Why should I complete an internship?

Students complete internships for a variety of reasons: to remain competitive in the job market, to determine their interest or skill level in a field, for the opportunity to work with the leaders of their field, or to have a more meaningful experience than a typical part-time or seasonal job. In addition to the obvious benefits for those who are going directly to the job market after graduation, many graduate schools also look very favorably on candidates who have significant practical experience that supports their academic focus. Indeed, some graduate programs, such as counseling or business, will only consider candidates who have "real-life" work experience as demonstrated by professional positions or a series of internships.

Can I get paid for doing an internship?

Internships can be either paid or unpaid. In some fields, particularly in non-profit work, internships are frequently unpaid, or offer a small stipend to cover living expenses. You may consider taking a part-time job along with your internship in order to earn money for school. There are also some grants or fellowships that may be available to support an internship in a non-profit organization. Many internships, however, are paid. In fact, in some areas, such as technology, internships can pay very well! These tend to be the more competitive internships, so starting your search early on will improve your chances of gaining a paid internship.


An internship provides an opportunity to apply what you have been learning in the classroom, to bring perspectives from the world outside the university to your future coursework, and to learn more about yourself and your career interests while you make important contacts and discover opportunities.  To learn about internship opportunities, contact the Internships Coordinator, Taylor Koch, in Career Services, and see the FAQ below.

Can I get academic credit for an internship?

Yes, you can do an internship for academic credit with prior approval by the department.  Academic internships must have learning objectives and ongoing reflection related to the student's academic interests.  They must also include relevant readings and discussion with the faculty supervisor and a written report appropriate to the discipline.  The grade for the internship is based on this academic work.  Many departments offer academic internships (look for course numbers 395, 595, or 695).  If an academic internship is not offered by the department, you can prepare an Application for an Academic Internship and submit it to the Instruction Committee for approval.

What is an internship?

The National Society for Experiential Education defines an internship as "a carefully monitored work or volunteer experience in which an individual has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience." Internships are different from any short-term jobs or volunteer experiences in that they are specifically tied to the intern's career interests and the intern brings an intentional learning agenda to the experience. Rather than simply performing a set of tasks for an employer, an intern (often in collaboration with a faculty member, internship coordinator, or employer) develops specific learning objectives prior to beginning the internship, and the employer makes a commitment to meet those objectives.

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