The Catholic University of America

For-Credit Internships in the University Honors Program

Why Do an Internship?

There are two good reasons to do an internship:

  1. Internships provide a unique opportunity to make connections between what you are learning in the classroom and what you might do in your future careers. This is where you discover how the skills you have been developing in your CUA courses can actually help you in the workplace! You will discover that the ability to read, write, analyze data, and understand the big picture that your instructors have been instilling in you will be indispensable in your future careers. You will return to the classroom with an even better sense of why you are being asked to write all those papers and do all those problem sets.
  2. Internships can also lead directly to future employment. You will gain valuable experience and contacts that will help you in your job search, and you may even be offered a job by the organization with which you intern.

 

What Are the Rules for Counting Internships for Credit?

  1. Each internship counts for 3 credits. You may take two separate internships for credit for a total of six credits, but you may take only one internship in any given semester. Internships that you take through a department, such as Politics or Media Studies, count towards this limit. That is, you cannot take two internships through the Honors Program and also take two internships through Media Studies or Politics.
  2. Internships offered through the University Honors Program cannot be used to meet distribution requirements or major requirements. They can be counted for elective credit only.
  3. Internships may be paid or unpaid.

 

What Are the Prerequisites for Participation?

  1. You must be in good standing within the University Honors Program, i.e., you must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  2. You must have junior or senior status.

 

How Do I Get Ready for an Internship?

The first step is to prepare yourself for the internship search by completing a number of tasks through the Office of Career Services (OCS):

  1. Make an appointment for a session with a career counselor on how to conduct an internship search.
  2. Create a resume and cover letter and have them critiqued by a career counselor.
  3. Participate in a mock interview.
  4. Complete the university’s on-line course about preventing workplace harassment. 

These tasks can be accomplished at any point after you arrive at CUA, but they must be done before the internship can be approved. OCS can remind you of these tasks and track their completion.

 

How Do I Find an Internship?

Students may find internships in a number of ways:

  1. By consulting with Career Services. OCS has access to a large database of internships.
    OCS career counselors can also meet with students to help them conduct their search.
  2. By consulting faculty members who do research in a field they are interested in.
  3. Through independent research.

 

What Criteria Does an Internship Have to Meet on Order to Be Taken for Credit?

  1. The internship must run during the Fall or Spring semester and requires a minimum of 140 hours of work in total. The required number of hours can be adjusted with the approval of the faculty advisor.
  2. The greater part of the work you will be doing is related to the specific skills you are interested in acquiring.
  3. You will have a direct supervisor who will ensure that the position requirements will be met. The supervisor will track your work attendance and submit an interim evaluation and a final evaluation.
  4. The work for the internship will be done on site. No online-only internships are permitted.

 

Once I Identify the Internship I’m Interested In, What Next?

First, you need the approval of OCS, who will research the employer to ensure the internship is a legitimate opportunity and that it is in harmony with the mission of the University. The OCS staff member in charge of this program will follow up on any questions or inconsistencies. During this process an OCS staff member will conduct a site visit to all local first-time internship locations.

Next, you should follow the application process required by the internship organization. You may consult OCS or the UHP for advice while completing the process of applying for the internship.

 

What Do I Do Once I Have Been Awarded an Internship?

Complete the Internship Agreement Form and submit it to the Honors Program Annex (McMahon 112A).

The Internship Agreement Form includes portions for the student, the employer, and the faculty advisor.

a)     First, you should complete the student portion of the form and attach to it a statement of purpose (approximately one page in length) that articulates the intellectual and professional rationale for the internship. You may be interested in a particular internship because it is related to a field you might pursue professionally after college, or it may satisfy other intellectual or personal goals, as long as these are clearly and convincingly articulated.

b)     Next, have the prospective supervisor from the sponsoring organization complete the employer portion of the internship agreement form. The supervisor’s contact information and signature must appear on the application form. The supervisor must confirm that the internship meets the criteria spelled out above and promise to complete the interim and final evaluations by the specified deadlines. Click here for the forms for the interim evaluation and final evaluation.

c)     Next, find a faculty advisor and have him/her complete the advisor portion of the internship agreement form.

You need to find an Honors faculty member or the head of an academic unit (program, department, or school) on campus who is willing to serve as your faculty advisor for the internship. OCS and the UHP can help you find a match. The advisor will complete the faculty portion of the internship agreement form that spells out the major assignments required by the specific faculty advisor or prepare a course syllabus to be attached to the form. If the advisor is identified early in the process of researching the internship, he or she may attend the site visit conducted by OCS.

You will need the signatures of the following on the completed application:

  1. The designated internship coordinator from OCS
  2. The faculty advisor
  3. The director or assistant director of the UHP

 

What Is the Deadline for the Completed Application?

The completed application will be due in the University Honors Program office by the end of the registration period during the semester of the proposed internship.

 

How Will the Internship Be Supervised?

During the semester of the internship, in addition to attending all scheduled work sessions, you must maintain regular contact with the faculty advisor and with Career Services.

  1. You will normally attend 5 to 7 meetings with the faculty advisor overseeing the internship, but these meetings can be structured and scheduled as the faculty advisor directs. For example, some faculty members who are advising more than one internship may prefer to meet with several interns at once in a seminar format, whereas others may prefer to meet with interns individually. At these meetings, you and your faculty advisor will discuss such topics as the relationship between previous course work and the subject matter of the internship and the culture of the workplace. The emphasis should be on reflecting critically on the experience of work.
  2. You will meet twice with a Career Services counselor, normally at the midpoint and end of the internship. Before these meetings, you will complete an interim evaluation and a final evaluation of your experience in the internship. These meetings will cover how you can use this experience to move forward in planning for future employment or education.

 

How Will the Internship Be Evaluated?

Your grade on the internship will be determined by the faculty advisor based on three factors:

a)     Grades on assignments as specified in the internship application. It is recommended that a minimum of one page per week be written by the student with a substantial paper due at the end of the internship.

Writing assignments may be structured at the discretion of the faculty member. Typical weekly assignments may include:

  1. Keeping a journal.
  2. Interviewing the internship supervisor.
  3. Writing a reflection paper on the experience and how it has affected the student’s decision either to continue seeking employment in the area of the internship or to change directions.

b)     The interim and final evaluations from the internship supervisor. The student will be required to write a response to these evaluations that should demonstrate thoughtful reflection upon the feedback offered by the supervisor.

c)     Completion of the required meetings with Career Services. These meetings will not be evaluated as such, but the student will not receive a grade if they have not been completed.

 

Are There Any Restrictions?

You must not schedule internship commitments during your other regularly-scheduled CUA classes. It is your responsibility take travel time into consideration when scheduling internships.

Remember, you cannot receive more than 6 total credits worth of internship credit, including both Honors internships and departmental internships.