Saint Mary's University Internships

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What can I do with this major?

Congratulations on deciding to participate in an internship and best wishes as you pursue your goals!

You are embarking on a new experience in your academic career. An internship will offer you a new forum for applying theories and concepts learned in the classroom and developing new skills.

Consider this webpage the required “text” for your internship. Use it as you prepare for your internship and as a reference when you go.

What is an internship?

An Internship is a planned work experience for academic credit supervised by a qualified professional in a real work atmosphere. An internship provides eligible students an opportunity to participate in experiences that enhance academic, professional, and personal development.   This experience integrates a student’s academic and career interests with “hands-on” work experience.

While different majors approach the internship experience in different ways (for example, some majors require an internship for credit, while others allow & encourage them without requiring them), you can receive the first three credits for a letter grade (A,B,C, etc.),  or for a Pass/ No Credit Grade (P/NC).  You may earn a maximum of 17 credits toward your major.

Why would I do an internship for credit?

Benefits of an internship are vast. An internship gives you the opportunity to:

  • Apply classroom knowledge in a workplace environment.
  • Gain valuable hands-on work experience.
  • Choose specific learning objectives so that you walk away with skills in that field.
  • Test personal aptitudes, abilities, and interests in relation to your career choice.
  • Achieve personal growth by improving your interpersonal skills, confidence, and decision-making in the work place.
  • Develop reference and professional contacts (networking), which may lead to future job offers.
  • Gain job search skills.
  • Obtain academic credit.
  • Receive financial compensation (depending on site).
Am I eligible to participate in an internship for credit?


In order to participate, students must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Students must have completed 55 or more semester credit hours (Junior or Senior classification).
  • Students must have a 2.0 cumulative GPA and a 2.0 major GPA. [NOTE: Some departments require higher GPA’s to be eligible for an internship. Check with your department]
  • Students must have at least 12 credits completed in their major.
  • Students must be enrolled at Saint Mary’s at least one year prior to participating in an internship.
  • Students must submit an application at least four weeks prior to the start of the internship semester.
  • Students must obtain approval from the designated academic department internship supervisor.
What other policies and procedures apply to an internship for credit?


  • Between 1–17 credits can be obtained for an internship, depending on your department. Credit is awarded based on the following formula: 45 contact hours = 1 credit hour.
  • Your academic department determines the number of internship credits applicable to the fulfillment of an academic major and can range from 0 –17 credits. The distribution between graded and ungraded internship credits will be as follows unless specific departmental guidelines have been established: three credits graded; remaining credits will be Pass/No Credit.
  • The number of internship credits for which a student registers is based on a number of factors including: departmental curriculum requirements, duration of the internship and the intern’s time commitment, a student’s concurrent course load, the number of elective credits desired, and credits previously earned through experiential education. Seventeen credits is the maximum a student can earn for any combination of internship and field exploration experiences throughout their academic career.
  • Absolutely no retroactive credits will be awarded. Internships need to be approved and registered for prior to the start of the internship. You are not allowed to start working at your internship site until you have completed the paperwork and registered for academic credit. Any hours worked prior to registration for credit will not be counted as part of your internship.
  • Students must carry 12 credits to maintain full-time student status while on an internship. In some instances, state regulations governing financial aid mandate that students register for 15 credits.
  • Students may not be placed in internships where members of the immediate family either partially or wholly own the business. In addition, students may not be placed in an internship where a member of the student’s immediate family supervises, oversees, or evaluates the student performance during the internship.
  • To maximize the learning experience (and financial aid when applicable), students should complete registration for an internship PRIOR TO THE DROP/ADD DATE FOR THE SEMESTER. Registering after the drop/add date will incur a late registration fee of $50. Students may not request to register an internship after the midpoint of the semester or summer.
  • Internships are normally limited to one academic term or the summer period. Some special placements require longer time commitments than one term. Should an internship extend longer than the summer or an academic term, additional credit (not to exceed the 17 credit maximum) may be negotiated for the following term if the faculty supervisor approves.
  • Should early termination of an internship appear necessary, either by the intern or the sponsoring organization, you must give at least two weeks written notice to the site, faculty supervisor, and the Director of Career Services. You should remember that all students submit a Learning Contract, signed by the intern, the site supervisor, and the faculty supervisor. This form reflects a commitment to fulfill the prescribed program of internship for the entire period. The commitment should be honored except in extraordinary circumstances.
  • If the student is involuntarily terminated from his/her internship, the faculty supervisor and department chair will determine if any credit will be awarded after a discussion with the student and site supervisor.
What are the costs and other financial considerations associated with an internship for credit?


  • Fees for internship credits are the same for course work.
    • 2021-2022 (Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022)
    • *Semester Tuition $19,390
    • **Per Credit             $ 1,290
      • * “Semester tuition” charges apply to any credit load of 12 to 18 credits.
      • **The “per credit” charges apply to a credit load of 1 to 11 credits during the academic year, credits added to an existing course load of 18 credits, and to all summer credits.
  • Refer to the university catalog for other fees that may be assessed while you are off campus (registration/housing confirmation deposits, graduation fee, transcript fee, etc.).


  • Any financial aid you receive is applicable toward expenses associated with an “approved” academic credit internship. If, however, you wish to increase your aid package to accommodate unusual costs (ex. transportation), you must contact the Financial Aid Office to determine your eligibility.
  • If needed, students should pick up the FAFSA or any other form from the Financial Aid Office before leaving campus. Should these not be available before you leave campus, request that they be forwarded to you.
  • Interns are responsible for all other expenses involved in an internship: telephone, insurance (if required), housing, food, transportation, uniforms, personal expenses, etc. Interns not living on campus or taking SMUMN courses while interning are exempt from the “On-Campus Activity Fee.” Students inadvertently charged this fee should contact the Internship Office.
  • Students are not eligible to register for an internship until the Business Office has cleared prior tuition obligations. Transcripts and/or semester grades cannot be released so long as a balance remains on a student account.


