Who can apply?

The IIC is open to recent and forthcoming UChicago graduates of any undergraduate or graduate degree program. The IIC welcomes applications from outside UChicago from any non-Indian institution. Applicants for the 2019-2020 Program must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Class of 2018 or 2019 graduates of any program (undergraduate or graduate)

  • 2018 or 2019 graduates of all graduate degree program, including Masters, PhDs, JDs, MBAs and MDs

  • Current students in a graduate degree program who will not be completing their program in 2019 but want to take a gap year

2019-2020 Indian applicants must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Indian university graduates should have graduated within the last 5-7 years from an undergraduate or graduate institution within India.

  • Preference is given to applicants with 2-5 years of work experience.

Am I eligible?

If you have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree within the past year (Indians) or within the last 5 years (Indians), you are eligible. You must have an undergraduate degree and have either completed your graduate program or plan on taking a gap year.


Does the IIC seek candidates with specific academic backgrounds or majors?

The IIC does not prefer any one major over another, but rather seeks students from a variety of disciplines, experiences, and problem-solving methods. The IIC values creative problem solving, hard work and initiative, and team work. The IIC looks for candidates who have embodied these characteristics in principle and practice.

We welcome applications from all areas of study and experience, including generalists. Additionally, skills in the following specialized areas are desired but not required:

  • Law

  • Policy development

  • Sanitation

  • IT/Programming

  • Education

  • Healthcare management

  • Project management

  • Engineering

  • Marketing

  • Finance

  • Strategy

  • Urban development/Architecture

  • Energy & the environment

  • Quantitative Data Analysis

  • Project Management

  • Economics

If you are interested in having an impact on the greatest challenges facing governments, creating a network of experts and highly regarded professionals around the world, and building lifelong friendships within the IIC Project Associate community, then the IIC is the place for you. Apply today.  

Is previous foreign experience required for Project Associates?

The IIC does not require foreign travel experience, and encourages candidates to apply regardless of whether they have previous foreign experience. Nonetheless, for applicants that do have foreign experience, including study, travel, and work, we'd love to hear about it in your application.

Is there a grade cutoff for IIC applicants?

There is no minimum GPA for IIC applicants. However, the application process is competitive and high GPAs will be a part of a strong application. 

What are the qualities of an ideal candidate?

Ideal candidates are creative problem-solvers who are highly motivated, persistent when faced with challenges, collaborative, flexible, comfortable with ambiguity, and driven by a desire to make the world a better place. IIC Project Associates will be selected on the basis of attributes including academic excellence, creativity, integrity, critical thinking, in-demand skills, work experience, the ability to work on a team and a commitment to global engagement.

Can I apply if I am a student in the US, but not at UChicago?

Yes, the IIC invites applicants from other US universities as well as international universities.




Where should references be uploaded, and by whom? How will these references be contacted?

The Online Application has a place to enter in the email address and phone numbers of whomever you choose as your reference. That person will receive an email or phone call from the IIC recruitment team if you make it to the final rounds of the application process. A reference should be anyone you have worked with in the past (professionally or academically) who can speak to your strengths and help give us a sense of who you are. 


Does the IIC prefer one type of letter of reference (academic or professional) over another?

The IIC does not prefer one type of reference over the other, and leaves it to you to choose a recommender who will provide the greatest insight into your strength as a candidate.

What are you looking for in the innovation proposal?

We encourage you to think creatively and originally. You must propose a solution. However, we recognize that you are likely not a longtime expert in the topic you choose to write your proposal about. We are more interested in seeing that you demonstrate a thoughtful defense of your solution, how to implement it, and its limitation, than we are in seeing a proposal that focuses on originality to the exclusion of feasibility and critical thought.


Can I submit a video Innovation Proposal?

Yes. Video Innovation Proposals should be hosted online; please submit a document with a link to the video. The video should be about 3 minutes long.


