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FAQs about Internships

Student

What is an internship and why should I do one?

An internship is typically a one-semester work experience highly related to your major or minor.  It has a definite beginning and end, includes real-world work experience, and involves direct supervision by an employer.  Internships connect your academic coursework to careers, allow you to gain valuable work experience in a field you may want to pursue, and help make you much more marketable to employers after graduation.

When should I do an internship?

Academic internships can be done after you have completed 48 hours of coursework (check individual departments for GPA requirements).  Because employers usually prefer students to have a certain amount of relevant coursework completed before an internship, students are typically the most marketable after completing their junior year.

How do I find an internship?

It sometimes can take as much work to find an internship as to find a full-time position, so you’ll want to use all of the resources available to you. Career Services maintains a database of previous internship locations of other students and can give you additional ideas if you set up an appointment for individualized assistance.  The UNG Job Board, our job posting site, is used by employers to post both full-time and internship positions (register using your 9-digit student ID).  Talk with your academic advisor for ideas and, of course, use the internet. Before you start applying for internships, we strongly encourage you to create a resume and have it critiqued by Career Services. 

What steps do I need to take to engage in an internship?
  1. The semester before you wish to intern, ask a professor in your major or minor if s/he would be willing to be the "Internship Faculty Instructor of Record", i.e., the faculty member to oversee the academic components of your internship, including assigning the grade.  Some departments have one professor oversee all of the internships, and in some departments, any professor can oversee them.
  2. Start working to secure an internship, using all resources such as Career Services, faculty, the UNG Job Board, networking, etc.  Start this process early!
  3. In conjunction with the person who will be your supervisor at the internship site, complete all fields of the Internship Learning Agreement, including securing all signatures.
  4. Submit the Internship Learning Agreement to your Internship Faculty Instructor of Record BEFORE you begin your internship.
  5. Confirm with your Internship Faculty Instructor of Record that s/he will be registering you for the internship course.
Are internships paid?

Internships may or may not be paid, depending on the major and the industry. Many are not, but some are. For example, accounting internships are almost always paid, and others are almost never paid. You will want to find this out before you accept an internship. Remember, internships are incredibly valuable in that you are gaining experience relevant to your major or minor while helping confirm you are heading in the right career direction (or not).

What kind of hours or other requirements are involved?

To receive three hours of academic credit for an internship, you must typically work between 10-20 hours per week per semester, depending on the requirements set by the academic department. The Internship Faculty Instructor of Record will usually assign other academic components to the internship to help you relate your work experience to your major. Some of these might include assigned readings, journals, or reflection papers.

How much academic credit will I receive?
See above.
How are internships graded/evaluated?

Internship grades are assigned by the Internship Faculty Instructor of Record, usually with input from your on-site supervisor, and are typically given as a pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

What if I want to do an out-of-state internship?

The same information as mentioned above applies, but your Faculty Internship Instructor of Record MUST also notify the Distance Education & Technology Integration (DETI) office at 706-867-2520 or deti@ung.edu in order for UNG to be in compliance with state authorization laws.

What if I want to do an internship overseas?

The same information as mentioned above applies, but you MUST also contact the Center for Global Engagement at 706-867-2858 (Dahlonega campus) or 678-717-3687 (Gainesville campus) to schedule a time to complete paperwork that is required for school-related overseas activities. For more information, check the Center for Global Engagement web site.

Do I have to pay tuition if I do an internship in the summer when I’m not taking other classes?

Yes, if you are receiving academic credit, you must pay tuition for those hours.

Can I receive internship credit in a different semester from when the experience was completed?

No.  You must pay tuition and receive credit the same semester in which you intern.  If you do not complete all requirements by the end of the term, an incomplete or in progress grade may be appropriate.  However, you should be aware that such grades may have implications for your GPA until a grade change request is made.

Employer

What is an internship?

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.

For guidelines about what constitutes an internship, please see Hosting Interns - Important Information.

How long do internships last?

An internship is typically one-semester in length, with a definite beginning and end, and involves direct supervision by an employer and oversight (and assignments!) by a faculty member.

What kinds of tasks can I have an intern work on?

The tasks assigned must be related to the student's major or minor and cannot simply be administrative in nature.

Do I need to pay an intern?

The Department of Labor (DOL) has set guidelines outlining the requirements that must be met for an internship to be unpaid. Currently, non-profit and government organizations may be exempt from paying interns, although we encourage all interns to be paid. Wage and Hour Division Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs under the FLSA is a useful resource in determining the requirements.

In addition, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit announced a "primary beneficiary" test. Employers can use this as another useful resource in determining the requirements of unpaid internships.

When in their college career do students typically intern?

UNG students typically intern in their junior or senior year. In order to receive course credit for their internship, a student must have completed at least 48 hours before he/she can complete an internship. This guideline ensures that the student has completed core classes and is entering into his or her major and/or minor classes. An employer can require that applicants have a higher number of hours or have already completed specific courses related to their major/minor.

Does UNG have the majors that I need student interns to have?

