FAQ for Credited Internships
What is a Credited Internship?
How Do I Get Started?
Where Do I Get An Internship?
What If I Need Help?
Internship Credits, Hours and Costs
What Does My Faculty Sponsor Do?
What is an Academic Internship Contract?
UMass Rules About Credited Internships
Once You Accept An Internship
Clarify Your Housing and Financial Aid
Professionalism At The Internship Site
After The Internship
A credited internship is a position in a company or organization that provides you with a professional-level educational or training experience while earning academic credit. Credited internships can take place year round and may or may not be paid. To participate in a credited internship, you must have earned at least 45 credits and have at least a 2.0 GPA overall. (For exceptions to these rules, speak with your academic dean). In addition, you must complete your internship prior to graduation.
Registration for all internships and co-ops starts with submitting an online internship or co-op Experience contract in Handshake, which you access with your SPIRE NetID and password. Putting together an internship has 4 major parts: your internship site supervisor, your faculty sponsor, your academic project, and, the most important part, YOU.
- Your site supervisor is the person who agrees to directly supervise you at their place of business.
- Your faculty sponsor ensures the internship has an academic component and connects with your personal program of study.
- Handshake is where all information about your internship is entered and stored (e.g. contracts, evaluations) and managed by Central Career Services.
- YOU are the person responsible for bringing together all of the parties above, ensuring that all parts of the registration process are completed by all parties, and confirming that your plans will comply with the requirements of your major.
Students enter the process of securing an internship in different ways. Some find internships on their own. Others need assistance in finding and applying for positions and may seek our help earlier. Handshake is our campus's database of job and internship opportunities.
Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Handshake:
- Update your personal and academic profiles first; confirm that your major is correct
- Using fewer filters can increase your search results
- The more you use Handshake the faster the system will learn your interests and make customized suggestions
- To apply for internships through Handshake you may first need to upload a resume through the system
During the process of finding your internship, you must find and meet with a faculty member who will agree to be your faculty sponsor.
- Call our front desk at 413-545-2224 with questions about using Handshake
- Come in for a 15-minute walk-in appointment with one of our trained student peer advisors at Goodell, any time 1pm - 4pm weekdays when classes are in session; bring a printed copy of your resume and any internship description that interests you
- Schedule a 30 or 60 minute appointment with a professional career advisor, specialized to your major
- Career Services has also gathered links to many other sources of internships and put them on our website under Finding Internships
- Fall and Spring semester internship credits are part of regular tuition -- so no extra cost for full-time undergraduate students.
- Summer or Winter session internship credits are registered through Continuing and Professional Education and are paid by the student, per credit, the same way summer courses are billed and paid for. A maximum of four credits is allowed for winter session internships, and a maximum of 14 credits is allowed for summer session.
- A UMass Amherst undergraduate student can earn a total of 18 credits for internships during the course of completing your degree, depending upon the guidelines of your department and major. Talk to an undergraduate academic advisor from your major for information on major requirements and limitations.
- Credits are registered under UMass 298Y or your major's x98 practicums, are usually earned as general elective credits, and count towards graduation credit totals. Most are graded Pass/Fail, but some departments may use letter-graded practicum credits.
In addition to the academic work you and your faculty sponsor agree upon, you need to work 40 hours for each credit earned (1 credit = 40 hours). For any semester-long (including fall, winter, spring and summer) internships, the total number of hours worked divided by 40 determines the amount of credits earned. These are the UMass Amherst recommended hours needed to earn credits over the course of a fall or spring 14-week semester:
When you participate in an internship, you need a faculty sponsor to help determine the amount of credits you will earn and to guide and evaluate the academic component of your placement. Although the internship will be like a job, it is actually an academic experience, and the credit you receive will be for that academic component. Your sponsor will usually require a graded paper, journal, or project that reflects what you have learned from your experiences. Choose a faculty sponsor whose academic work is closely related to your internship field.
Faculty? Please read Sponsoring an Internship for information on your responsibilities and expectations as a faculty sponsor.
The Academic Internship Contract is an agreement between you, your faculty sponsor, and the Field Experience Office that clearly states the academic content and expectations of your internship placement. You and your faculty sponsor will determine what kind of work you will do for your credit, what type of credit, and how many credits you will earn. You would include this information in your online internship Experience contract in Handshake - see below under Once You Accept an Internship. Some departments have their own academic contracts, and you may attach copies of them to your online internship contract.
- You can use any websites you like, or you can develop your own internship and bring it to us for registration. However, you CANNOT work for family or in someone's private home for credit
- If you do not have a minimum of 45 credits completed or do not have a minimum GPA of 2.0, you will need to get permission from your Academic Dean to earn credit. You will need a signed Dean's Approval Form
- If your internship will bring you away from the UMass Amherst campus and you will not be taking any classes on campus, you will need both a Department Permission Form and a Placement Requirements Form
- If you are a domestic student and your internship is outside of the United States, you must contact the International Programs Office (IPO) at least six months in advance of your internship to seek IPO approval. You will need a signed International Internship and Co-op IPO Approval Form
- If you are an international student, if this is a PAID internship, you MUST check with the International Programs Office (IPO) regarding work authorization allowed under your specific immigration status; please review the IPO guidelines for CPT approval at https://www.umass.edu/ipo/iss/curricular-practical-training-cpt . Call the IPO for assistance at 413-545-2710.
