The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) specifies the definition of an internship, as well as the criteria for something to be considered an "internship". The criteria are as follows:
1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student's academic coursework.
5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
Internships may be paid or unpaid. However, a paid internship may not be completed for credit, and an unpaid internship must be completed for credit if it is arranged through the university.
The School for Professional Studies has specific requirements regarding the eligibility of students to participate in an internship. The specific requirements are as follows:
• Junior or Senior status with at least a 3.5 GPA for coursework completed in the major and minor programs. Before consideration of placement, students must have attained junior status (60 academic hours). Also, each SPS program chair may establish additional requirements for internship eligibility, especially in reference to prerequisite courses or for specific internships
• Referral for placement will depend upon congruence among student's qualifications, department guidelines, and requirements of the placement site.
• Students must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the program and the site that they have a commitment to complete the internship once placement is made.
• The final selection of the placement site must be fully agreed upon by the student, the program chair and the internship supervisor.
• The internship site must result in a new experience for the student. Internships will not be approved for those situations where the student is simply continuing a part-time job or volunteer position with an organization.
• For unpaid internships (i.e., for-credit internships), students may enroll in no more than one course, not including the internship, during the same term that the internship is taken, unless an agreement is made with the program chair to enroll in more courses.
• A minimum of 135 hours (45 hours per credit hour) of work must be completed for a 3-credit internship. The program chair, the student and the site supervisor will agree upon the duration of the internship. The internship may take more than one term to complete.
• Students may complete more than one internship during their course of study at SPS. However, only one internship will be granted for academic credit.
• SPS oversees only for-credit, non-paid internships. Not-for-credit or paid internships can be obtained exclusively through the Career Services Academic Resources Center.
SPS students interested in applying for an internship must contact their academic advisor or program chair. University-wide internship information is also available on Career Link.
After inquiring about the internship, the student must work with his/her academic advisor to complete a formal internship application. Along with the application for internship the student must also submit a professional resume to the appropriate program chair for approval.
Approval of Internship Applicant
Following the approval of the internship application, internship description and professional resume, the program chair forwards the stated documents to the proposed internship site supervisor for review and approval. After the site supervisor approves the internship, the program chair selects a faculty sponsor. Hence, the student, the chosen faculty sponsor and the internship supervisor must agree on the student's participation of internship at the specified site.
After all parties have made a verbal agreement, the internship agreement form must be completed. The internship agreement form contains a student section, an internship supervisor section and a faculty sponsor section. The internship agreement form identifies the expectations of the student, internship supervisor, and the faculty sponsor. In order for the internship to be valid, all parties must sign the internship agreement form.
The faculty sponsor develops a clear list of expectations in relation to the internship and student performance. In addition, the internship supervisor will complete a midterm and end of term evaluation, determining satisfactory or unsatisfactory progress. The faculty sponsor will then consider the list of expectations and the internship evaluations submitted by the internship supervisor and make a recommendation of Pass/No Pass or A-F as a final grade.
Initiate Participation - Students should discuss their intention with their advisor or chosen faculty sponsor the term prior to the desired term of participation in the internship.
Students will register and pay tuition and fees in the term in which the internship begins.
Following the completion of the internship, students will complete a Student Intern Evaluation form. This form gives students the opportunity to critique the internship site, internship supervisor, faculty advisor, and the overall integrity of the internship experience.