An internship is a form of experiential learning that refers to a one-time, short-term experience related to a student’s major or career interest. This experience provides students the opportunity to make connections between classroom knowledge and what they see practiced at their internship site. An internship typically occurs in an off-campus setting under the guidance and coaching of industry professionals. They can be paid or unpaid*, for credit or not for credit**, or some combination thereof.  (Adapted from the National Association of Colleges and Employers)

The University of Puget Sound reserves the right to determine which internship sites are the best fit for Puget Sound students. We use the following guidelines in considering prospective internship sites. Internship sites must:

  • Offer opportunities that are compatible with Puget Sound’s institutional role and mission.
  • Employ at least three full-time employees in addition to the Puget Sound intern.
  • Be fiscally solvent.
  • Not attempt to host a Puget Sound intern who is a relative or household member.
  • Have an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

A Puget Sound intern will bring value to the internship organization and we expect that the organizations are invested in the career exploration and professional development of the student. As such, a mutually beneficial, career-related experience will involve:

  1. The student’s education is at the center of the internship.
  2. Students contribute to the organization in a value-added, meaningful way.
  3. The intern receives regular and on-going feedback, coaching, and mentoring.

*Unpaid and underpaid internships will limit your applicant pool and may reinforce systems of inequity. Any internship authorized by the University of Puget Sound must abide by the Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If you consider offering an unpaid internship, consult with legal counsel about the potential impact.

 **We advise organizations allow students to choose whether or not they pursue their internship for academic credit rather than the organization requiring academic credit which places the burden of paying for tuition on the student.

Myth: If internships are paid, students can’t receive academic credit
Ideally, all internships are paid. Paid internships provide employers with a broader, more diverse candidate pool because many students can’t afford to complete unpaid internships. At the University of Puget Sound, students may elect to pursue their internship (paid or unpaid) for academic credit. Pre-requisites apply and are available on the Career and Employment Services internship web page.

Myth: If we can’t pay our interns, requiring academic credit at least allows the student to get something out of the experience
While it may benefit the student to pursue an internship for credit, it is preferable to allow the student to determine whether or not they pursue the internship for credit. In order to receive academic credit for an internship, students must pay tuition. This can be a significant financial responsibility, particularly if the internship is unpaid. 

Myth: Using interns is a cheap way to extend my workforce
An internship is rooted in the educational experience for students, not the employment needs of the internship employer.