Academic Credit for Internships

Students are able to complete an internship with or without academic credit. For students who want to earn academic credit for their internship, there are two options: major-specific credit and elective credit. Read the UNC Asheville Internship Policy for Credit-Bearing Courses for more information. Please note: Academic credit must be earned during the period of the internship and cannot be awarded after an internship is complete.

Major-Specific Internship Requirements

It is up to each academic department to determine whether or not to award academic credit for an internship. Some departments require students to complete an internship as part of their major. Other departments may have an experiential requirement and an internship is one way to satisfy that requirement. If you are considering an internship, consult your academic advisor or your department’s internship faculty coordinator to see how it fits with your course of study.

The Career Center plans to collect major-specific internship requirements and options during the Fall 2022 semester, which will then be organized here for students to reference.

IST: 325 Elective Course

The Career Center offers ‘IST 325: Internships,’ a 3-credit elective course, every spring semester and summer session. The course is designed for students participating in exploratory internships to clarify and/or advance their career goals. It provides a structured and guided learning environment to help students make the most of their internship experience. Course components facilitate students’ professional development, focusing on the transition from the role of a student to the role of a professional.

To learn more and/or be admitted to the course, students should email Cate Marshall at cmarsha3@unca.edu. Students must have an internship secured with a completed Internship Agreement. Within the course dates, students must document 105 hours at their internship site. Hours worked before the course starts or after the course finishes cannot count towards the 105 hours.

Best Practices for Internship Courses

Internship Agreement Form

To formalize the internship arrangement between the student, employer, and university, it is important to have all parties sign an internship agreement form. This sample internship agreement form includes the minimum standards required according to the UNC Asheville Internship Policy for Credit-Bearing Courses.

Internship Learning Objectives

The purpose of an internship is to engage students in activities designed to address or meet the student’s professional needs, where students learn job preparedness skills and where learning is intentionally linked to academics. At the beginning of the internship, the student (in collaboration with the host agency supervisor) will develop a set of learning objectives (approximately 3-5). The faculty supervisor can then review the objectives and make suggestions as needed.

Learning objectives typically fall into four different categories:

  • Academic learning – The student applies and tests knowledge learned in the classroom to the workplace.
  • Career development – The student advances knowledge of the qualifications and duties of a position and can explore their interest in a field.
  • Skill development – The individual gains an understanding of the skills and knowledge required for success in the workplace.
  • Personal development – The student develops decision making and critical thinking skills, increased confidence and self-esteem.

Learning objectives are statements of the specific and measurable knowledge, skills, attributes and habits interns are expected to achieve and demonstrate as a result of their experience. When creating learning objectives, consider these career readiness competencies developed by NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers). Article on writing strong learning objectives coming soon!

A measurable learning objective includes the follow:

  1. Completes this sentence: Upon completion of this internship, I will be able to (DO SOMETHING).
  2. Begins with an action verb, particularly from a higher level of Bloom’s taxonomy suited to a 300-400 level course. Avoid words like “understand, learn or know”.
  3. Precisely describes behavior that can be observed or evaluated.
  4. Lists specific assignments and projects that support the desired learning objective, including necessary resources.
  5. Sets a target date for completion and a method of evaluation.

The learning objectives are part of a learning contract that is signed by the intern, host agency supervisor, and faculty supervisor.

Evaluation Forms

An important component of the intern’s professional development is the opportunity to receive feedback directly from an employer. Host agency supervisors are asked to complete a midterm and final evaluation of the intern. At the end of the internship experience, student interns are asked to complete an evaluation of the host agency. This feedback will help the faculty supervisor evaluate and improve the internship experience.