Internship Development

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Today's number one strategy for recruiting high-quality graduates is to develop and retain talent through internships.  

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 the professional fields they are considering for career paths and gives employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.

Read NACE Position Statement on U.S. Internships

The Career Engagement Office can help you in the following ways:

  • Determine if the experience your organization offer qualifies as an internship
  • Work with you to design an internship program using the required criteria
  • Review your position descriptions
  • Help you effectively promote these opportunities to our students

student in science lab

Establish your Internship

Characteristics of an Internship

  • The internship, first and foremost, is experiential learning. Internships help apply academic preparation in a major to specific work experience.
  • Duration is anywhere from a month to two years, but typically three to six months.
  • Can be part-time or full-time and could be paid or non-paid.
  • Learning activities common to most internships include learning objectives and goals, observation, reflection, evaluation, and assessment.
  • Promotes academic, career and personal development.
  • Internships can be part of an educational program that is carefully monitored for academic credit or internships can be part of a learning plan that is developed individually.

Creating Your Internship

Create a Job Description

An internship job description helps to develop guidelines, provide basic company and job information, sets expectations, avoid incorrect assumptions, and attract qualified candidates.  The posting process in Handshake will walk you through the necessary information including job description, qualifications, application instructions, pay and employment dates. Please take some time to develop your job description. Students read these carefully! Be sure to provide adequate information about your organization and what projects/activities the intern will be responsible for.

Determine the Right Supervisor

Selecting the right supervisor is essential to a successful internship experience for both the student and the organization. An intern should receive guidance and feedback from their work supervisor at regular intervals. With regular feedback, interns will be better equipped to meet employer expectations and learn from the experience. 

Paid vs. Unpaid Internships

In order to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, it is required that all employers that are for-profit pay their interns.

There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in a government agency, non-profit organization, or “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. The determination of whether the internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon the facts and circumstances of each program. Refer to the Department of Labor for guidance: Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under Fair Labor Standards Act

Academic Credit for Internships

While Seattle U does award academic credit for internships, the procedures and requirements vary among the colleges. Some departments will award some credit hours for internships, while others do not award any credit at all. In most majors, internship credits are an elective rather than a requirement and many courses are reserved for upper-level students who have completed their pre-requisite coursework. Please note that requiring academic credit for your internship may decrease the potential pool of candidates due to student eligibility or timing constraints of the hiring process.

The Career Engagement Office does not award or arrange academic credit for internships. It is completely the student’s choice to pursue academic credit and seek approval through the appropriate department within their college. However, this office can facilitate connections with the appropriate department.


National Member Organization

NACE can offer excellent assistance and resources when establishing or refining your program:

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
62 Highland Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18017-9085
610-868-0208 Fax

Contact Carol Lwali, Assoc. Director of External Relations,, with questions or to set up a meeting to discuss your internship program development.

By the Numbers

Paid Internships

Average hourly wage for an intern 

Intern to Employee

Average conversion rate from intern to full-time hire


Average time from interview to offer

Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The reports explore key aspects of employers’ internship and co-op programs, including how programs are structured, hiring projections, conversion, retention, recruiting strategies, and compensation.