Earn Credit for Internships

students posing for graduation

Earning Credit for an Internship

Some students may be enrolled in a major that requires an internship-type experience as part of their core requirements which means they will follow department process and protocols for earning credit.  Most other students may be eligible to earn credit for internships or robust volunteer experiences, through an elective academic internship course (consult your department adviser or University Studies for information on internship courses), or through individual faculty sponsorship. If students opt to seek out an individual faculty member to sponsor their experience, they must use the Credit by Arrangement process described below.  

An important note about earning credit for internship/volunteer experiences: Students may first want to determine whether the academic credit is needed for degree completion or applicable to their specific degree requirements, as they will be required to pay for the number of credits earned just as they would for class credits. Most students earning internship/volunteer credit apply it to their elective credit requirements. If you are not sure if you need additional credits, it may be helpful to check your DARS and/or meet with your academic adviser prior to registering for the credit by arrangement process.

Student Requirements:

Students who are enrolled in an academic program that requires an internship, should always consult with the designated internship adviser in that program before registering for credit. Students seeking academic credit for optional/elective internships or volunteer experiences should consult with a faculty member (or an academic advisor in CLAS who is a designated internship sponsor) in the area most closely related to your major and engage them as your internship sponsor.

Faculty internship sponsors will review your internship/volunteer position description and determine its value as a credit-worthy experience. In addition to the duties as described for the onsite internship experience, PSU faculty internship sponsors may require students to perform additional assignments to earn credit, such as weekly reports/journals or culminating projects or papers. For information and resources for faculty sponsors and other academic internship sponsors please refer to the Faculty/Staff resources page.

By Arrangement Request Forms are accessible through the Faculty/Staff resource page and also available online, at the Office of Registration and Records in the Fariborz Maseeh Hall lobby, and from the instructor. Typically, the academic sponsor will submit completed forms to the Registration office for processing.

The final day to enroll in by-arrangement courses is the same as the final day to add classes for the term. However, if enrollment in the by-arrangement is required in order to receive Financial Aid, the course must be added before the end of the second week of the term.

At the undergraduate level these credits are pass/no pass. A graded option is also available in certain circumstances and in specific academic departments. Please see an academic advisor in your department for additional details.

How many credits can be earned for an internship and what is the cost?

Internships are generally limited to 4 credits per term. The number of credit hours earned and the resulting tuition cost to the student is relative to the number of hours spent working in an internship. Typically, a total of approximately 40 hours of work is required to earn one credit, which means a student must complete approximately 160 hours of work, (16 hours per week over a 10 week term) for 4 credits.  The total number of hours worked may include any time spent on additional assignments as required by supervising faculty.  Please be aware there are exceptions to this work to credit hour ratio. Please check with your faculty sponsor for the specific ratio of work to credit hours for your department and the relative cost for credit hours earned for your internship experience.

How can I find an academic sponsor for my Credit by Arrangement?

It is best to consult with a faculty member or academic advisor whom you already know. Most students ask faculty with whom they have already taken a course. For this reason, it makes sense to do “for credit” internships once you have completed at least one upper division course in your subject area.

Additional Ways to Earn Credit for Internships/Volunteer Opportunities:

  • University Studies Upper Division Cluster Course - Substitute an internship for one of the three cluster course requirements for UNST 321U Learning in Action. This 4 credits Hybrid course is offered every term. You must find a community-based volunteer or internship opportunity and register for the course in your cluster.
    • Eligible Clusters: *Check with your advisor (clusters vary and my change)
      • Families and Society
      • Knowledge Values & Rationality
      • Popular Culture
      • Leading Social Change
      • Interpreting the Past
  • Capstone courses: Where students find their own “internship site”, i.e.  Effective Change Agent, etc.  See your academic adviser for additional options and details.
  • School of Business:  MGMT/FIN/ACCT/ISQA 404/409 = 1-4 credits Fully Online
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:  Students may consult with CLAS academic and career advisors for sponsorship for elective internships.  Number of credits possible varies: 1-12