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Center for Career and Calling

Internship Frequently Asked Questions

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 students 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 kinds of internships are available?
Accounting firms, advertising agencies, banks, clothing design and manufacturing companies, performing arts organizations, retail stores, social service agencies, software design, manufacturing companies, and many other types of organizations offer internships.

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 Bachelors 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 an unacceptable internship site. The faculty sponsor in your major gives final approval of internships.

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.

When can I start?
As soon as you are accepted into a major - each major has its own eligibility requirements. Discuss your eligibility with your Faculty Advisor.

Can a work study position also be an internship?
Yes! Work study positions can often be structured as internships because the work relates directly to a specific course of study. Contact OSE for work study eligibility information.

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. To find out if your job qualifies as an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor or talk with your faculty sponsor.

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 visit our Employer Internship Policies webpage to find information and guidelines of professional principals on this subject.

How many credits will I earn?
Internships generally range from 10-20 hours of work per week for 1-5 credits; typically 3-4 hours of work per week per credit (ex. 3 credits=12 hours work per week). Negotiate the specifics with your Faculty Sponsor and Internship Supervisor. NOTE: The Internship Supervisor may ask you to work more hours than you are actually required by the University to receive a certain number of credits.

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. Just remember: you must register in person for the credit and the Learning Contract must be signed by you, your Faculty Sponsor, and your on-site Internship Supervisor.

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 the Step by Step Guide and Find an Internship sections of the website for detailed information about how to find opportunities. Career counselors are available to meet with you for additional help.




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