Summer Internship Program - FAQ

Q: Is the internship compensation enough to live on? How much is the stipend?

A: Yes, stipends are competitive with those of other internships, and are enough to live on comfortably for three months. Housing is expensive in Marina del Rey and Arlington due to each area’s desirability, but is affordable within easy commuting distance. Should you be accepted, the exact compensation will be stated in your offer letter.

Q: During the internship, may I go to a conference for a week or so? Or take a short vacation?

A: We encourage conference attendance, especially if you’ve submitted or are presenting a paper there. You should plan to spend at least 12 working weeks at ISI, though, since it’s hard to get anything meaningful done otherwise. While you may take reasonable vacation or other personal days, we discourage taking more than one week off for vacation during your internship. You will need to coordinate any conference travel and vacation with your project’s lead investigator.

Q: Will I be able to keep working on projects in the fall, either at USC or after going back to my own school?

A: In general, yes, especially when you are writing a paper on the topic. You’ll probably continue by logging in remotely to work on our machines. If you’re a USC student, your ISI research leadership may be able to help you extend your internship into the fall and/or continue working at ISI.

Q: Can I survive without a car?

A: Absolutely. Many of our past interns haven’t had cars, and instead biked or took buses to ISI.  

Marina del Rey:
We have reliable bus line systems in adjacent Culver City, Los Angeles and Santa Monica. The Santa Monica “big blue” buses serve UCLA, Santa Monica, Palms, Venice, Marina del Rey/ISI, and the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) area. Culver City bus lines serve Culver City, Venice, Marina del Rey/ISI, and LAX. Los Angeles buses take you to downtown LA and other areas to the east. If you choose to live in student housing on the main USC campus, there’s a free daily shuttle at scheduled times between University Park and ISI.

ISI is also close to LAX (about 10 minutes, depending on traffic), so air travel is convenient.

The Washington DC area has a large and reliable public transportation known as the Metro, which consists of both an expansive subway system and bus routes. ISI Arlington is one block from the Orange Line subway at the Virginia Square Metro Center. The Ballston Metro Center is a short walk away and includes an Orange Line stop , along with buses. See for more details.

The Washington DC metro area is also home to Reagan National Airport (DCA) and Dulles International Airport (IAD), both in neighboring Virginia.  Reagan National is closest to Washington DC and Arlington, but only handles flights that originate in the US.  International flights arrive and depart from Dulles or from Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, which is farther from both Washington and Arlington.  For a map of regional airports, click here.

Q: Are international students eligible for ISI internships?

A: Yes, we accept international students. We can help international students currently studying in the United States (F-1 visa holders), get an OPT or CPT status on top of your F-1, which is generally straightforward. Most students prefer CPT because approval time is much shorter, but CPT does require you to register for at least one unit of course credit during the summer. OPT usually takes two to three months to get approved, but doesn’t require registering for any units.

We can help international students currently studying outside the United States get a J-1 visa. Please note that we only provide visa assistance to students who have been accepted into the summer internship program.

Q:  Where can I learn more about working for ISI?

A:  Consult Information for New Employees on