Goals and Objectives
The goal of an internship is to have a learning experience with mentors in a professional workplace that complements your classwork. Your internship should strengthen your professional skills in a professional setting. An internship may be paid or unpaid – the primary goal is to have an outstanding workplace learning experience to help you transition from a student to your next career goal.
An internship must include a learning component. These components may include:
- Advanced techniques related to one of your fields of study;
- Project management skills;
- Professional skills in the workplace;
- Communication skills such as writing, presentation, or negotiating in the workplace;
- Applying class learning to a job;
- Technical skills improving your ability with software or tools such as working with Microsoft Office, GIS, GPS, or other software or equipment.
An internship should not be one of the following:
- Work that is primarily irrelevant to your college education (such as babysitting, stuffing envelopes, or fully administrative positions);
- Working directly for an immediate family member;
- Work that does not include a clear learning objective approved by your Internship Coordinator.
Students majoring in the Geography, Geology, Geospatial Sciences, Land Use, and Environmental Sciences programs are required to have three credit hours of internship to complete their degrees. Some majors can take more hours as an elective credit. Discuss taking more than three hours with your advisor to understand how this will apply to your degree.
All interns are responsible for understanding and complying with the EAS Department’s and the Applied Learning Center’s internship policies and requirements. Failure to do so may result in a lower grade or lack of credit for an internship.
You should not commit to work with any potential internship host until you have had a discussion and approval from the Applied Learning Center and the EAS Department’s Internship Coordinator.
You must work a certain number of hours to earn academic credit for your internship:
- 45 hours per term for 1 credit hour
- 90 hours per term for 2 credit hours
- 135 hours per term for 3 credit hours
- 180 hours per term for 4 credit hours
- 225 hours per term for 5 credits hours
- 270 hours per term for 6 credit hours
We recommend working just as many hours as you can reasonably put in to demonstrate your competence while maintaining your other responsibilities.
Why Do an Internship?
Work experience is a commodity valued highly by your potential employers. An internship is an opportunity to get learning experience while in school and see how your skills apply in the workplace.
Completing an internship:
- Shows how you use your creativity and professionalism in a real-world setting.
- Gives you a competitive edge over your competition.
- Allows you to try out a career in your field.
- Brings your real-world experience back into the classroom.
You must have approval from the Applied Learning Center and the EAS Department’s Internship Coordinator before starting an internship. The internship coordinator has authority to grant or refuse permission depending upon circumstances.
An internship may be taken from 2 to 15 credit hours per semester in most cases, although internship hours beyond 9 hours total should be approved by the Applied Learning Center and your internship coordinator.
You may complete more than one internship in your college career.
The Applied Learning Center and/or the Internship coordinator will ask for a site visit to interview you and your employer.
To complete your internship for credit, you will need to have the following completed:
- A work log detailing the hours of your work;
- An evaluation from your supervisor
- An evaluation from you
- A 2-page paper summarizing your work experience and evaluating the effectiveness of the internship.
- What experiences and skills did you learn? Were they valuable?
- Did you find your assignments helpful to your schooling and/or career path? Was there sufficient guidance on your work?
- Would you recommend the internship to other students? Why or why not?
Keeping Track of Your Work
You will need to track your work hours during your internship. Forty-five hours of work are required for each credit hour of internship credit. Keeping track of your hours protects you and verifies your credit, and it is also a useful work skill that may be necessary for careers in consulting or contracting.
Some options for keeping track of your hours:
Keep a notebook and track your hours and tasks;
Use a spreadsheet program like Excel or Google Sheets to keep track of time;
Use an app like Toggl. Toggl is free to use and runs on Apple, Android, and on browsers to track your work. You can also generate reports.
How to Find an Internship
Step 1. Have a current resume available, or at least a rough draft ready to be polished. Need help getting started? The Applied Learning Center has helpful resume resources. If, in your resume, you indicate that examples of your work or your digital portfolio are available upon request, be certain that the examples or portfolio are ready for distribution when requested.
Step 2. The search for an internship begins in earnest, using one, several, or all of these resources (pursue whichever of these seems most promising, then if you don’t find that successful, move on to other options):
- Referral by current employees, such as a family members, friends, alumni, or mentors
- Friends and former classmates are often willing to help you find a position through the contacts they have made. Just ask.
- Internship Lists—the Applied Learning Center maintains a list of internship availabilities for a wide variety of industry-related positions.
- Internet—Internet listings of many companies have an employment button under which internship information may also be displayed. You can also search on places like LinkedIn, Indeed, or ColoradoNonprofits.org.
- Faculty—all members of the EAS faculty are willing to help you find an appropriate internship. Start by contacting with the faculty who teach in the topic areas where you want to do your internship.