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Academic Internships

Academic internships provide practical experience in a student’s field of interest. Internship opportunities are available in diverse fields (for example, education, performing and visual arts, business, public service, communications, social service, and health care).

An academic internship is a supervised, applied learning experience conducted during the course of a semester for which the student receives academic credit. During the internship, the student is expected to accomplish certain predetermined goals and learning objectives agreed upon by the internship site supervisor and the faculty sponsor. Students must also complete an academic project, which is determined by the designated faculty sponsor.

A student may earn up to 4 credits by interning an average of 10 hours per week during the course of the semester. The exact number of credit hours, which depends on the hours required for each experience, is established as a part of the Internship Learning Contract.

How to Apply

Students who have completed at least 30 academic credits are eligible to participate in the academic internship program. Students can locate available internships by using Purchase JobScore, an online service accessible through the Career Development Center. Students are also encouraged to contact their Department Chair for recurring internship opportunities.

To receive credit for an internship, a student must submit an Internship Learning Contract online through Purchase JobScore no later than the last day of the add/drop period. This web-based form includes the student’s contact information, the internship description and site location, a description of the academic project, expected learning outcomes, and criteria for student evaluation, as determined by the faculty sponsor. Electronic signatures from all the involved parties, including the site supervisor, faculty sponsor, student intern, and an administrator in the Career Development Center, are required before the Internship Learning Contract is submitted to the Office of the Registrar for registration.

Internship Site Supervisor

The student must have a supervisor at the organization where he or she interns. To ensure that the internship has sufficient merit as a learning experience, this site supervisor must provide an electronic signature on the Internship Learning Contract, an internship description, and an outline of the competencies expected to be gained by the student. The site supervisor offers training and guides the hands-on, practical learning experience. If the site supervisor changes during the course of the internship, the student must immediately notify the Career Development Center and provide the name of the new site supervisor. Site supervisors must submit a performance evaluation of the student’s internship experience, which is used by the faculty sponsor to determine an appropriate grade.

Faculty Sponsor

The student must work with a faculty member (faculty sponsor), who determines the academic appropriateness of the proposed internship and agrees to monitor the student intern’s progress. The faculty sponsor reviews the internship description, outlines the expected learning outcomes of the experience, and assigns a meaningful academic project. This faculty sponsor need not be the student’s regular faculty advisor, but may be a faculty member knowledgeable in a discipline related to the internship. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their faculty sponsor on a regular basis.

Performance Evaluation and Grading

Both the site supervisor and the faculty sponsor monitor the student’s progress throughout the internship and offer assistance as needed. Before the end of the internship, the site supervisor will be notified by email to complete a performance evaluation form via Purchase JobScore. The evaluation is then forwarded to the faculty sponsor, who assigns the grade for the internship based on this evaluation and the assigned academic project.

Receiving Credit

Most academic programs allow students to earn up to 12 internship credits during their time at Purchase. Because some programs have specific policies, students must check with their Department Chair before registering for a credit-bearing internship. Please note that students in the BFA and MusB degrees are encouraged to do internships, but internships may not count towards degree requirements and may affect use of financial aid. 

Registration must be completed by the end of the add/drop period for the semester in which the internship will be undertaken. Academic credit will awarded only for hours worked during the period of the Internship Learning Contract. No “retroactive credit” will be awarded for hours worked before or after the period of the contract or after the internship is completed. Additional information is available at the Career Development Center.

Credit units are determined by the number of hours per week a student interns at his or her site. A maximum of 4 credits may be earned in a single internship. Internship credits are calculated as follows:

Credits Total Hours Hours Per Week x Number of Weeks
4 150 10 hours per week x 15 weeks
3 112.5 7.5 hours per week x 15 weeks
2 75 5 hours per week x 15 weeks
1 37.5 2.5 hours per week x 15 weeks

Note: A semester is 15 weeks in length, excluding class holidays. Internships undertaken in summer session, which is less than 15 weeks, require a proportionate increase in hours per week.