What is an internship?
An internship is a work experience that integrates practical experience in the workplace with reflection, research, and other academic work. It is a planned, structured, and supervised experience that enables you to gain career-related work experience before graduating. Internships are opportunities to “try on” and explore various career options while developing communication, teamwork, leadership, and other industry-specific skills.
Why should I seek an internship?
- To test your skills and interests in different career settings.
- To learn how to interact professionally and develop confidence.
- To obtain valuable experience for employment after graduation.
- To earn course credit and fulfill approved requirements in your major.
- To earn money to help finance your education.
What qualifies for an internship?
In general, an internship is a position that requires you to have taken classes related to the position requirements. They are professional-track positions which would not be available to someone who was not pursuing a bachelor’s degree. The job description for an internship must be more than filing, answering the phone, photocopying, and other routine responsibilities. Running personal errands is an unacceptable internship responsibility, and home offices are unacceptable internship sites. The faculty sponsor gives final approval of your internship, and works with you to determine learning objectives and activities that will be used to determine your grade.
Who is my faculty sponsor?
Your faculty sponsor is a professor in your major area of study who is willing to approve your internship, decide the criteria for your evaluation (example: research or reflection paper) and give you a grade upon completion of the internship. Many students choose their faculty advisor to be their faculty sponsor, but any professor in your major area of study could be your faculty sponsor.
Can a part-time student job also be an internship?
Yes. If your part-time student job is directly related to your field of study, you can work with your work supervisor and faculty sponsor to determine learning objectives and activities within the context of your position. Part-time jobs can be found on Handshake and through the Office of Student Employment.
Can I get internship credit for my current job?
You may be able to turn your current position into an internship, depending on the scope of your job responsibilities and how directly they relate to your major. To find out whether your job qualifies as an internship, talk with your faculty sponsor or advisor.
What if the internship employer wants SPU to sign a hold-harmless or indemnity agreement?
Because of the concern over liability during internships, some employers may ask that SPU/CCC and/or the student sign a hold-harmless or indemnity agreement. It is the policy of Seattle Pacific University that we will not sign these types of agreements. Encourage the employer to read our Employer Internship Policies to find information and guidelines of professional principals on this subject.
How many credits will I earn?
Internships generally range from 10 to 20 hours of work per week for 3–5 credits; typically 3–5 hours of work per week per credit (e.g., 4 credits is equivalent to 12–14 hours work per week). Negotiate the specifics with your faculty sponsor and internship supervisor.
What kind of academic assignments will I have with my internship?
Most faculty sponsors require individual or class meetings, assigned readings, and writing papers or journals. The academic expectation varies depending on the internship and the number of credits taken.
Can I do an internship during the summer?
Yes! If you are looking for a summer internship, start looking as early as January. If you have a job secured for the summer and would like to explore taking internship credit, make an appointment with a career counselor or talk with your faculty sponsor. Some students have even arranged to take internship credit for a job in another state or country.
Note: You must register for the credit on SPU Handshake. Use the Internship Learning Form to gather your information. Instructions are at the end of the linked pdf. Your faculty sponsor and on-site internship supervisor will be sent electronic approvals so be sure to allow plenty of time for them to respond before the 10th day of the quarter.
Do I have to pay for internship credits?
Yes. Internship credits cost the same as other course credits. Most students take their internship credits as part of their 12–18 full-time credit load.
How do I find an internship?
See Internships page for detailed information about how to find opportunities. Career counselors are available to meet with you for additional help.