SUU Seal (for official use only)

SUBJECT: Internships


The purpose of this Policy is to provide definition and guidance for Internship programs.


  1. NACE Position Statement of U.S. Internships
  2. Southern Utah University Policy 6.13 Grading
  3. Southern Utah University Policy 6.19 Grade Appeal
  4. Southern Utah University Policy 6.26 Credit Hour Loads
  5. Southern Utah University Policy 6.27 Faculty Workload
  6. Southern Utah University Policy 6.29 Retention of Student Records by Faculty
  7. Southern Utah University Policy 6.31 Academic Standards
  8. Southern Utah University Policy 6.49 Graduation Requirements


  1. Internship: An Internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. (Adopted from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.)

    To ensure that an experience—whether it is a traditional Internship or one conducted remotely or virtually—is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) definition, all the following criteria must be met:
    1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
    2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
    3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
    4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
    5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
    6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
    7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

If these criteria are followed, it is the opinion of NACE that the experience can be considered a legitimate internship.


  1. General Conditions
    1. Academic Internships, cooperative education (co-op) programs (for purposes of this policy, co-op education is synonymous with Internships), practica, and service learning are experiential learning programs that formally integrate students’ academic studies with practical “work experience” in a professional environment. Through these kinds of experiences, students are provided an opportunity to enhance their academic knowledge, their personal development, and their professional preparation.
    2. Practica and Service-Learning opportunities are available at SUU and administered through various departments and the Community Engagement Center on campus. Practica and Service-Learning experiences/programs are excluded from the internship policy.
    3. Any academic department may offer Internships as part of their curricula as either MAJOR 2890, 4890, or 6890. Career & Professional Development provides support for processing, counseling, advertising, referrals and serves as a resource for departments for Internship opportunities.
    4. With approval of the Department Chair, for the department in which Internship credit is being sought, departments/programs allow students to earn academic credit for Internships.
    5. Internships are developed to ensure that work assignments relate to a student’s area of interest.
    6. Internships not funded by SUU payroll will require a written agreement between the student, employer, and University that holds the University harmless for any liability issues that may arise as a result of the student’s participation in the program is mandatory.
    7. The student must be oriented to the requirements and expectations of the Internship, via the departmental internship coordinator in which the Internship is taking place, prior to beginning the work experience.
  2. Curricular Issues
    1. Internships are available to students enrolled in a degree program and who have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher and have completed a minimum of 30 undergraduate semester hours. The minimum GPA and completed semester hours are a baseline requirement. In unusual circumstances, individual departments may waive or set higher requirements to complete an Internship in their respective departments.
    2. The total amount of academic credit granted varies based on the nature of the work, the academic projects required, and various qualitative criteria as determined by the department/program. However, approximately 45 work-hours are required for one (1) hour of academic credit, which number correlates to the number of in-class hours plus time to prepare for class in a regular on-campus class.
    3. In departments allowing Internship credit to apply to major/minor requirements, no more than 12 credit hours towards a bachelor's degree may be earned through Internships. Departments may limit/determine amount of Internship credits that may count towards a student’s major/minor.
    4. Students' academic background must be suitable to the anticipated field experience to register and earn credit for MAJOR 4890. MAJOR 2890 is open in various departments and may be used as an exploratory internship option.
  3. Grading and Records
    1. Internship grades will be Pass/Fail (P/F). They will be assigned on the basis of the students’ ability to integrate academic and field experience, not merely because of faithful performance on a job. Every Internship should result in a significant written response that, although it will vary according to Departmental standards, should include not only a report on work accomplished, but analysis in the context of research. Evaluations from on-site supervisors will be considered in assigning grades.
    2. Each department will keep adequate records of student involvement in Internship activities. Records will be kept for a minimum of three (3) years after completing the Internship.
  4. Administration
    1. Department Chairs may delegate coordination of Internships to a faculty member who serves as liaison to Career & Professional Development and the employer.
    2. Departmental Internship Coordinators receive Instructional Credit Hours (ICH) according to SUU Policy 6.27. ICH may be accumulated over multiple semesters and paid either through an overload contract or release time, as negotiated between the Internship Coordinators and Department Chairs, with approval by the Dean.
    3. The Departmental Internship Coordinator is responsible for record keeping of the ICH.
  5. Waivers
    1. Upon registration of Internship credit, each student in an Internship must complete the Internship Permission Form and sign a waiver of liability (if applicable) and, in some cases, a commitment of confidentiality. Students are liable for their own behavior during the Internship experience. Further, some work experiences deal with proprietary information. Students are responsible legally, academically, and ethically for maintaining appropriate confidentiality. Departments will keep the signed waivers and related agreements.