- Login to Handshake and submit an internship Experience contract:
- Click on the Career Center tab on the top right, then click Experiences, then Request an Experience. Under Details, under Experience Type, select Internship for Credit – For Domestic and International Undergraduates; select a Term, and include your placement details, learning objectives and academic project, if you are getting credit. Attach any forms that are needed - see below.
- If you do not have a minimum of 45 credits completed or do not have a minimum GPA of 2.0, you need to attach a signed Dean's Approval Form. IMPORTANT: When filling out your online Experience contract, you should Save As Draft until you have attached (uploaded) the signed Dean's Approval Form; then you may submit your Contract. Once you click Submit on Handshake, you will be UNABLE to submit any additional permission forms that may be required.
- If your internship takes you away from the UMass Amherst campus during the Fall or Spring semester, you will need to attach a signed Placements Requirements Form and Department Permission Form (signed by someone in your department) to your internship Experience contract. IMPORTANT: When filling out your online Experience contract, you should Save As Draft until you have attached (uploaded) the signed forms; then you may submit your Contract. Once you click Submit on Handshake, you will be UNABLE to submit any additional permission forms that may be required.
- If you are a domestic student and your internship is outside of the United States, you must contact the International Programs Office (IPO) at least six months in advance of your internship to seek IPO approval. You have to attach a signed International Internship and Co-op IPO Approval Form to your Experience contract. IMPORTANT: When filling out your online Experience contract, you should Save As Draft until you have attached (uploaded) the signed International Internship and Co-op IPO Approval Form; then you may submit your Contract. Once you click Submit on Handshake, you will be UNABLE to submit any additional permission forms that may be required.
- If you are an international student, and this is a paid internship, you MUST check with the International Programs Office (IPO) regarding work authorization allowed under your specific immigration status; please review the IPO guidelines for CPT approval at https://www.umass.edu/ipo/iss/curricular-practical-training-cpt . Call the IPO at 413-545-2710. Undergraduate students will provide a pdf copy of their new CPT/I-20 to Central Career Services to be attached to their Experience contract.
- Once you complete and submit your Contract, after it is reviewed by Central Career Services staff, Handshake will email a link to your faculty sponsor for approval
- Tell your faculty sponsor that they will receive a computer-generated email with a customized link to approve
- Your faculty sponsor will indicate their approval after clicking on that link and reviewing your contract. Important: Your internship will not be official until your faculty sponsor approves your contract, so politely remind them if necessary.
- After your faculty sponsor has approved the online contract, Central Career Services' Field Experience office will help you get enrolled in your internship credit.
- During the internship, you must log (track) your weekly work hours. A form will be provided by the Field Experience Office.
- Towards the end of the internship, you and your internship site supervisor will receive emails with final evaluation forms. You BOTH need to submit them.
After you accept a credited internship position, you may also need to check in with the following campus offices:
Residential Life Student Services
235 Whitmore Administration Building
If you accept a full-time internship, and you are currently living on campus, remember to cancel your on-campus housing for the semester you’ll be away and arrange housing for the semester after your internship.
Financial Aid Services
255 Whitmore Administration Building
Students who receive financial aid should meet with Sharon Ruth, the Financial Aid liaison for internship and co-op students.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst interns are known for their professionalism in the workplace. As an intern you represent both your own professional character and the reputation of the University of Massachusetts. Career Services has worked diligently to create a community of employers that enjoy the benefits of hiring UMass students. It is likely that you were given an internship on the basis of previously successful and professional UMass interns that impressed the company in the recent past. You are responsible for carrying that benefit through to future student interns by maintaining the professional reputation of the university.
- Complaints from your site supervisor will lead to discussions with your faculty sponsor, and Career Services, that may potentially lead to your forced withdrawal from the internship experience.
- An intern who feels under-utilized or under-valued at their site should seek a polite conversation with their site supervisor to improve working conditions and the working relationship.
- An intern who feels unsafe or unsupported by their site supervisor should immediately contact their faculty advisor and the Career Services Field Experience office at 413-545-2224. The University is here to ensure that your internship experience is beneficial, educational, productive, and fair.
- To receive a grade, you and your site supervisor must equip your faculty sponsor with enough information to determine your grade. From your site supervisor, that would be an employer evaluation sent by Central Career Services which includes confirming your total number of work hours. From you, it would be an evaluation sent by Central Career Services as well as a Work Hours log.
- In addition, you must submit your Academic Project to your faculty sponsor. Be sure to submit these ASAP so that your faculty sponsor has time to calculate and enter your grade before the deadline.
- You may wish to meet with a Career Advisor in your college to discuss how to best present on your resume the skills gained from your internship experience.