Internship FAQs for Faculty

Does the student need to have a minimum number of credit hours/be at a certain class standing to participate in an academic internship program?
Some departments require students to have junior (90+ credit hours) or senior (135+ credit hours) class standing. At a minimum, most departments require students to have declared their major. (Along with that they may require a minimum number of departmental credit hours or some prerequisite course work in the department prior to placement for credit.)

Is there a minimum grade point average required for participation?
A&S requires that, at a minimum, the student must have a 2.0 (be in good academic standing). Some departments have increased this minimum to a 2.5 or 2.7 requirement.

Are there prerequisite classes that must be taken prior to participating in the academic internship experience?
There is not a universally required course in A&S. However, some departments do have a prerequisite class that students must take prior to the internship experience. This class often will help educate students on proper business etiquette and attire, liability and risk management issues, as well as provide information about confidentiality and proprietary materials. Some other departments require that the student accumulate a minimum number of credits in their major prior to participation.    

How does the student earn academic credit?
The department needs to assign a unique course number to the academic internship experience. A department/faculty member should be assigned to the program/class. Students will then register for this course and complete the required work in order to earn academic credit.

What does the student need to accomplish to earn credit for the experience?
The academic internship experience should extend beyond the out-of-class work experience. There should be learning objectives and a manner to measure the outcomes of the experience, a method for reporting about the experience and a synthesis of the experience and prior learning.

Measuring learning objectives can occur through a standard format for each student, or you could create an individualized learning agreement for each student to meet his/her needs. Some examples of reporting methods and synthesis projects are through weekly journal entries, a culminating paper or presentation, or some other assignment agreed to by the department.

In addition, there should be an evaluation completed by the participating student and the employer to ensure that both were satisfied with the experience and to help the program grow.

How many credits can the student earn for an academic internship experience?
Generally a student will earn 3 credit hours for an internship that requires 8-12 hours of work a week over a 14-15 week semester. The department can decide how this credit will be counted (toward credit in the major versus as elective credit).

How many times can a student participate in academic internships (and receive credit)?
This is a departmental decision and depends on how the credit is awarded to the student. Some departments allow students to earn credit for three separate internship experiences, however only the first three credit hours will count toward major credit (the remaining credit hours will be counted as elective credit). Another department allows students to earn up to 12 credit hours in experiential learning courses (this includes experiences such as undergraduate research and teaching assistant positions, field work and internships).

Is there a limit to how many credits, aside from the academic internship experience, the student can be enrolled for?
There is no limit on how many credits a student may be enrolled for during the time of his/her internship, unless specified by department. However, it is recommended that students be mindful of their time commitment to the organization they are interning with. It is recommended that students be registered for no more than 15 additional credit hours while completing the internship.

Should there be class meetings for academic internships?
This is a departmental decision. However, it is recommended that there be at least 2-3 class meetings and/or individual meetings between the faculty member and the students. These meetings/classes should be used to; 1. Discuss expectations on the part of all participating members (timeliness, assignments, dress code, etc.), 2. Check on the status of the experience, and 3. Evaluate the program.

How is the grade assigned for the academic internship experience?
This is a departmental decision. It is generally based on a combination of hours of work completed, quality of work completed, completion of related assignments, and possibly the employer evaluation. Some departments assign a letter grade, while others use a pass/fail system.    

Can a student get paid while earning credit for the academic internship?
YES! In fact, we are encouraging departments and individuals to find opportunities where the student can get paid. However, many academic internships are unpaid. We always are looking for ways to subsidize students for the work experience in the future if they choose to work for a program that cannot pay them.

Some students working in non-profit organizations who are eligible for Federal Work Study (FWS), may be able to work out a situation where they could use their FWS money for an internship or employment off campus. Contact the UC Financial Aid Office for more information.

Positions that are paid, offer anything from a small stipend (minimum wage or less) to $15 per hour. Other factors that may be negotiable in setting up the internship opportunities when a salary or a stipend are not available are free parking at the place of employment or employee meal cards (if available) to help off set some of the financial burden for the student.

Does the student get credit if they get paid?
There is no college policy that prohibits a student from receiving financial compensation in addition to receiving credit for internship work. However, some departments do have policies that prohibit a student from getting paid for the experience if you are earning academic credit. Check with your departmental contacts to be sure.