Guide to Gaining Academic Credit for Internships

Internships are a wonderful way for students to gain work experience, test their vocations in particular professions, make contacts in the field, and earn some money or gain university credit in payment for their work. In keeping with university precedents, department internships can be for pay or for credit.

Most of the work of the internship is the same whether there is payment or credit involved: the student should turn in the completed Internship Agreement Form at the beginning of the semester and the Internship Evaluation Form at the end of the semester, and the work time should be 8-10 hours per week. However, to earn academic credit, the internship should have an academic component. The goal is to provide reading and writing experiences that complement and enrich the internship itself. The academic arena is often a good place to think broadly and theoretically, and the workplace is the setting for practical experience and familiarity with the details and daily feel of a job. Ideally, the academic material will foster better work by the intern and a clearer understanding of the professional field, and the work experience will provide concrete applications of the academic learning from this course and perhaps from others as well.

Here is an outline of a suggested set of "course requirements" for the AMST395, Internship. Please begin by developing a title to reflect what you will be learning on the job and in the academic work (and by doing so, you will also--at a glance--tell future readers of your transcript exactly what you did this semester):

AMST395, INTERNSHIP: [your own descriptive title]

  • Overview paper (3-5 pages): description of the workplace, the goals for the semester's work, the student's and the supervisor's expectations, and the questions that might be answered by this experience. Due in the first three weeks.
  • Two book reviews (5-7 pages each): critical evaluations of books on subjects related to the work experience. The books should be quality writings that provide a breadth of overview of the profession and/or analytical insight into issues of the field. Each of the student's book reviews should also include an evaluation of at least one professionally published book review, due during weeks 5 and 10.
  • Assessment paper (3-5 pages): evaluation of the work experience, especially in light of the overview expectations and the academic learning from the books. By comparing and contrasting practice and theory, this paper should assess the internship experience as a whole, due during the last week of the semester.