What if I don’t have a GPA or class ranking?

It isn’t necessary to submit a GPA, class ranking, transcripts or mark sheets.


Do I have to submit GRE, GMAT or any other exam scores in order to apply for the IIC program?



What are the locations for the interviews and would the expenses be borne by the candidate?

Interviews will be held in Chicago, Delhi, Mumbai and virtually from around the world. It is not required to be in any of these locations, as we can connect through Skype therefore no anticipated expenses. If you were to incur local transportation expenses, those would be paid for by you.

Does the IIC offer deferrals for accepted applicants?

We do not offer a deferral option; however, if you apply in a subsequent year, the previous year’s application would be considered favorably in your application. And likely another year of experience will make your application even stronger!


Can I talk to a current Project Associates to learn more about what day-to-day life is like as a Project Associate?

Yes, we can connect you to our current Project Associates. Please email iic@uchicago.edu with your request.


Support and Training


What kind of support can I expect from the IIC?

The IIC will hold required training and orientation in August of 2019. The IIC will provide support in the following areas: visa acquisition, payment for one roundtrip ticket to India, housing during the training session, evacuation insurance for non-Indian Project Associates, health and safety protocols, project management oversight, and professional development opportunities. The IIC also provides a stipend to cover living costs for the duration of the Fellowship. During the summer 2019, the IIC will host a required training. During this training, IIC Project Associates and IIC administrators will review in detail the management support and expectations for each Project Associate.

Training starts in summer of 2019, but I will not have finished my coursework or thesis by then. Can I still apply?

All Project Associates are required to have completed their coursework and theses for their degree before beginning training, with the exception of graduate students who are taking a gap year away from their program. If you are interested in applying to the IIC, please ensure that you can meet this requirement.

Training starts in summer of 2019, but I plan to take the bar exam over the summer. Can I still apply?

Yes. The IIC has adjusted the training start date to accommodate your plans to study for and take the bar exam. Training begins after the bar exam date. 




When does the Fellowship start and end?

Training for the Fellowship will start around July 30th, 2019 and end at the end of August 2019. We will consider extending the Fellowship to a second or third year for our strongest performing PAs.

How are IIC teams structured?

IIC teams typically include a Project Lead (a former Project Associate), Project Associates with various levels of professional and academic experience, an Engagement Manager, and partners from the host organization. During training, teams complete team building exercises that help them build the structure of their own team. 

Is the IIC a one-year only engagement?

No. Project Associates who excel and enjoy the work throughout the first year may be invited to participate in a second year of the Fellowship either staying involved with the same project or moving to a new project. Additionally, after two years of the Fellowship, additional professional development opportunities within the IIC may be available. 

Where do IIC teams live in India?

This varies each year and by project. The 2017-2018 IIC teams were based in New Delhi, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Kovvur. Teams will travel throughout India as required by their projects.


Would any part of the program be based at the University of Chicago or anywhere else in the USA? Or, would the entire program be based in India?

The entire program is based in India.


Do Project Associates receive vacation time?

Project Associates are allotted 14 vacation days and 12 sick days. Project Associates will also have the three Indian national public holidays off (Independence Day, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, and Republic Day) and any other days when your host organization is closed. We encourage Project Associates to wait until November to take vacation days, as the first three months are critical to the success of their teams and projects.

What do Project Associates do after they have completed the Fellowship?

The IIC provides the Project Associates support in finding opportunities upon completion of the Fellowship. Some Project Associates go on to graduate or professional degree programs. Others may continue working with their host organization or with the IIC. Others still find jobs across various sectors, including business, consulting, development, and non-profits. 


I would like additional information on the placement opportunities. What is the process? Where have previous PAs been placed? 

