Academic Internships

Lawrence recognizes that a student’s education can be enhanced by the combination of academic and experience-based learning. Academic internships provide students an opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom and to bring back to the classroom an enriched perspective on their learning.

Where academic departments find that the interaction of academic pursuits and work experience is both appropriate to their relevant disciplines and feasible in terms of available work experiences, they normally offer academic internships. These internship courses are listed in this catalog under departmental offerings, and they are offered at differing levels of the curriculum. Where no departmental internship exists, student-designed internships may be proposed to the Committee on Instruction. Proposals must be submitted to the Committee on Instruction by the end of the fifth week of the term before the start of the internship.

Students may take a maximum of 12 units of academic internship in fulfillment of their major, minor, or graduation requirements. Academic internships require prior approval by the relevant academic department (in cases where a departmental internship is available) or by a faculty supervisor/academic department and the Committee on Instruction (in cases where a departmental internship is not available). Academic internships may be paid or unpaid.

Students enrolled in academic internships engage in work or service experiences with intentional learning objectives that promote reflection throughout the experience and that relate to their academic interests. Site and faculty supervisors work closely with the students and provide evaluations of the students’ activities at the end of the internship.

The academic component of the internship includes readings related to the substance of the internship, discussions with the faculty supervisor, and a written report appropriate to the discipline. Course grades are based on this academic work.

Application forms for student-designed academic internships may be obtained from the offices of the provost and dean of the faculty, the dean of student academic services, and the registrar and from Career Services and the Main Hall, Briggs Hall, conservatory, and art center faculty offices.

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.

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.

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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