University at Albany
 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an internship?
Can I get academic credit?
What are the options for academic credit?
Will I get paid?
What is a “Hold Harmless” agreement?
What other issues do I need to consider?

What is an internship?

An internship is a partnership between an undergraduate student and an employer to provide supervised work experience that complements the student’s academic program or career goals.

Can I get academic credit?

An internship can be done either for academic credit or just for experience. When done for academic credit, an internship becomes a three-way partnership between you, the employer and a division in the university---usually an academic department. There are several things you need to know:

Eligibility: Before you can do an academic internship, you’ll need to have junior or senior status which means you’ll need to complete at least 56 credit hours prior to beginning your academic internship. You’ll also need to have at least a 2.5 GPA. Some academic departments require a higher GPA and senior status to enroll in their internship courses. Check out UAlbany’s Internship Handbook for details on eligibility.

Learning Component: When you do an internship for academic credit, you’ll need to have a learning component with clearly defined projects as well as learning goals that use the knowledge and skills you learn in the classroom.

Duration and Credit Hours: The number of credit hours you receive for the internship is determined by the number of hours you are expected to work at the internship site throughout the course of the semester. Approximately 40 hours of work (total) are equivalent to one credit hour.

Relevance: An internship done for academic credit needs to be relevant in some way to your academic studies. Also the quality and the content of the internship will need to be evaluated.

Supervision: You will also need to be supervised during your academic internship. Usually this involves choosing someone from the university faculty and someone from your internship site.

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What are the options for academic credit?

There are several ways you can get academic credit for an internship here at UAlbany:
1) Many academic majors and minors have an internship course you can take if you meet the prerequisites. Check out UAlbany’s Internship Handbook for details.
2) The University-Wide Internship program is available if your academic major does not have an internship course. This program is also a good choice if you have already taken an internship course in your major but want additional elective credit for another internship.

Will I get paid?

Some internships are paid and some are not. Sometimes an employer will provide a stipend, which is a fixed sum of money provided for work that is usually unpaid. Sometimes an employer will offer you another form of compensation like reimbursement for mileage or by providing lunch rather than paying you a wage. If you are a business major, the School of Business will require you to have an unpaid internship if you want to get academic credit. Most academic departments at UAlbany, however, do not have this requirement.

What is a “Hold Harmless” agreement?

If you are doing an unpaid internship for an employer and you’re not getting academic credit either, you may be asked to have the university sign a “Hold Harmless” agreement. If this happens, there are likely insurance/liability issues that need to be ironed out before you can start your internship. Unfortunately, Career Services will not be able to sign this type of an agreement. In fact, no department at the University at Albany has the authority to sign such an agreement.

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What other issues do I need to consider?

In addition to academic credit and compensation, there are a number of other important issues to think through as you prepare for your internship experience. Consider, for example, the following:

  1. Time commitment: Is it best to do your internship in the summer, fall, or spring terms?
  2. Your academic readiness and personal maturity to do an internship
  3. Developing your resume, cover letter and interviewing skills
  4. Geographic location
  5. Work environment
  6. Housing needs
  7. Type of organization or company
Deadlines: Many internships have deadlines! If you’re planning a summer internship, the majority of deadlines will be in the Spring semester around March. Yet, some summer internship applications have deadlines as early as December of the previous year. Many academic internships have to go through a committee of professors to be approved first before you begin working. Beware of deadlines!

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