UNG offers over 50 bachelor degree programs, and therefore, we offer a multitude of diverse majors to accommodate most professional settings. If you have any questions regarding specific majors offered at UNG, feel free to contact the Career Services office.

How do I start an internship program?

Review important guidelines- Review internship guidelines set by the National Association of Colleges & Employers, as well as ones set by the Department of Labor, by visiting Hosting Interns - Important Information.

Set goals- What does the organization hope to achieve from the program?  What do you (and the student & faculty member) want the intern to have learned by the end of their experience?

Write a plan- Create a job description and requirements and decide issues such as who will provide supervision, space for intern, organization and safety training, etc.

When should I start the recruiting process for an intern?

Depending on your particular internship program, we recommend starting the recruiting process at least a semester prior to the intended internship semester. Students need to have time to register for an internship course, and therefore, the sooner you advertise the position, the simpler the process will be for recruitment and registration.

How do I recruit an intern?

There are a number of ways to recruit a UNG student intern. We suggest you start by registering on the UNG Job Board. Once your registration is approved, you can begin posting internship opportunities. You can also recruit directly on-campus by setting up an information table or participating in an information session, arranged through Career Services. Individual interview sessions can also be held in the Career Services office. If you are interested in any of these options for on-campus recruitment, please contact the Career Services office at 706-864-1951 for the Dahlonega Campus and 678-717-3964 for the Gainesville Campus.

What paperwork is involved?

In order to receive course credit for an internship, the student and the organization should work together to complete an Internship Learning Agreement. The Internship Learning Agreement will outline the student's duties, responsibilities, and expected outcomes for the internship. Also required may be an Intern Evaluation that will be sent about two weeks prior to the end of the semester. These evaluations may be used by the faculty for course grading.

Are virtual internships allowed?

While we do not post virtual internships on the UNG Job Board, it is possible that students may find virtual internship opportunities on their own. As with any internship, final approval of the experience is the privilege of the Faculty Instructor of Record or is based on the policy of the particular department. The more detailed the internship description, and the more relevant the duties, responsibilities, and outcomes of the internship are to the student’s major, the more likely it is to be approved. Detailed information on the Internship Learning Agreement about training, supervisor contact, duties, etc. is particularly important for virtual internships.

How many hours does an intern work?

The amount of hours an intern works depends on guidelines set by the Faculty Instructor of Record, as well as the student's class schedule and the employer expectations. To gain three hours of course credit, a student typically needs to work between 10-15 hours per week. The internships can be up to 40 hours per week depending on the course requirements.

Once I have hired an intern, what are some best practices for ensuring that the internship meets the specific internship guidelines?

Be sure to review both the NACE Guidelines and the Department of Labor Fact Sheet #71 before and after securing an intern. Read the tips below for more helpful advice on hosting an intern. If there are ever any questions regarding internship guidelines, do not hesitate to contact the appropriate Career Services office. Tips include:

  • Ensure that the intern does not take the place/job of regular paid employees.
  • Specify clearly if the internship is paid or unpaid (see Hosting Interns - Important Information for DOL and NACE guidelines).  In addition, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit announced a "primary beneficiary" test. Employers can use this as another useful resource in determining the requirements of unpaid internships. 
  • Review over the Principals for Employment Professionals provided by NACE to ensure students will receive a rewarding internship experience.
  • Don't promise a job with your organization to the intern. Obviously, it is fine to offer a full-time position at the conclusion of the internship, but it should not be a promise prior to the experience.
  • Prior to the start of the internship, create a space where the intern will work. 
  • Designate a mentor and/or supervisor for the intern that will provide instruction and feedback throughout the experience.
  • Provide an orientation to the organization's policies and procedures at the beginning of his/her experience, including safety rules and regulations.
  • Keep accurate records of the hours worked by the intern.
  • Have the scope of duties, which should be educational in nature, clearly written out.
  • Maintain an open communication relationship with the intern and Faculty Instructor of Record before, during, and after the internship.
How do I find out more information?

Contact the intern coordinator in Career Services at 706-864-1951 for the Dahlonega campus and 678-717-3964 for the Gainesville campus.

Faculty

What is an internship?

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, allowing the student to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths. In addition to the syllabus, it is defined by a written agreement called the Internship Learning Agreement (ILA) and involves direct supervision by an employer and oversight (and assignments!) by a faculty member.

For guidelines about what constitutes an internship, please see Hosting Interns- Important Information.

When can students intern, and how long does an internship last?

An internship is typically one-semester in length with a definite beginning and end. Students at UNG must have completed a minimum of 48 hours to register for an internship. Host organizations may require that students have completed more hours or specific classes in order to intern. Students are supervised by both a designated site supervisor employer off campus and a designated Faculty Instructor of Record who teaches in the student's major or minor. Both site supervisor and the Faculty Instructor of Record are identified in the ILA.

Can a student receive internship credit in any major, and who can supervise him/her?

Internship course credit can only be given in the student's major or minor, must be directly related to that major or minor, and must be supervised by a faculty member in that major or minor.

