Internships & Academic Credit

Students interested in earning academic credit for their internship experience must obtain a faculty sponsor for academic credit. The following details include information and guidelines to support faculty with the academic credit internship process.

How can an internship benefit my students?

  • Internships provide experiential learning opportunities that help students develop professionalism by applying their education, knowledge and skills into the workplace.
  • An Internship is a high-impact practice that “enhances student engagement and increase(s) student success” (Kuh, George D., 2008).

Academic Credit

Academic Credit Internship Guide for Faculty

An academic credit internship would be arranged between the intern, employer, and sponsoring faculty if an internship class is not available within the student’s major of study. The prospective intern must take the initiative to prepare the paperwork and documents necessary for academic credit. Academic credit internship sites must have a valid Academic Credit Internship Agreement on file with CSUCI – Procurement & Contract Services. This is a contractual agreement between the prospective internship site (employer/company) and CSUCI.

  • Risk Management - You may direct employers to this page to find the required documents:
    1. Academic Credit Internship Checklist
    2. Academic Credit Internship Agreement
    3. Internship Site Self-Assessment

The following guidelines will help students initiate Academic Credit:

  1. Intern is offered an internship position.
  2. Intern either enrolls in an academic credit internship course offered or identifies a faculty sponsor within their academic discipline and obtains all necessary paperwork on the CI Risk Management website.
  3. The employer is responsible for completing the CSUCI Academic Credit Internship Agreement and returning the completed form to the student.
  4. Intern and employer (Site Supervisor) complete the CSUCI Academic Credit Internship Learning Plan agreement and return the completed document to the faculty sponsor.
  5. Intern coordinates with sponsoring faculty and internship supervisor to complete and submit all required paperwork to earn academic credit.

This process can take any length of time depending on how quickly the student decides to initiate the process to earn academic credit. Please allow for at least 2-3 weeks processing time. A student may not begin working at their internship site for academic credit until the Academic Credit Internship Agreement has been fully vetted and executed by our Procurement & Contract Services office. Failure of compliance will result in disciplinary actions.

Traditionally, there are three specific times throughout the academic year when students will have the opportunity to enroll in an academic credit-based internship. Please reference the chart below to plan in advance.

Projected Deadline to Submit Academic Internship Agreement

Fall SemesterPrior to August 31
Spring SemesterPrior to January 15
Summer TermPrior to May 1*

*Usually arranged with faculty sponsor as Independent Study prior to end of the spring semester.

Legal Considerations

A non-paid internship can be in violation of The Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act, and all faculty/staff and students should understand laws surrounding internships.

Department of Labor Requirements

  • The U.S. Department of Labor has created guidelines for employers who utilize interns to determine whether an intern must be paid. These guidelines dictate how interns must be compensated.
  • All interns must be paid, UNLESS ALL criteria outlined in The Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act is met.
  • The Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act

Locating Internships

All internships are self-sought and secured individually by the student. However, if you are unable to assist a student or you want them to obtain additional support or information, please feel free to refer them to resources provided by Career Development Services:

Additional Tips

  • Talk to professionals in the field (ask friends and family or networking opportunities), join student professional organizations, and tell your own personal network of family and friends about your desire for an internship.
  • Make the most of your internship. has thousands of videos from industry professionals for you to view topics such as interviewing, career pathways, resume writing, etc.
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