There are a wide range of opportunities our Project Associates have gone on to do. What is important to know is that we are very happy to help with your career development efforts. We are happy to connect you with anyone in our network who you are interested in working with in the future. Some of the specific post-Fellowship positions include:

  • World Bank

  • Nonprofit and social impact consulting

  • White House Internship

  • Started own business

  • Grad school (Berkeley, Fletcher, Stanford, to name a few)

  • Design thinking firm

  • Foundation program manager

  • Law firm




How are Project Associates matched to projects and how are the teams assigned?

After accepting the offer to join the IIC, Project Associates are assigned to teams.  Project Associates are matched to project teams based on individual skills, academic coursework, related work and volunteer experience, interviews, and skills and qualifications requested by the host institution. Furthermore, when assigning project teams, the IIC aims to build strength in teams through a diverse set of skills, experiences, and personalities working together.


If I receive an offer, will a team assignment come with it?

No. We carefully consider many factors when assigning teams, such as gender, age, experience, interests, expertise, language skills and nationality. We wait until all offers have been accepted before making team assignments. Additionally, during the team assignment process, we issue a survey to get more details on your areas of interest and level of experience with certain skills.


What kind of work do Project Associates do during their Fellowship year?

Think of every IIC team as a startup, and you’ll begin to have a picture of what your year as an IIC Project Associate might look like. We can’t tell you exactly what kind of work you’ll do, because in large part, IIC team members, mentors and host institutions work together to determine what the work looks like. While every project team’s workweek will vary depending on the nature of the project and the culture of the team, everyone’s work will be demanding and focused on social impact.

For example, if your project is about getting potable water to a rural region without access to many paved roads, your ‘work’ might be identifying or designing a product that could transport water without constant breakdown and contamination; it could involve rerouting existing transportation routes with government officials and engineers in order to provide transportation to that village; it could involve gathering and analyzing data to evaluate impact; or it could involve giving a presentation to a state government official to convince her to scale your solution statewide. Each project comes with its own ‘work’ possibilities and each IIC Project Associate will do a little bit of everything, as one would in a startup environment. Your work will require both horsepower and brainpower.

Where do Project Associates work?

Project Associates are based in the offices of the government, foundation, or NGO partner or, in the cases of projects with multiple stakeholders, a partner of the government. 


What does a day in the life of a Project Associate look like?

Fortunately or unfortunately, there is no typical day in the life of an IIC Project Associate. Some days are in the field and some days are in the office, depending on where you are within your project and the focus of the project. Here are examples some of the tasks PAs do fairly commonly: 

  • Design interventions or plans for implementing interventions

  • Research other organizations and/or geographic locations facing similar issues

  • Plan events

  • Draft agreements and follow up with partners until signed

  • Attend meetings (with government partners and within the IIC team)

  • Field visits

  • Data analysis

  • Marketing, communications and related activities

  • Create templates for partners to use

  • Process improvement analysis and process improvement recommendations

  • Design and/or implement training programs


Can I finish my thesis during training? Can I do other work while I am a Project Associate?

We suggest your thesis or other job-related work be completed prior to training because it is very difficult to take care of other obligations during training. The days are very full and there are few hours in the day that you'll have free. The program will start around July 30th.  All course work or job commitments should be complete or on hold by the beginning of training.  After training, as you start your projects, you can see what your schedule is like and, if feasible, you may consider working on outside projects. Please note that your IIC project would always be the first priority and will most likely be demanding on your time.


About the IIC


Does the IIC only do projects in India?

Currently, the IIC works on year round projects in India and the United States, specifically Chicago. We have had a successful pilot of a summer program in Brazil, and we hope to expand this over the coming years. If you would like to partner with the IIC as a host for a project in another country, please email iic@uchicago.edu.

Does the IIC accept volunteers?

We do accept volunteers on an as-needed basis. For more information about volunteering with the IIC, please email iic@uchicago.edu.




Bring your questions to one of our informational sessions. We host events at the University of Chicago on the Hyde Park campus, at the University of Chicago Delhi Center in India., or virtually on a webinar from anywhere in the world.