Internships & Research
Access to Excellence
The internship experience is one of the unique aspects of the Honors Program at Portland State University. Participating students spend one academic quarter of their junior working at an internship appropriate to their academic major.
Internship opportunities are available throughout Portland, OR, focused around organizations that serve multiple aspects of the urban experience, for example, Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Portland Art Museum, Multnomah County Library, or Mercy Corps. Students may also choose to do internships out of state or even out of the country.
- research experience
- work experience
- part time or full time
- one or more term in length
- paid or unpaid; students can earn money and/or credits
Often referred to as "experiential learning", an internship is an opportunity to go outside the classroom to experience real-world learning in a professional work environment. Internships can add much value to a student's career exploration and development, and may provide early access into their chosen career.
- explore, start and define your professional life
- gain experience for your resume
- earn money and/or credit for school
- develop a professional network
- apply classroom learning in the real world
- hone existing skills and develop new ones
- research or project at your internship could become the foundation for your senior Honors thesis.
During your junior year or anytime after you have completed your sophomore Honors requirements. Sophomores with prior approval from the Honors director.
Early! It may take time to find an internship that will fit in with your major and career goals. Honors Internships must include either a research component or a project that will significantly help to develop a student’s professional expertise. You may also need time to update your resume and cover letter, develop interview skills, etc. Students should meet with the Honors Internship Coordinator, Denise Dallmann, at least one term prior to applying for an Honors Internship.
Students may earn up to 8 credits of Hon 404 from their internship. The total number of graded credits allowed is determined by the amount of time a student works in the internship. For Honors credit, a student must put in 20 hours of work per week for 10 weeks to receive the full 8 credits. Student must work at least 10 hours per week for 10 weeks to earn 4 credits.
Course credit can only be obtained for work that is relevant to your learning outcomes.
This means that students are expected to perform a meaningful task for the organization in which they have been placed. Typically, students are expected to perform some type of project, research, or administrative task that can be tied to their academic or professional goals. Clerical and secretarial positions are examples of unacceptable work. The Honors Program retains the right to determine the suitability of internship positions for course credit.
What is not considered an acceptable internship?
An unsupervised, volunteer position that is unrelated to your field of study or career objectives is not an acceptable internship. The internship cannot be routine or repetitive in nature (such as filing or copying paperwork) for more than 30% of the time. Intern students cannot replace full-time employees and should not be the “on-site expert.” The internship should also have a limited duration if it is unpaid.
If you are interested in becoming an intern, but have no idea on how /where to find one, talk to Denise about your interests and to get help.
First take a look at the list of CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES. The Honors Program maintains a list of past internships our students have completed, which you can also browse for ideas.
Students are welcome to pursue internships in an organization you are familiar with as long as the work you are doing meet your needs and interests.
Advising & Career Services maintains a list of internships available locally and around the world. Log in to Career Connect database to see current opportunities. This database is updated frequently. Contact: Jeanne Ellis, email@example.com
Most of the schools and colleges at PSU have internship advisers to help you find an internship. For example, the School of Business, College of Urban and Public Affairs, and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have internship advisers located in their department.
Talk to your professors in your major department. They may know of organizations or have contacts for internship locations that would be a good fit for your major.
Your internship search may require you to find and contact several organizations before you find one that will offer you an internship. Once you’ve found an organization you are interested in, try to contact the person you want to work with directly to discuss an internship, and don’t be afraid to follow up if you don’t hear back from the organization. You can see examples on how to contact an organization at the Honors Program.
Students must meet with Denise before beginning an internship and demonstrate their ability to benefit from the program. Bring a draft of the learning objectives you would like to achieve from your internship to the meeting. Together you will fine-tune these objectives and determine how the internship responsibilities allow you to grow academically and professionally.
- Download the Honors Internship Guide and fillable Internship Proposal Form.
- Submit your proposal to Dr. Fallon four weeks before the term of your internship.
- Complete a By Arrangement form in the Honors Program office the first week of term.
What are the grading policies for internships?
Graded credits are based on assignments submitted throughout the term listed above and the performance evaluation submitted by the internship supervisor. In most cases, the reflection paper requires students to tie together their internship experiences with relevant literature. Along with this paper, other requirements may include student-instructor conferences. Students must take responsibility for ensuring expectations are clear. Reflections and supervisor evaluations are due the Tuesday of finals week.
What is the role of the internship supervisor?
The Internship Supervisor is the member of the sponsoring organization who is responsible for supervising an intern's work. He or she provides the intern with day-to-day direction on the task that the intern must perform for the organization, and evaluates the intern's work. At the beginning of the term, the Internship Supervisor will be asked to agree to the student’s Internship Proposal, which describes the nature of work to be completed by the student. As described above, only work that has some relationship to student’s academic and professional growth is acceptable for internship credit. At the end of the semester, the Supervisor will be asked to complete a second form, evaluating the student's work for the organization.
As in any other type of job, students are expected to fulfill the expectations placed on them by their internship supervisor. The primary exception to this is if the supervisor strays from the original internship proposal, and uses a student solely for clerical work or in some other inappropriate manner. If this or other problems occur, students should contact Leena Shrestha, Denise or Dr. Fallon as soon as possible.
What is expected of me during the internship? Appropriate Behavior
Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner in their internship. This means that they arrive at their work when scheduled, they dress appropriately, they follow directions, and they interact with others in a positive manner. Moreover, students are expected to abide at all times by the ethical standards of the university and the organization in which they are placed. Students who conduct themselves in an unprofessional or unethical manner face a failing grade and/or appropriate disciplinary action.
What do I need to keep in mind during the internship?
Students who are selected as interns enter into their positions as representatives of Portland State University and of the Honors Program. Internships are not only beneficial to students, but to the sponsoring organization as well. If a student proves incapable of performing his or her job at a certain level of competence and in a professional manner, it could lead to a situation in which the sponsoring organization refuses to accept future interns from the Honors Program. For these reasons, the Honors Program has instituted some restrictions on who is eligible to enter the internship program. This section explains the policies on eligibility and course credit.
How can I make the most out of my internship?
Before you begin your internship, set personal and pre-professional goals and objectives so you have a learning focus during your internship. Identify a mentor at your internship organization and check in with him or her on a regular basis. When you are finished with a task, ask what you can do next. Be sure to take notes when receiving instructions for assignments. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about an assignment you don’t understand. Stay positive and be a team player no matter what the task. Remember to send in your weekly reflection to Dr. Fallon each Friday.
|What can the Honors Program help me with?||What can the Honors Program NOT help me with?|
Give you resume and cover letter tips or refer you to Advising & Career Services for more in-depth help
Write your resume or cover letter for you
Provide you with resources and suggestions for where you can find an internship
“Place” you at an internship
Provide assistance and resources for writing your learning outcomes; Review your proposal for you prior to submission
Write your learning outcomes