An internship is defined as a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting (NACE 2023).

In a competitive job market, having an internship can help set recent college graduates apart from other applicants. In fact, research shows that when choosing between two equally qualified candidates, employers often consider internship experience as the #1 factor in their hiring decision (NACE Job Outlook 2023).

While students typically complete internships during their junior or senior year of college, since internships can be highly competitive, it's never too early to start researching organizations, networking, and seeking professional experience.


Getting Started

    There are many benefits to having an internship, including:

    • Acquiring industry knowledge

    • Understanding multiple aspects of an organization

    • Learning how to implement classroom knowledge in a professional work environment

    • Developing career competencies to help you advance in your future career

    • Expanding your professional network

    • Increasing your job prospects


    Not sure where to begin? Here are some tips for finding the internship that's right for you.

    1.  Define your goals

    Think about what kind of internship you're looking for. What type of experience do you want to gain and how does this align with your academic interests and/or career goals? Also consider your personal requirements - location, pay, timeline, etc. This will help you focus your search.

    2.  Start searching early

    Decide on a timeline for your internship (e.g., summer of junior year) and start searching early. Unlike most jobs, internships are usually filled well in advance. In general, you should start looking for an internship at least 3-5 months in advance.

    3.  Update your resume/cover letter

    Make sure that your resume and cover letter are up-to-date and follow best practices.

    4.  Meet with a career coach

    Schedule an appointment with the Center for Career Development and Internships. We can discuss your career goals, review your resume/cover letter, and discuss internship search strategies and possible leads.

    5.  Utilize Handshake

    Search internship postings on Handshake. With 750,000+ employers recruiting on Handshake, its the #1 way college students find jobs and internships.

    6.  Attend career fairs

    Our career fairs and events are a great opportunity to meet with recruiters and learn more about internship opportunities within their organizations.

    7.  Tap into your network

    Just as 80% of jobs are filled through networking, many internships are as well! Tap into your network, including family, friends, co-workers, classmates, and professors.

    Many internship opportunities are advertised as "unpaid." The Department of Labor has provided a fact sheet to help clarify whether or not an intern working in the for-profit private sector must be paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The fact sheet outlines 6 main criteria that must be met in order for an internship to be unpaid: 

    1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
    2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
    3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
    4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
    5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
    6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for time spent in the internship.

    View the full fact sheet here: Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act (pdf - 35.3KB)


    Winthrop University's internship programs give students the opportunity to earn academic credit for their internships. To request credit, you must:

    • Complete the Internship Agreement Form and other paperwork as required by your department's Internship Coordinator.

    • Register for the appropriate internship course (each course has its own requirements).

    • Complete the required coursework such as hour logs and mid-point/final evaluations.

    To learn more about internships in your area of interest, please contact the CDI. We can help you locate internships to apply for, prepare internship résumés and cover letters, make suggestions for references, and point you in the right direction if you want to receive academic credit for your experience.

    The CDI partners with several internship programs on campus.

    • Psychology (PSYC 340A, 340B, 340C)

    • Chemistry (CHEM 461, 462, 463)

    • Individualized Studies (INDV 460)

    A list of all other internship programs and Internship Coordinators can be found here.

    Eligibility Requirements

    Students must meet the following requirements to participate in the internship program:

    • Must be enrolled at least part-time in a degree program at Winthrop University

    • Must have earned at least 24 credit hours (including at least 12 credit hours at Winthrop)
    • Must have a 2.5 GPA (unless express permission is granted by department)

    How to Participate

    Step 1. Find an internship that aligns with your career goals

    • To learn more about internship opportunities in your area of interest and/or receive assistance with your resume/cover letter, schedule an internship consultation with the CDI in Handshake. You can also meet with your department's Internship Coordinator.

    Step 2. Complete the Internship Agreement Form

    • Receive approval for your internship by completing Internship Agreement Form (PDF - 565 KB) and submit to the CDI and your department for approval. Students may not begin counting their internship hours until they receive approval.

    Step 3. Register for the internship course

    • Register for the appropriate internship course as instructed by your department. Students must complete the internship during the semester of their enrollment in the internship course. No retroactive awarding of course credit is allowed for past internships.

    Course Requirements

    1. Work Hours Log

    • You must log your hours using the Work Hours Log (PDF - 95.7 KB). Once you have completed your required hours, you must have your supervisor verify with their signature and then provide a copy to the CDI. Do not submit your hours on a different form.

    2. Mid-Point Evaluations

    • Once you have completed half of your internship hours, you and your supervisor must complete the mandatory Mid-Point Evaluation. This information will be sent to your course instructor as part your grade.

    3. Final Evaluations

    • Once you have completed all of your internship hours, you and your supervisor must complete the mandatory Final Evaluation. This information will be sent to your course instructor as part your grade.

    4. Reflection Paper / Weekly Journal Entries

    • Once you have completed your required internship hours, you must write a thoughtful reflection (minimum of 3 pages) on your internship experience.

    Any additional requirements will be listed on course syllabus.



"...Nothing prepared me for my career field like my internship. Having this real-life learning experience taught me so much about my field."

Miguel '23