties and supervision. This form will be collected via direct link, sent to Supervisor upon student's submission of application.

At the end of the internship, supervisors must submit a Verification of Internship Completion, confirming completion of internship, confirming hours worked, and commenting on intern’s work performance.

Liability Waivers

Organizations requesting a Smith sign-off on liability waivers, assumption of risk forms or a memo of understanding must contact the Five College Risk Management Office.