Internships are a great opportunity for you to gain valuable experience related to your major or career interest and to help you begin networking in the professional arena. Internships may be completed for credit, but need not be. We strongly encourage you to include an internship for credit in your Plan of Study. When completing an internship for credit, you will need to identify a faculty supervisor and enroll in an internship course in the faculty supervisor’s department. Your faculty supervisor will typically expect you to do relevant reading and writing, allowing you to reflect on your internship experiences and make connections between your internship and your academic work.
- Finding an internship - If you know you want to do an internship, visit the Center for Career and Civic Engagement, located in Crawford Building. You may also find internship listings and advice on various departmental web sites. You may also look at various opportunities beyond university resources for internships. Your supervisor (see item 2) members may assist you in identifying opportunities in various offices of state or local government, in schools, in community centers, in volunteer organizations, with political or advocacy groups, or in a variety of businesses.
- Identifying a faculty supervisor - If you wish to complete an internship for credit, you will need to contact a faculty member to supervise your internship. Some departments have specific faculty who supervisor internships. In other departments, the supervisor can be any faculty member. Your faculty supervisor will be responsible for assigning your grade. She will also help you articulate the specific learning experiences that you both deem important for you to get the most benefit from the internship experience.
Please be aware of prerequisites for internship courses and plan ahead. To receive credit for an internship, you must register prior to undertaking the work. Normally, registration for an internship involves getting permission from your faculty supervisor’s department. This needs to be done prior to starting the internship! You CANNOT receive retroactive credit for internship work you have already completed!
- Creating a learning contract - You will also need to create and implement a learning contract. This is a document crafted between the student, internship site supervisor, and faculty supervisor to assist you in identifying skills, knowledge, and experiences you hope to gain while on internship. The internship should be designed to help you integrate, consolidate, and apply what you have learned from the various facets of your on-campus program. This contract will need to be signed by you, your faculty supervisor, and your internship site supervisor.
What should I be aware of?
- Give yourself lots of time. You should begin this process nine months to a year in advance. Many companies and organizations look for interns in the fall for the following summer or fall semester.
- If you complete your internship during fall or spring semester, your regular tuition will cover the cost of internship credits. If you plan to complete your internship during the summer, be aware that you will be charged additional fees based on the number of credits to be completed.
- Each credit for internship work must entail at least 50 hours of work and the required number of work hours must be clearly stated in your internship contract.
- The Individualized Studies Program does not forbid monetary payment for internship work, provided that such payment is incidental to the experiential learning to be gained from the work. However, individual departments may choose to forbid monetary payment for internships under the supervision of their faculty.
- Some internships allow students to participate in organizations and advocacy groups that perform or disseminate research, or engage in legislative lobbying, in order to affect the content of legislation or budgetary decisions. The program recommends that internship supervisors not assign student interns to activities supportive of legislation or budget decisions directly affecting Winthrop University. It is especially in the best interests of the university that none of its interns be engaged in face-to-face legislative lobbying for the university.
- The type of grading (S/U or Letter Grades) for an internship depends in part on the department that is supervising your internship. Your faculty advisor will be able to let you know what type of grading applies to your internship.
An internship is an invaluable experience. It offers you insight into a particular career path. It gives you practical work experience. It provides an opportunity to network with other people who share your interests. The knowledge, skills, and connections that you acquire through an internship will be a key asset as you seek employment or apply to graduate or professional schools.