Internship Basics

What is an Internship?

An internship is a structured and supervised professional experience for which a student has intentional learning goals, reflects actively on what he or she is learning, and receives academic credit.

The Benefits of an Internship

  • Experience: Internships give you valuable real world work experience in a professional job setting.
  • Competitive Edge: According to a 2010 student survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), graduates who participated in internships were more competitive in the job market than their counterparts who did not.
  • Higher Salary: Students who complete at least one internship earn an average of $6,900 more than their peers who have no internship experience, according to a 2010 NACE survey.
  • Career Exploration: Internships allow you to explore potential careers to help you choose what professions would fit best.
  • Professional Skill Development: Interns are engaging in substantive work requiring problem solving, communicating with clients, and project management. The majority of an intern’s time is spent engaged in professional activities.
  • Networking: An internship facilitates the development of professional contacts that may help you in the future
  • Personal Development: You will develop a personal work ethic and be able to investigate your career interests, prospective career goals, and your approach to a professional workplace

General Policies


Do I qualify for a credit bearing internship?

You can enroll in an internship if you meet the following qualifications:

  • Junior or senior status and have completed three courses within the department that administers
  • the internship, or permission of the faculty internship adviser
  • Earned an overall GPA of 2.0


Can I enroll in more than one internship?

Students are permitted to take two internships under any of the following conditions*:

  • the internship site requires a two-term commitment
  • the student is a double major and wishes an internship in each major
  • the second internship is outside the major (e.g. in the minor)
  • the two internships are within the same major but are so different as to constitute a markedly different experience
  • the internships are not concurrent

Exceptions to these qualifications must be approved by the Academic Standards and Discipline Committee

How many credits do I receive for my internship?

Four credit internships have a minimum requirement of 160 hours per semester. Three credit internships require a minimum of 120 hours per semester. The number of credits assigned to an internship varies by department. Discuss specific credit requirements with your Faculty Advisor from the department in which your internship will be conducted.

How is the internship graded?

The faculty Internship Adviser and student work collaboratively to identify goals of the internship, desired learning outcomes, and any specific visible product or activity required to enable the faculty adviser to appropriately issue a grade. This could include:

  • A journal or daily log recording activities and hours
  • A scheduled meetings with the faculty internship adviser
  • A final research paper or other visible product such as a portfolio or video
  • A public oral presentation of results
  • Completion of the Internship Prep Course
  • Completion of the Internship Evaluation after the internship has concluded.

The Site host is also required to complete an evaluation of the student’s work which is used to assess student performance and determine the grade.

What are the standards for an academic internship?

To ensure that students select the most meaningful sites, faculty are involved in approving all internships for credit. Both faculty and staff in the Career and Professional Development Office assist students in evaluating sites by using the following standards to ensure that internships that are granted academic credit are of the highest caliber. All internships for credit must comply with these standards*. Internships that do not meet these criteria will not be approved.

  • Internships taken for credit must be completed off-campus unless approved by the Academic Standards and Discipline Committee.
  • Internship work experiences are substantive and challenging and relate to the student’s internship course. No more than 25% of an intern’s time should be spent doing clerical work.
  • A Site Supervisor provides on-going supervision. The supervision should include regularly scheduled meetings in which the student has opportunities for questions and feedback. The Site Supervisor must be a professional in a field related to the student’s major. A student’s relative may not be involved in supervision.
  • The Site Supervisor provides orientation to the work site and training for specific job duties.
  • The internship must take place in a professional setting. In-home settings are not ordinarily acceptable. Virtual internships are considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Opportunities to develop specific skills (i.e. research, writing, computer, and presentation skills) must be available.
  • The Faculty Adviser must be from the department in which the internship credit will be awarded.
  • The Faculty Adviser and Site Supervisor must be different people.
  • Students must complete an online evaluation of their internship experience at the end of the internship semester and return it to the Career and Professional Development Office.

*Exceptions to these standards must be approved by the Academic Standards and Discipline Committee