Must the student pay tuition?

Students must pay the normal tuition rate based on the number of hours of credit granted through the internship.

Can a student receive internship credit in a different semester from when the experience was completed?

No. Students pay tuition and receive credit the same semester in which they intern. If they do not complete all requirements by the end of the term, an incomplete or in progress grade may be appropriate. They should be aware that such grades may have implications for their GPA until a grade change request is made.

Is the Internship Faculty Instructor of Record responsible for helping students find internships?

Ultimately, students are responsible for finding their own internships. However, faculty members are encouraged to assist by sharing ideas, contacts, etc. Career Services is also available to help with the process and maintains information on locations where other students have previously interned. Internship postings can be found on the UNG Job Board.

If faculty members have information about potential internship opportunities not listed on the UNG Job Board, this information should be forwarded to Career Services on the faculty member's home campus. The internship coordinator can then help determine if the internship opportunity seems valid and will follow up with the organization to encourage the posting of the opportunity, etc.

How will I know about potential internships for my students? Will I be notified of opportunities?

In addition to using professional contacts and referring students to Career Services, faculty members are welcome to access internship postings that may be listed on the UNG Job Board. To access the opportunities that are available to students, please contact your campus's Career Services office for an access ID and password.

What are my responsibilities as an Internship Faculty Instructor of Record?

Internship Learning Agreement- Once a student finds a place s/he would like to intern, s/he will complete the Internship Learning Agreement (ILA), including outlining the tasks and learning objectives of the internship. This should be done in conjunction with the site supervisor and signed by both the student and site supervisor. The Internship Faculty Instructor of Record must turn in copies of the signed ILAs to Career Services by the end of the drop/add period (see section 3.13 of the faculty handbook).

Determine Credit Worthiness- The Internship Faculty Instructor of Record then determines if the responsibilities and learning outcomes outlined in the ILA are substantive and pertinent enough to merit academic credit. If so, s/he signs the agreement and sends copies of the completed ILAs of all students s/he is supervising to Career Services for tracking purposes at the end of the drop/add period. All parties who sign the agreement are strongly encouraged to keep a copy of the ILA.  Individual departments may also require that a copy of the ILA be sent to the department head or kept in a central location within the department as well.

Review Syllabus- The Internship Faculty Instructor of Record should customize the syllabus of the internship course as needed.

Monitor Progress- The Internship Faculty Instructor of Record should stay in contact and/or interact with the intern and site supervisor as appropriate and in accordance with his/her department's expectations. Academic-related assignments should also be monitored.

Evaluate Experience- The Internship Faculty Instructor of Record is responsible for evaluating students' performance and progress. Upon request by the department, Career Services can send out evaluations to the internship site supervisor about the student, and evaluations to the student about their experience, which is forwarded to the Faculty Instructor of Record for use in evaluating the intern.

Assign Outcome- Depending on the department and based on assigned written work and evaluations, the faculty member will assign a letter grade or a different type of outcome as determined by his/her department (pass/fail, satisfactory/unsatisfactory).

Do I need to visit the internship location?

When possible, it is an excellent practice to visit the student and his/her site supervisor at the internship location. Not only does this create positive relationships with the supervisor for possible future internship assignments, but it helps the Internship Faculty Instructor of Record ensure that the student is "on target" for the tasks and learning outcomes outlined in the Internship Learning Agreement.

Do I have to create a syllabus?

All approved academic classes have a syllabus on file that should be reviewed and adapted as deemed appropriate by that department, including academic expectations, assignments, etc. This is in addition to the completed ILA, although learning objectives and outcomes from the ILA can be repeated on the syllabus. Refer to the UNG Faculty Handbook to determine a typical syllabus template with required supplemental syllabus information.

How are internships graded?

This will be according to the individual academic department's guidelines. Depending on major, students may be required to have outside reading, reports, journals, portfolios, reflection papers, or other documentation of work, all of which can be used in the assignment of an outcome.

If a student is required by the internship site to provide a background check prior to the internship, how does he/she go about doing that?

If the employer does not provide a specific provider that must be used, students can typically secure a background check through a sheriff's department.

What if the internship is out-of-state?

If the student has decided to complete an internship out-of-state (other than Georgia), the Faculty Internship Instructor of Record MUST notify the Distance Education & Technology Integration (DETI) office in order for UNG to be in compliance with state authorization laws.  DETI staff may be reached at 706-867-2520 or deti@ung.edu.

What about virtual internships?

It is up to the department and/or the Faculty Internship Instructor of Record to decide whether to allow virtual internships or not. If they are allowed, they should be vetted very carefully to ensure they will provide a robust and relevant learning experience that is worthy of academic credit. As with any internships, there should be clear learning objectives and tasks, and it would be helpful to set expectations of training, how often the site supervisor will interact (virtually or in person), etc. As with any internship, if it is not relevant, or if there is doubt related its legitimacy, it should not be approved by the Faculty Internship Instructor of Record.

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