What is an Internship?
An internship (or externship) is on-the-job experience at an off-campus work setting directly related to your career interests and major field of study. It is work experience that is supervised, where you learn about the demands and requirements of a profession and industry under the direction of intentional learning goals.
Follow the following links to plan your path to an internship or to determine your appropriate faculty contact for obtaining academic credit:
- Internship Road Map[PDF]
Why Should I Intern?
Some reasons you might consider an internship:
- Gain practical experience and develop marketable job skills in your chosen career field
- Work with qualified professionals in your field
- Apply skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to on-the-job experiences
- Make important contacts and references in the business world that may lead to future job offers
- Evaluate potential employers
An internship can be:
- Paid, non-paid or stipend-based
- From a few weeks to two years in length
- Taken for academic credit
Why work for little or no pay?
While it is true that you may be "working for free" to some extent, the internship is a temporary stepping stone that provides you an invaluable experience and resume-building opportunity. Many internships even include an hourly wage. The confidence, networking connections and rapid advancement potential that an internship affords are invaluable. A single semester you spend interning part-time could very easily land you a top position or allow you to negotiate your salary—more than repaying your efforts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Eligible to Apply for an Internship?
- Currently enrolled SF State students in any major at the Sophomore, Junior, Senior or Graduate levels are eligible.
- Some programs allow alumni to apply within six months to one year of graduation.
- Some employers may require a minimum GPA.
- International students with F1 statuses are eligible if the internship listing does not have government restrictions.
How Do I Find an Internship?
Some internships are formalized, yearly programs with an application process very similar to an ordinary job. On the other hand, it is often possible to consult with networking connections to build a custom internship. Consider the following sources:
- GatorJOBS,our online job listing service, is one of the best ways to find an established internship.
- An Internship Directory is available in the Career Center.
- Networking opportunities: friends; family; current or former employers; classmates; faculty members.
- Print Media: Newspapers; newsletters; job fairs; professional associations; student organizations; professional magazines; community service or volunteer groups.
- The Community Involvement Center, located in the Humanities Building, Room 135, maintains records on hundreds of organizations that offer internships.
- Talk with a Career Counselor in your area of study.
Where Can I Do an Internship?
Internships can be located close to home, near campus, anywhere in the USA or internationally.
What are the Requirements to Earn University Credit?
- Getting course credit for an internship is like taking any course for credit. The course will be listed on your transcript showing that you have practical, as well as classroom, experience.
- The requirement for credit varies from department to department, and is generally determined by your department faculty advisor.
- Your faculty advisor will determine the amount of credit according to your level of responsibility and the number of hours per week on the job.
- A faculty advisor will assess your learning and performance and may require that you write a report or provide a critical analysis of a project.
- The internship must provide you with specific problems to solve and be related to your field of study.
- See the Internship Advisor Contact List at the top of this page for a list of advisors on campus.
Is There a Charge for Working as an Intern?
- Only internships which are taken for academic credit require tuition payment—just like any other course.
- The tuition and charges pay for supervisors, monitoring, evaluation of your work performance and transcript notation.
- There is no charge for internships not taken for academic credit. In fact, a wage may be required according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Please review the Wage and Hour Division's six-point unpaid intern testif you would like to know more about unpaid internship regulations.
- The employer should never charge you.
Can I Develop an Internship on My Own?
- Yes! You can arrange your own placement related to your field of study.
- If you wish to earn academic credit, the internship must be approved before you register for classes. See your department's faculty advisor for more information.
- If you do not wish to obtain academic credit:
- Have clear goals established with the employer about your work experience.
- Agree to have work experiences that are related to your major.
What is a Cooperative Education Program (Co-op)?
A Cooperative Education Program is another type of program offered by employers that provides paid career-related work experience and offers academic credit. For more information, visit the SF State Cooperative Education Program.
To Consider Before You Accept an Internship
- Will I have opportunities to gain practical experience in my chosen field or learn if this area of my major is the right fit for me?
- Will I have an engaged supervisor working with me to create a successful experience based on my internship goals?
- Is there a strong education-, research-, or project-oriented aspect to the internship? Is your position as an intern somewhat independent of established, paid positions within this organization?
- If the internship is unpaid and you answered no to either of these questions, carefully review the Wage and Hour Division's six-point unpaid intern test.
Internet Internship Resources
SF State Student Resources
Employers post their internships and jobs using GatorJOBS, available exclusively for SF State students and recent alumni. For additional links, please see both the General Career Links page and the Resources by Major pages.
Internship Search Web Sites
- The Job Resourcewww.thejobresource.com
- The Princeton Review Advanced Internship Searchwww.princetonreview.com/cte/search/internshipAdvSearch.asp
International Internship Search
- Intern Abroadwww.internabroad.com
- Intern Study Abroadwww.studyabroad.com/internabroad/
Intern Housing Resources
- National: Intern Housingwww.internhousing.com
- San Francisco: SF Homestaywww.sfhomestay.com
- SF Bay Area: Craigslistwww.craigslist.com
- New York: Student Housingwww.studenthousing.org
Disability Internship Resources
- Science/Technical Majors: Entry Pointwww.entrypoint.org
- Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilitieswww.cosdonline.org