Internships at the University of Rochester
Per the National Association of Colleges and Employers “An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.”
Internships can be paid or unpaid, for academic credit or not, and take place during the school year or over the summer. While most internships are undertaken between a student/candidate and the employer, we are also happy to discuss more formal internship relationships or agreements with employers.
Internship Definition Checklist
An internship must:
- Be supervised by a professional within the organization
- Serve primarily as a learning experience for the student
- Have clearly defined duties and activities agreed upon by student and employer
- Include an analytical or reflective component
- Assist the student in progressing toward a professional or exploratory career goal
- Comply with all relevant employment laws and statues; students do not give up their rights as employees due to their academic status
An internship should:
- Take place in a professional setting (allowing that professional development and learning can take place during remote arrangements as well as when adequately structured)
- Have clear expectations and evaluation processes provided by the employer
- Assist the student in delineating a career path from the internship forward
- Encourage the student to develop Career Competencies
Internship sites offering unpaid internships should review national standards to ensure compliance.
For questions on internships, please contact Brittney Turner, Program Director, Employer Engagement.
Creating a Quality Internship
Elements of a strong internship program should include:
- Provide compensation or credit: If you are deciding between paid and unpaid internships, it is important to know if the US Labor Standards Act applies to your organization.
- Communicate expectations: Identify specific goals and objectives for the intern to accomplish. Provide structure for an intern with a balance between “big” projects and daily tasks.
- Provide mentorship, coaching, and teaching: Assign a supervisor who will familiarize him or herself with the organization, communicate clearly, and provide assignments.
- Assign challenging, meaningful work: Provide learning opportunities for an intern to use analytical skills and reflection to apply new ideas gained from experience to their classroom learning.
- Involve interns in networking and professional development opportunities: Encourage interns to be part of the team, participating in team-building or social activities. Provide networking opportunities for interns to interact with other staff and interns.
- Provide housing, meals, or transportation, if possible.
Recruiting for your Internship
When creating your internship posting, we encourage you to include the following, as students evaluate internship opportunities based on all of these factors:
- Brief description of your company
- A listing of responsibilities, tasks, and learning opportunities available to the students in your internship
- Professional development or networking opportunities students can participate in
- Timeframe of internship (dates or semester)
- Compensation (paid or unpaid)
- Instructions on how to apply (through your website and by applying through Handshake with a resume)
- Timeline of your hiring process
To post your internship, please see our page on utilizing Handshake.
Nearly all students can gain academic credit for their internship, regardless of payment. Students may choose to do this through a departmental program, a faculty sponsorship, or through the Greene Center directly. Regardless of method, employers and supervisors will typically need to:
- Work with intern to define learning goals
- Provide a clear list of duties or activities for the internship
- Complete an employer evaluation at the end of the semester
We also support international students in pursuing Curricular Practical Training authorization, which grants necessary credit so you are able to easily hire and pay international interns.