Academic Credit for Internships

Internships, whether with or without credit, offers an important learning experience. Credit policies differ among departments. Students should work with faculty and advisors to determine if academic credit for internships is possible and how it might fit into curricular requirements. Tuition and fees are charged for credit bearing internship courses.

Components of Strong Internships

  • Student and employer define learning goals
  • Employer supervisor supports the student in the pursuit of those goals
  • Intern receives an orientation and training
  • Student has a specific project/responsibilities and opportunities to learn about organization's operations
  • Student meets organization’s leaders
  • Student works a substantial amount of time in order to meet learning goals; this may be a minimum of 45-50 hours per credit hour or another time frame as approved by the department

Before the Internship

  • If available, students participate in an internship preparation course which includes content on professionalism
  • Student meets with faculty/advisors to determine if the proposed experience meets the department’s requirements. During this meeting, the student may set goals and expectations.
  • An Internship Memorandum of Understanding outlines personal learning objectives and details of the internship. Students and internship supervisors complete this memorandum to share a mutual understanding of the nature of the work and of student goals. Students should check with their department for forms or use the Career Services Internship Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
    Learning Objective Examples:
    1. To develop a social media strategy and use current tools (advertising)
    2. To learn how to audit corporate records (accounting)
    3. To understand refugee concerns and develop programs to aid in transition (global studies)
  • Students and faculty may prepare an Academic Credit Contract or alternative document to define the academic activities completed in addition to tasks for the employer. Examples include:
    1. Journals
    2. Weekly log
    3. Reflective portfolio
    4. Networking events
    5. Sharing the experience
    6. Discipline specific samples of work (research abstracts, writing samples, etc.)

During the Internship

  • Students work with their supervisor to consider how this experience could look on a resume and write specific resume bullet points.
  • Student should be assigned a specific, relevant project.
  • Students should have the opportunity to meet with the organization's leaders to broaden the experience.

After the Internship

  • Students and supervisors should complete and together review evaluations. Evaluations also help academic departments foster relationships that may help with curriculum development. The following examples are available:
    1. Sample Student Evaluation
    2. Sample Employer Evaluation
  • Students should share their internship experience with other students and their faculty through classroom panels, internship fairs, social media, blogs, etc. This allows others to see the value of internships and connection to curriculum. n