      Students who are participating in international Internships and receiving academic credit must obtain approval and signature from the Director of Learning Abroad.
  6. Legal Contract
    1. If a legal contract between the employer and University is required, that contract is signed and overseen by the Director of Purchasing.
  7. Responsibilities
    1. Student responsibilities:
      1. express the desire to participate in an Internship by applying through the appropriate academic department/division;
      2. identify an Internship;
      3. complete an Internship orientation through the department/division sponsoring the Internships. This can be done via online, face-to-face, internship packets, etc. (The students must understand the department requirements and expectations of the Internship prior to starting.);
      4. required to complete the Internship Permission Form and the Student/Employer Contract Form, if required;
      5. develop and write learning objectives for the Internship in collaboration with the Departmental Internship Coordinator and the employer;
      6. secure the signature of the Departmental Internship Coordinator and the employer/field supervisor;
      7. return completed forms to the Departmental Internship Coordinator;
      8. complete the Internship; and
      9. submit written reports and/or evaluations as required by the department/division.
    2. Department/Departmental Internship Coordinator responsibilities:
      1. establish student and field placement qualifications for Internships (Career & Professional Development may provide guidance to departments/divisions regarding job listings, evaluations, record keeping, and site-visits.);
      2. designate a Departmental Internship Coordinator for Internships;
      3. approve learning objectives for individual Internships;
      4. monitor the Internship and mentor the intern through site visits or other appropriate evaluations. Following the criteria established in this policy, Internship rigor is monitored and maintained by the supervising Internship Coordinator under the direction of the department chair;
      5. to ensure that Internships meet departmental requirements for academic rigor, departmental Internship requirements, above and beyond those established by this policy, need to be reviewed by the department curriculum committee annually;
      6. keep a file of original student signed waivers and all other documentation relevant to individual students for a minimum of three (3) years;
      7. retain letters of agreement, notes of understanding, and other records of arrangements between the field placement agency and the department/division for a minimum of three (3) years; and
      8. assign a grade.
    3. Career & Professional Development responsibilities:
      1. create and maintain an Internship Database;
      2. prepare and present Internship presentations to classes and student organizations. Provide one-on-one Internship search sessions with students;
      3. convene and support a faculty advisory committee on Internships;
      4. provide service as a resource office for each academic department concerning Internships (Career & Professional Development will report pertinent information to appropriate departments and faculty concerning activities of employers, when the activities of the employers have the potential to affect students.);
      5. list all positions available to all qualified students, and make referrals in compliance with Federal and state laws and policies;
      6. screen positions to insure they are employment opportunities rather than business opportunities as requested; and
      7. establish relationships with employers in the community, regionally, and nationally to promote SUU students and develop Internships.
    4. Work Supervisor responsibilities:
      1. See that students are supervised/mentored by practicing professionals in the field;
      2. See that field supervisors are willing to participate in the professional mentoring and teaching role, respecting the students’ academic priorities; and
      3. Participate in a review and report on each student’s progress and performance during each work semester.
  8. University Prerogative
    1. The University reserves the right to terminate a student’s and/or an employer’s participation in an Internship program, and to remove a student from a work assignment at any time if the faculty supervisor decides, in consultation with Career & Professional Development and appropriate University administrators, that continued participation is not in the best interests of SUU and/or its students.


The responsible office for this Policy is the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. For questions about the processing of the internship permission form, contact the Registrar’s Office. For questions about what constitutes an internship, contact the Career and Professional Development Center.


Date Approved: August 12, 2005

Amended: May 4, 2007; February 1, 2013