Semester in the Profession (SIP) Program
The Semester in the Profession program, more commonly called the “SIP Program,” allows qualified accounting majors to spend part of the spring semester, typically in the junior year, gaining valuable, full-time, professional experience and enhancing their prospects for a career position, while getting paid and staying on track for graduation.
Big 4, Large National, and a wide diversity of smaller, regional** CPA firms seek SIPP interns to work during the “busy season.” Participants who complete the program earn up to 15 credits for the semester by participating in an internship practicum course (usually 9 credits) and taking two intensive accounting courses on campus.
Who can participate in a SIP internship?
Accounting majors are the only majors eligible for SIP internships as the academic component of the program is designed specifically for the accounting curriculum.
Interested students should WAIT to take CPA Law and Audit so that they can earn credits for these courses as part of the SIP semester. (See the section later on how the credits work.)
International students will want to meet with Kim Figueroa in the Chase Career Center to learn about the process of obtaining Curricular Practical Training (CPT) that will be needed for employment with a US firm. International students may choose “CPT Process for F1 Visa” in Navigate to make an appointment with Kim.
How does the SIP Program combine the internship and the academic coursework?
Students begin the internship experience in early January and work full time until mid-March or early April, in most cases. All academic credits are registered as Spring semester credits. The work generally follows this schedule:
- In late November, the department will hold a required meeting for students participating in SIP the next winter/spring called the “SIP Sendoff” meeting.
- SIP students will complete most of the academic work for the practicum credits after Fall classes end and before December 31.
- During the internship, students will continue to complete a small amount of work for the practicum credits.
- About 6 weeks before the semester ends, students return to campus and complete courses in CPA Law and Audit in an accelerated fashion.
When do I apply for a SIP Internship?
On Campus Recruiting (OCR) occurs during two recruiting timeframes:
Fall Semester (MOST POPULAR): Fall recruiting focuses on juniors, or students who are within a two-year window of completing 150 credits; it is the busiest of the two recruiting periods and includes all the CPA firms who participate in Isenberg on-campus recruiting program.
** Smaller, regional firms do NOT require 150 credits for entry into the profession at the full-time level. This means that an internship offer could lead to a start date that precedes a candidate’s completion of 150. All firms require 150-hour completion as it is a requirement for CPA certification and advancement as an accounting professional.
Spring Semester: This is an early recruiting period for internships that will occur during the following year. Generally, sophomores are targeted, but any student who is approximately two years from completion of 150 credits can participate. Only the large CPA (Big 4 + large national) firms participate in this early recruiting activity.
Students who accept offers for SIP internships during this recruiting period become ineligible to engage in recruiting during the fall semester; participating in more than one public accounting internship in a given year is prohibited.
Can I do a SIP internship in a state outside of Massachusetts?
Yes. Many of the large public accounting firms have locations nationwide and host winter/spring interns in many different cities. Be sure to communicate your desired location preference to the recruiter during the interview process.
Can I do a SIP internship with a firm that does NOT recruit at Isenberg?
Yes. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that the firm understands how Isenberg structures the SIP experience and that you will need to return to campus in early April (before the April 15th tax deadline) to complete required coursework. Meet with a Career Coach at the Chase Career Center if you have questions about this and/or need assistance communicating this information.
How do the credits work?
The SIP program is designed to allow a full 15 credits so that students do not fall behind academically. The Accounting Department will enroll students in SIP courses during the latter part of the fall semester preceding the start of the internship. The following credits comprise the academic portion of the SIPP internship:
- ACCT 498S (Professional Issues Seminar): usually 9 credits, with work done before the internship begins, during the internship, and completed about a week after your return. The 9 credits assume approximately 360 hours of internship hours.
- ACCTG 441 (Auditing): 3 credits
- ACCTG 483 (CPA Law): 3 credits
Students may opt for a 12-credit SIP semester if they have already completed either ACCTG 441 or ACCTG 483. In rare cases, part-time student status may be an option for some SIP candidates.
What about housing?
SIP students have various housing options, including living off campus; paying full board to secure their current room; or selecting the room lottery upon return to campus following the internship. Students will be notified of the Spring Housing Cancellation deadline in order to avoid any late fees.
What do I do after accepting a SIP offer?
In mid-November, the Accounting Department will contact potential SIP participants by email. The email will announce the date of a required “SIP SENDOFF” meeting that occurs at the end of the semester. It will also request the following information from students who have accepted SIP offers:
- Spire numbers, in order to enroll you in SIP classes
- Notification of spring housing cancellation date
- Your spring housing plans: Off Campus, Keep current room or Room Lottery
Is participating in the SIP Program more expensive than a regular academic semester?
No. SIP students will be billed by the University Bursar for full-time status, or part-time status if determined to be a better choice based on number of credits being earned, at the current rates. Students who elect to keep their current room on campus will be charged full board. Students opting for the room lottery upon return from the internship will be billed on a per diem basis for on-campus housing.
What should I keep in mind if I’m considering a SIP internship?
- You will be away from campus for at least half of the spring semester. While a SIP internship is a fantastic opportunity to get a “birds-eye” view of what the public accounting industry is all about, it does take you away from your campus experience for about two months.
- Successful recruiting for, and completion of, a SIP internship requires some advanced planning!
- Be sure that a SIP semester will accommodate your 150 plan. We recommend meeting with an academic advisor to determine if SIP makes sense for you.
- Plan your housing during the internship. Most students will live and commute to work from their homes. International students, and out-of-state students who wish to work at firms in Massachusetts, will need to find housing in proximity to their hiring firms. For placements in Boston, the UMass Mt. Ida campus in Newton, MA is a great choice for housing during the internship!