Managing Internship Courses

Advisers and faculty often empower students to secure and maximize internships.  Many of resources below will be useful to everyone involved in this work.  Others are geared towards advisers and faculty who manage departmental internship credit options.  Those who teach courses that guide students in reflecting on their internship are encouraged to join the Internship Course Manager Learning Community, which holds regular meetings to discuss internship course curriculum, industry trends, best practices, common challenges, and more.  Click here to learn more.

Internship Resources

The Career & Internship Center has lots of great resources aimed at connecting students and employers through internships and helping them do internships well.  We encourage you to utilize these resources broadly!  Feel free to download and distribute the brief handouts, create linkages between your website and ours, embed our video into your site, etc.  If you need a resource in a different format, please email us.

Promote Integrated Learning

The primary difference between internships and jobs is the degree of focus placed on learning. Internships should have a significant and intentional focus on student learning.  The resources below can help facilitate the learning process.

Considerations for Required Internships

Internships are a wonderful tool for helping students apply classroom learning in a professional context and, thereby, helping them successfully transition from college to career.  As such, departmental interest in internships is increasing, with some departments opting to require student participation in internships.

Required internships carry additional possible risks and considerations beyond those presented on the Managing an Internship Course page.  The UW Faculty Council on Academic Standards created a Policy on Service Learning & Internships in spring 2017.  Departments that require internships, or are considering doing so, are encouraged to review the policy and seek appropriate consultation with the departments listed below:

Risks of Off-Campus Internships & Service Learning

This section aims to help departments create structures and processes that minimize the inherent risks associated with experiential learning.

Tips for Minimizing Risk

  • Clearly describe departmental internship program objectives, policies, and procedures somewhere easily accessible to students.
  • Let students select their own internship sites, rather than placing individual students with specific sites.
  • Use an appropriate written agreement or acknowledgment of risk to ensure all parties are on the same page (see below)
  • For required internships or long term placements, faculty or staff supervising the student internship should be familiar with the site and be able to describe risks to students.
  • When an internship requirement exists, have alternative options available.

Acknowledging Risk

  • Departments offering internship-related credit are highly encouraged to require students to sign an Acknowledgment of Risk.  A sample form can be found here.

Special Considerations

  • Departments whose students participate in the following types of experiences may have additional duties to warn, report, create affiliation agreements, or require student background checks:
  • Clinical / healthcare and human services settings. Check with the business office in your school or college regarding existing agreements and templates.
  • Working with youth. The department may have to arrange and pay for a background check, depending on the agreement with the site.  UW faculty, staff and interns have an enhanced duty to report suspected child abuse and neglect.  See Youth at UW for details.
  • Potentially high-danger settings such as law enforcement, correctional facilities, manufacturing, and exposure to hazardous chemicals or infectious agents increase the department’s responsibility for knowing and communicating the specific risks to the student.

A Note About Insurance

  • Liability – matriculated, enrolled students have UW liability coverage for approved internships that are part of their academic program. Click here for details.   Students in paid internships (e.g., temporary employees of the site) are covered by the site.
  • Worker’s Comp – students can be covered by their internship site if the employer elects to cover them and pays the premium. There is no UW workers compensation coverage for interns.
  • Health – students are responsible for providing their own health insurance.
  • Transportation – students are responsible for damage and liability incurred while using their personal vehicles; use of public transportation is encouraged.