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What is SIGP?


The Summer Internship Grant Program was established to support current Northwestern undergraduate students with a demonstrated financial need who are participating in unpaid internships.  This is a funding source for undergraduates who have accepted (or who are planning on securing) an unpaid internship or summer experience in an industry that traditionally does not pay their interns. SIGP is also a career development program and provides learning opportunities as students engage in the summer experiences.

Since 2007, the Summer Internship Grant Program has made it possible for undergraduate students to pursue unpaid internships. In 2023, 362 Northwestern students received grants of $3500 to participate in unpaid summer experiences.

Career Development Program

In addition to receiving a grant for living and travel expenses accrued during the summer of an unpaid experience, students will participate in career development activities including: networking, resume & LinkedIn development, informational interviews,  and donor appreciation.

Who is Eligible for SIGP?

Current NU full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students who will be:

If awarded, SIGP CANNOT be combined with any other summer grants on campus. Students must choose between SIGP or another grant. Including but not limited to the following:

New for 2024: SIGP+

SIGP recipients may be eligible for an additional $1000 award for a total of $4500. If your supervisor is a Northwestern alum and you’re not living at home for the summer, you may be eligible for 1 of 25 SIGP+ grants which will add $1000 to your stipend, for a total award amount of $4500. Priority will be given to:

To be considered for SIGP+, complete your SIGP application by the deadline. NU-Q students are not eligible for SIGP+.

Contact Information

Questions? Please contact


Frequently Asked Questions

What does a SIGP application entail?

The application includes questions and essays.  Students will respond to questions about their summer experience, interests, and summer budget. In addition, the application includes two essays and an optional third essay.  Find the essay questions and steps for how to apply on the SIGP website.

Is there someone I can talk to about my application materials before submitting?

Yes! Students can schedule an appointment to review SIGP application material. Schedule a meeting with your NCA career adviser via Handshake. Please bring drafts of your materials to your appointment.

Do I need to have a summer internship/experience secured before I apply?

No. At the time of application, students are not required to have a summer internship/experience secured. If selected for an award, recipients who do not have an internship at the time of selection must meet with their NCA career adviser to develop a search strategy. Awardees without a secured internship by May 31 will forfeit their grant.

I missed an information session. Can I view the presentation now?

Upcoming information sessions (all virtual)

I applied to SIGP last year. Can I reapply?

Yes. Previous SIGP recipients may apply again for this year’s grant, so long as they meet the qualifications.

When will I find out if I've been awarded a SIGP grant?

Students will be notified if they are selected by Friday, May 3, 2024. 

The SIGP timeline for NU-Q students differs from the timeline on the Evanston campus.

Can I apply to SIGP with more than one opportunity?

Yes. If recipients cannot meet the 280 hour requirement with a single summer experience, they can supplement with a second unpaid or low-paid career-related experience in order to fulfill the 280 hour requirement for SIGP.  Required hours must be completed no later than Friday, September 6, 2024.

Can I apply to SIGP if I am staying with family/friends during my summer experience?

Yes. Students are still eligible for SIGP even if they will be staying with family or friends during the summer.  In the SIGP application, students will be asked to note how the SIGP funding will be used this summer beyond housing. Students living at home will not be eligible for additional funding available with SIGP+.

Can I combine SIGP with other experiences over the summer?

If awarded SIGP, your unpaid internship/career experience should be your primary summer experience. Students should focus their time on their unpaid SIGP internship/career experience. Your SIGP experience CANNOT be paired with another full-time (paid) opportunity. Some SIGP recipients choose to work additional paid, part-time jobs to supplement their income over the summer.

Can I take classes over the summer while completing an unpaid internship or career experience with SIGP?

SIGP funding cannot be used to cover the cost of tuition for any summer classes including study abroad programs.  In addition, students cannot get academic credit for their internship opportunity; SIGP cannot be combined with for-credit programs. If awarded SIGP, your unpaid internship/career experience should be your primary experience over the summer. We discourage students from taking additional classes since it can be difficult to manage schedules and fully commit to your internship experience while managing academic commitments.

Can I travel internationally for my summer experience?

Yes. For the most up to date travel guidance and a list of locations requiring Travel Permission, students should review the Office of Global Safety and Security’s Undergraduate Travel Policies. Students planning to pursue an international experience will be responsible for any associated requirements. SIGP recipients pursuing an international experience must complete health and safety pre-departure requirements including Northwestern’s International Travel Registry. If you are awarded SIGP, more details will be provided.

My experience is paid. Can I still apply?

SIGP is designed to support students pursuing unpaid internships. If your internship/experience is low-paid (defined as less than $1500 for the summer) AND you’re not living at home for the summer, you are still eligible to apply. Priority is given to students with financial need pursuing unpaid internships.

How can I strengthen my SIGP application?

Applicants should be sure to clearly describe summer plans (or intended plans), identify specific learning goals for the summer, and draw connections between experiences. Consider academic coursework, leadership experiences, volunteer work, or professional experiences and how those connect to your summer plans and career interests. You want to tell a cohesive story.  Find more tips on the SIGP website.

Are there on campus summer housing options available through Northwestern University?

Yes, please refer to the Residential Services’ Summer Housing webpage to see current rates and information.