Externship Policies & Procedures
The hands-on experiences that you can acquire working with organizations and companies off-campus can provide enrichment opportunities and beneficial training for your career. These off-campus internships, referred to as externships, can significantly enhance your academic and professional goals.
Policies & Procedures
The campus and the Department of Higher Education (DHE) acknowledge the importance of externships by granting tuition credit to graduate students who are in approved externship positions. As specified below, employment verification and academic approval procedures are required in order for an externship tuition credit to be granted.
Definitions and Limits:
- Externships are training and learning experiences that are substantially relevant to the student’s academic goals and directly augment their programmatic studies.
- Externships must be specifically designed for students and are not regular staff positions. Externships are not meant to be a continuation of employment for students who were previously employed in a regular staff position. Only in rare and compelling circumstances will exceptions be made. A letter addressing such circumstances must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School for review and decision.
- Externships must be worked and paid during the semester in which tuition credit is granted. The only exception is during the summer – see below for further explanation.
- The stipend paid for externships must meet the campus minimum threshold for tuition credit in any given semester.
- Externship positions are not in the GEO bargaining unit and do not qualify for any bargaining unit benefits such as health fee exemptions, dental, and parking benefits.
- Graduate students employed by Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, or Smith College in professional, academically related positions must be in assistantship positions through the Five-College Appointment process and are not externships.
- Master’s degree students may have a maximum of four (4) semesters of externship tuition credit.
- Doctoral students may have a maximum of six (6) semesters of externship tuition credit. The number of semesters of externship tuition credit received while a master’s student will count towards the maximum of six (6) semesters except when the doctoral degree is in a different department or program than that of the master’s degree.
- Summer externships must be pre-approved prior to the summer, are only allowed when seasonal issues require summer work, and will be included in the maximum number of semesters allowed for a graduate degree.
- Only in rare and compelling circumstances will additional semesters of externship tuition credit be granted. A letter addressing such circumstances and requesting an additional tuition credit must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School for review and decision.
- Tuition credits are not applied to Continuing and Professional Education course fees. Such fees cannot be credited under DHE policy.
- Circumstances exist in which externships will be denied on the basis of conflict of interest. The following are some examples of circumstances where conflicts of interest arise: the student’s department head, graduate program director, academic advisor, or committee member is also an employee of the external agency hiring the graduate student; at the work site, the student is directly supervised by an individual who is also an employee of the University; a member of the student’s immediate family (parents, children, siblings, spouse, and spouse’s parents, children, and siblings) is an employee of the external agency hiring the graduate student.
- The Dean of the Graduate School has final authority for granting externships and externship tuition credit.
Procedures and Timelines:
The request for tuition credit and verification of employment shall be processed as follows:
- Complete Employment Verification Form (CEVF) (Appendix A).
- Submit a detailed job description including description of supervision the student receives. This needs to be on official employer / external agency letterhead and signed by the supervisor and the student.
- Submit EVF and Job description to the student’s academic department as soon as completed but no later than September 1 for Fall semester externships and January 4 for Spring semester externships.
- Complete Request for Tuition Credit / Academic Approval form (Appendix B) and have signed by the Academic Advisor, Graduate Program Director and Department Head.
- Submit all employer documentation as described above along with signed Request for Tuition Credit / Academic Approval form to the Assistantship Office (517 Goodell Building) by September 15th for Fall semester externships and February 1 for Spring semester externships.
- Note: For Summer externships which require preapproval (see Summer Externship policy above), all documentation - employer’s and department’s - must be received in the Assistantship Office by June 1.
- All documentation submitted to the Assistantship Office must be originals and must be submitted each semester for which tuition credit is requested.
- Externship tuition credit will not be granted for more than one semester at a time and must be verified each semester.
- The Dean of the Graduate School or his/her designee has final approval of externship tuition credit.
Semester Audit and Evaluation:
Each semester an Externship Evaluation Form (Appendix C) must be completed by the employer and student’s academic advisor. This evaluation form shall be processed as follows;
Complete, sign, and send to student’s academic department by January 4 for the Fall semester in which the externship took place and May 15 for the Spring semester in which the externship took place.
- Academic advisor completes, signs, and sends to the Assistantship Office by January 15 for the Fall semester in which the externship took place and June 1 for the Spring semester in which the externship took place.