We have all heard of internships, but many people do not realize the extent to which internships can accelerate their career development. You can break into almost any field, in any industry, by just doing an internship or two. Do three and you will really stand out!
Can I do an internship?
All students in our traditional undergraduate program and Professionals program are eligible to do internships. Most students in our graduate programs are also eligible to do internships. Please ask your advisor if you can obtain credit as a part of your program.
Each department may also have additional requirements such as writing a paper, keeping a journal, or meeting with them. Ask your advisors what will need to be done.
A Guide to Internships
Read this guide for advice and resources about finding internships and making the most of them.
What are the benefits?
- Learning: Internships supplement students' academic foundations by providing hands-on learning.
- Practical training: Many internships offer practical training & experience that is needed for entry into the field.
- Career exploration: Students who obtain first-hand knowledge through an internship have more experience to help inform their career decisions.
- Social skill development: Emotional intelligence, active listening, and interpersonal skills are desired by organizations for success in today's workplace.
- Exposure to the world of work: Students who complete internships have a more realistic outlook on work.
- Career development: Internships stand out as key resume builders, provide great experience to help answer future interview questions, and broaden students' networks.
Will I get paid?
Most people think internships are unpaid and some are. But it really depends on the industry and job market. Many internships actually pay $10–15 per hour, however, some very competitive industries do not pay because they don't have to. Sometimes even more valuable than pay--internships give you the skills, knowledge, and contacts you will need to break into any field. Internships typically last 1-2 semesters but some last longer.
How can I earn academic credit?
- Have a minimum 2.5 GPA.
- Complete a minimum of 28 credits prior to enrolling.
Steps to Take:
- Get an internship that is related to your major, has educational benefit, and serves as genuine work experience. See below for strategies that help with finding an internship.
- Register and pay for the units just like you are taking a class. This includes summer, even if you are not taking any other courses. Internship credits are earned under the 492 course number (for all departments except Multimedia). The course grade is P/NP only, and is based on job performance and evidence of learning.
- Complete the Cooperative Education Agreement Form. Note: Approved internship applications must be submitted no later than 2 weeks after the last day to add a class, pending approval of the Dean and Department Chair. The Registrar will then complete your internship credit registration and process your units.
- The amount of credit for each course is determined by your Faculty Advisor and may vary by department.
- Credit for each course is determined by the instructor and department chair. Normally sixty (60) hours of on-site work throughout the semester or term are required for each unit of academic credit granted. This may include some formal class time, meetings with the instructor, and related reflective activities. The course grade (Pass/No Credit only) is determined by the instructor. Students must be in good academic standing.
- Students in the traditional undergraduate program may receive a maximum of 4 credits per semester (including summer). A maximum of 8 credits total may be earned through internships. Hours and credits earned are approved by faculty. Please direct questions to the faculty sponsor that signed your Cooperative Education Agreement form. Bachelor's Degree for Professionals students may receive a maximum of 2 credits per term and may take a total of no more than eight (8) credits in internships.
- Some students need credit because their major requires it or because they are short 1-3 units. Credit does cost students in units so some will not want credit but instead do their internship for resume and skill building. It is also a great way to learn more about the world of work and a particular industry or field.
How do I find an internship?
There are a few ways. Our first recommended step is to create an account on CLUpostings.com and set up a daily email agent to receive emails on internships in your fields of choice. Career Services also stores a list of many other job & internship posting sites, Once you find postings that you are interested in, apply! You can upload your resume and cover letter to CLUpostings.com for a review within 48 hours M-F.
Internships can also be found by taking a more proactive approach. Decide where you might want to work and check their website or call the employer's main line to ask for their internship coordinator. If they do not have one, ask for the Director in a department that you want to work for. You may also want to ask anyone you know such as friends, family, and faculty what contacts they have related to your interests. Check out the Proactive Job Search Scripts document in the CLUpostings.com Document Library for a suggested phone/email scripts!
4A Cause Non-Profit Internship Program:
The “4A Cause” Experiential Learning Internship Program gives students the opportunity to work with a nonprofit organization that they feel passionate about helping. The program is offered every Fall Semester and applicants are matched directly to employers within their scope of interest. To learn more, click here.
How do I make the most of my internship?
By being a sponge for everything you encounter or are exposed to in your new position. Treat it like a full-time job! Learn as much as you possibly can and ask questions. Interview people on their lunch hours within the organization, or meet for coffee. Try to make friends, they make great future contacts! And lastly, ask for extra projects and tasks to do when you are caught up. This will lead to possible full-time employment and/or great references for the future.
NOTE: Campus Work Study Jobs can be great, if you do not have a car and they can look just as good on your resume Learn more here
How can I find out more about internships?
First, develop a basic resume so that you can meet with a Career Counselor to discuss your career goals. If you need samples, check out the Document Library in CLUpostings.com or contact Career Services.
What if I am an international student?
International students are allowed to do internships as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) in all of our undergraduate programs and most of our graduate programs. Internships can be paid or unpaid, but you MUST earn academic credit and have official authorization from immigration in order to work. Make sure to review the information on the International Student Services website to get approval before doing an internship.
MBA Students: MBA’s can do an internship but have to receive academic credit, and must do it only for a Capstone Project at the end of their program once all courses are done. Domestic MBA’s can do internships at ANY time, but if they want credit it has to be as a Capstone Project. Make sure to review the MBA Internship Policies and Procedures for more details.