Best Practices for Virtual Internships | Downloadable PDF
What about internships during the COVID19 pandemic?
Although spring, and possibly summer 2020 in-person internships are currently cancelled or delayed, you may be able to participate in a remote or online internship. We encourage students who were working in an internship this semester to reach out to their employer to see if some of the work could be continued remotely.
While a remote internship may lack some of the advantages of an in-person experience, students will benefit from relevant project-based learning, improve their professional skills, and demonstrate good time management and communication skills.
If you are still looking for a summer internship, don’t despair. Many employers have internship positions posted on their job board or in Handshake. Again, we encourage you to be proactive and reach out to employers who currently have positions posted to see if there is an option for remote work until in-person work can resume.
Finally, while some employers may be cancelling their internship program this summer, there may be an opportunity for project-based work known as “micro-internships”. Micro-internships are paid, short-term assignments that range from 5-40 hours to complete. Recently, UMass has partnered with Parker Dewey to offer micro-internships from a wide-range of employers including those in technology, finance, HR, sales and marketing.
Students who are interested in receiving one credit for a 40-hour micro-internship can do so with permission from a faculty sponsor. Steps include reaching out to a faculty member to sponsor this remote arrangement (departments have varying guidelines), filling out an Internship Contract on Handshake (Click on “Experiences - Request an Experience”), asking your supervisor (employer) to fill out an evaluation when the work is completed, and signing up for summer academic credit through UMass University Without Walls.
Students may also consider this free, student-run resource developed by undergraduates at Brown University called Intern From Home.
While no one is able to predict when the call for social distancing restrictions will end, we are still here to help you navigate the process of gaining relevant hands-on experience in a way that is meaningful and beneficial. Please feel free to reach out to us: We Are Here For You!
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is continuing to closely monitor the challenges associated with COVID-19 and its impact on student internships.
As such, we have partnered with Parker Dewey to provide the opportunity to pursue a Micro-Internship.
These opportunities are:
- paid work experience
- completely remote!
Experiential Learning Opportunities
Field experiences—co-ops and internships—give you the chance to work in your field and gain experience. Participating in one or more field experiences while at UMass is one of the best ways to prepare for your career.
There are a wide range of field experience opportunities for students. You can Intern or be on Co-op during an academic semester or during the summer, and potentially work near UMass Amherst or far from campus. All co-ops are paid. Some internships are paid while others are not. But they all provide valuable experience for you and your resume.
See our Calendar for when Internship and Co-op Information Sessions are held during the academic year in Goodell, where a member of our field experience staff will be available to answer your questions.
It is never too early to start thinking about getting some experience. Even first-year students may begin by participating in uncredited internships and other opportunities (volunteer work, campus activities, job shadowing, informational interviewing) to build skills and prepare for later internships. Go to Other Opportunities for more ideas.
Differences: Internships Vs Co-ops
An internship is a position in an organization that provides you with a professional-level training experience. Internships happen year-round, they may be paid or unpaid, for credit or not. Credited internships require a faculty sponsor to determine the applicable number of credits and to assign an academic project. Read more about the process for doing credited internships.
A co-op is a three to nine-month position related to your major, for which you are working at least 20 hours per week if part-time and 35-40 hours per week if full-time and earning at least minimum wage. During a fall or spring co-op, you will set school aside for a period of time, yet maintain your status as a full-time UMass Amherst student without paying tuition. When you complete the co-op, after we receive the evaluations and you have logged your hours, co-op recognition can appear on your transcript. Read more about the process for doing non-credit co-ops.
Scholarships Are Available!
The primary benefit of an internship is the experience. Unpaid internships can provide you with great content for your resume, so don't skip over them as you search. To help, the University offers several scholarship awards to support students doing unpaid internships or research. Students should apply directly to the department or college offering each specific scholarship. Download our two helpful lists for eligibility and application information:
Students are encouraged to check with your department faculty and college office for additional scholarship opportunities. We also encourage you to seek additional scholarships from sources outside of UMass.
Student Resource: Field Experience Office Staff
Mary Lysakowski, Field Experience Program Manager
Employers Looking to Learn About Field Experience (Internships, Co-ops, Etc.)
Compliance Message to Employers regarding Unpaid Internships
The University of Massachusetts Amherst complies with the U.S. Department of Labor’s "Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regarding unpaid internships. In order to protect themselves from any potential liability which could arise from the offering of an unpaid internship, the employer should make sure that the internship opportunity meets the guidelines developed by the Fair Labor Standards Act referenced above.