​Internship Information

 What is an Internship?

​Internships encompass many different program models (i.e. paid and unpaid; full time and part time; of varying length; as a required part of an academic curriculum or as a course option; for academic credit or no credit). These experiences help you test your interests and refine your skills in the marketplace. Many employers use their intern programs as candidate pools when career opportunities become available in their organizations. Broad use of the term “internship” to cover diverse circumstances can present a challenge for students, faculty and employers, so being clear about each party’s definition, goals and expectations is important at the beginning of any discussion about internships.

 Internship Considerations

Think about what type of intern experience you are seeking, and be aware of any requirements in your academic program so you can plan ahead. Factors to consider include:
  • Type of work setting and/or job function
  • Location (in proximity to campus, or elsewhere requiring temporary relocation?)
  • Compensation (paid or non-paid?)
  • Hours (part-time hours while taking classes, or full-time hours devoted totally to work?)
  • Duration (academic semester, break period, summer, or some other length of time?)
  • Academic credit (is it needed? - if so, how many credits? - will this entail paying extra tuition?)
  • Student status (if not earning a credit, will you be considered a continuing student for future enrollment? - will your status be affected for insurance or tax purposes?)
Internships can exist in every kind of business, industry, organization, and sector - both public and private. Ideally such programs should involve a close partnership between the university, the participating student, and the employer in which all accrue some form of benefit. Employers should comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act with regards to intern compensation (http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/scope/er15.asp). Regardless of whether your position is paid or unpaid, all interns should be provided basic protections in the work setting consistent with laws, ethical considerations and sound business practices.

 How do I Find an Internship?

At UWSP, internships for credit are arranged through individual academic departments. The departmental internship coordinator should be your first contact when academic credit is desired or required. (We provide a list of these coordinators on this site.) This faculty/staff member may be aware of places where previous students interned and may be able to help you contact potential employers. You may also directly contact employers to inquire about internship possibilities. If you find an appropriate experience, then approach your intern coordinator to handle arrangements for credit before starting work.