What Is an Internship?

Internships are work/learning experiences that provide a hands-on way for students to confirm choice of major and/or career in a way that is often more substantial than a part-time job. They may be linked to an academic department and/or done for academic credit. An internship typically lasts between two to four months and can be part-time or full-time. Some are paid while others are not.

Credit and Compensation are not synonymous or interchangeable; only the University can determine if an internship meets educational objectives for academic credit. Regardless of whether or not the student earns credit, internships are to provide substantial opportunities for mentoring, networking, shadowing, and learning about the career field. A quality internship does not exploit or take advantage of the student.

  • Credit Internships (Academic)
    Students may be able to earn academic credit while interning, which are considered credit internships. Specific guidelines and requirements for credit internships vary by major. This work/learning arrangement is overseen by a faculty or staff member at the university, in partnership with a designated employee of the selected internship site. The university representative determines whether or not the host site meets academic requirements regarding terms and conditions for assignments, internship tasks, work hours, and compensation. An integral component of the internship experience is the incorporation of learning objectives and experiences separate from a student’s work tasks. These experiences must exist for the sole benefit of the intern, and not for the gain of the company. Examples of learning experiences include the opportunity to observe meetings or client appointments, the ability to shadow staff in other departments, and homework-like assignments to be evaluated by members of the professional staff.

    Cost to the student: Credit internships that take place during the academic year are included in the tuition for the semester for full-time students. Extra tuition and fees are associated for academic internships completed during breaks. Credits must be earned during the term in which the internship takes place, which means credit may not be acquired past the add/drop date or retroactively.

    If you are interested in earning academic credit for your internship, please reach out to internships@uconn.edu for more information.

  • Non-Credit Internships (Non-Academic)

    Non-credit internships are found and completed independently by students to supplement their formal education and to gain practical work experience. Learning agreements, networking, reflection activities and journals are strongly encouraged to make the experience more meaningful. These internships may or may not be paid, with compensation ranging from salaries, stipends, and hourly payments to travel allowances, housing and food subsidies, or scholarships. Hours are not regulated by the university, so it falls upon the student to make sure the amount of time working is reasonable and relevant. Staff at the Center for Career Development can help students ensure the opportunity is legitimate and worthwhile.

    NOTE: Unpaid internships in the US are subject to scrutiny by the Department of Labor and the Courts. When participating in an unpaid internship, students are encouraged to ask if the employer is aware of the guidelines in the Fair Labor Standards Act to ensure liability compliance. For additional information regarding these guidelines and how students may be impacted, please contact the Center for Career Development.

  • On-Campus Internships
    On-campus internships allow students to gain practical experience without commuting. These opportunities may be paid, unpaid, for credit, or not for credit. Depending on department policies regarding payment, work-study funds may be used for UConn on-campus internships. Students may participate in on-campus internships by applying to positions through Handshake and/or JobX (student employment). They may also approach a department on campus to determine if that office or work area is open to having an on-campus intern. To see which departments offer positions throughout the year, search On-Campus Internships; this page will be regularly updated as the Center for Career Development learns of additional opportunities.

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