Internships are work experiences that provide students with practical knowledge in a particular field or area of study. They are a type of hands-on, experiential learning that occurs in a professional work setting for a specified period of time.
Students are assigned an on-site supervisor who creates specific learning objectives to be achieved throughout the duration of the internship. During an internship, students are able to apply classroom knowledge and skills to the work place while learning additional career-related skills and competencies.
Internships may be paid or unpaid, but MUST follow the U.S. Department of Labor's Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act. We strongly encourage employers to arrange, at minimum, some kind of stipend for an unpaid internship to cover students travel and lunch expenses. This will help increase your applicant pool.
Across degree levels, the average hourly wage ranges from $14.47 for first-year associate degree students to $32.35 for those pursuing doctoral degrees. (See Figure 1 of NACE’s Intern Salaries Up Across All Degree Levels, Years).
Academic credit for an internship can only be arranged through the student's academic department and is subject to the rules and approval of their specific academic program.
Some students choose to work with their faculty advisor to receive academic credit for their internships while other students choose to participate in an internship simply for the experience. For students choosing to receive academic credit, they will let you know the appropriate paperwork that needs to be completed.
Please note: Students who do internships for credit must pay for that credit so consider offering flexible hours for your unpaid interns so that they can secure a part-time job to cover their expenses.
The first step to reaching the greatest number of students is to post your internship in Handshake, a centralized job and internship database serving Mason students.
University Career Services also hosts many Signature Events and career-related events each semester to help you connect with students on campus about your opportunities. In addition, you can Build Your Own Event (BYOE). To discuss a more tailored recruiting plan, set up a Recruiting Consultation with your Industry Advisor.
Developing an internship?
We recommend reviewing job descriptions of current employees to determine what type of work can be expanded or augmented. Then develop a thorough job description for the intern, ensuring that 50% or more of the intern's tasks are career-related. Involve the manager or mentor who will supervise the student in developing learning objectives and clear goals for achievement.
- Learning Objectives Guide (PDF)
- 15 Best Practices for Internship Programs (PDF)
- U.S. Department of Labor: Internship Programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act (PDF)
Hiring Interns on F-1 Visa
- Positions must be integral to the student's program of study
- Compensated positions require proper work authorization through University Career Services and the Office of International Programs and Services