    • The housing request form (available through the Residence Life Office) needs to be completed by those students who will be off-campus during an academic term and who desire campus housing for a subsequent term. This form should be submitted directly to the Office of Residence Life. Please refer to the housing assignment guidelines available through the Office of Residence Life for additional information.
    • You may be eligible for summer housing on Saint Mary’s campus provided that your summer internship is within a reasonable commuting distance from the Saint Mary’s Winona campus. Costs and restrictions apply.  Contact the Career Services Office for more details if you are interested in learning more about this housing option.
    • If you will be off campus for the entire semester you are interning and will need registration materials sent to you, you must complete a Request for Registration Materials Form (available through the Career Services Office). As soon as registration materials are given to the Career Services Office by the registrar, a university schedule and your academic profile will be forwarded to you at the address/email you provided. Your registration as an intern is not given special consideration should you miss the published deadlines. In other words, your registration “priority” is the same as if you were on campus.
    • To facilitate your registration, you are encouraged to identify courses you will need to take for a subsequent semester in conjunction with your academic advisor. Identifying one or two alternatives in the case of schedule conflicts is also recommended. Verifications of student registrations will be sent to you.
How do I find an internship for credit?

Follow this checklist as a guide to help you locate and land an internship for credit:

  • Apply for an internship just as you would apply for a job after graduation
    • Prepare your Career Search Tool Kit (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, interview prep, etc.)
    • Search for opportunities through online strategies as well as through networking
      • Online Strategies
      • Networking Strategies
        • Career Fairs (check with Career Services Office)
        • Connect with faculty, professionals in the field, family and friends
        • LinkedIn and other social media outlets
      • Connect with your faculty advisor (or department chair) to discuss an internship for credit. Be sure to include such topics as:
        • Is this a fit with my major and career plans?
        • Where have previous students from this department conducted internship in the past?
        • Would this internship for credit serve as a graduation requirement, general elective, a substitution for a course in the major?
        • Would the internship follow the university guidelines for grading (1st 3 credits for a Letter Grade (A,B,C), all credits above 3 for a Pass/No Credit grade?
        • Ask for assistance in developing the Learning Agreement for your internship.
Are there any special programs with whom SMU partners?

The Washington Center Internship Program combines real-world work experience with academic learning in a unique environment that fosters success and achievement. For one semester, students can work and earn college credits in their chosen academic field in the heart of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Internships can be arranged in government agencies or in private non-profit organizations and are available for all majors.

HECUA (the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) is a unique educational collaboration that engages students in exceptional learning opportunities. Students can choose a program that includes an internship in the U.S. or abroad for a semester, a month, or a summer. The focus of each program is social change in urban settings.

How do I register for an internship for credit?

Before you complete the Google Form to register for your internship, make sure you have the following information


  • First and last name
  • Student email address
  • Student address (while participating in the internships
  • Student Phone Number
  • Major
  • Current Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Faculty Advisor
  • # of Credits applying for
  • Total # of contact hours


  • Which semester are you planning on taking this internship for credit?
  • Name of Your Internship Site
  • Address of Internship Site
  • Will this internship experience be on site or virtual?
  • Name of Site Supervisor
  • Title/ Role of Site Supervisor
  • Email Address of Site Supervisor
  • Phone Number of Site Supervisor
  • Is Your Site Supervisor an SMU Alum?
    • If yes, what year and major
  • Are you being paid for this internship?
    • Yes, I am being paid at the hourly rate of _________
    • Yes, I am being a stipend of ___________
    • No, I am not being


  • Faculty Advisor First and Last name
  • Faculty Advisor Email Address


  • Learning Plan
    • The learning plan consists of a description of your internship, the academic component, and evaluation and grading. This MUST be done before your internship begins. Keep a copy for your records. Click here for information on formulating a learning plan and an example.
    • If your learning contract is completed in Word, you have to convert the Word file to a Google Docs. You can do so by uploading the Word file into your Google Drive and converting there or you may copy and paste information from the Word document into the Google Doc. (Make sure to adjust spacing and format that may have changed.
  • Off-Campus Study Registration Form (this is required for receiving credit for your internship EVEN IF your internship takes place on campus or virtually)
    • For step-by-step instructions on how to fill out this form, see the video below.
    • Click here to download and fill out the form.


What are the assignments and due dates for the internship?

For assignments and due dates, refer to Internship Reflection Questions.

In addition to your reflection papers, please complete a timesheet, have your site supervisor confirm the hours, and email them it to both your Faculty Internship Advisor and each time a reflection paper is due.

Prior to starting your internship, complete and submit the pre-internship assessment to assess the level of career readiness skills you currently possess.

At the end of your internship, complete and submit the post-internship assessment.

Okay, I have registered. Now, how do I make the most out of my internship?

Tips and Strategies for Internship Success

To make the most of the internship experience, follow the simple principles of PREPARE, ENGAGE, REFLECT!


  • Identify your goals – What, Why, Where, When, Who
  • Prepare your tools – resume, cover letter, branding statements
  • Start early and search for your internship like it’s a job
  • Confirm details with faculty internship advisor
  • Confirm you are registered for the internship credit
  • Get proper clothing for the work setting
  • Learn the location, directions, logistics


  • Work your internship like it’s your job!
  • Meet with site supervisor (usually on-site boss) regularly.
  • Participate in orientation, training and work assignments.
  • Consider your internship an extended job interview.
  • Plan for having a Site Visit from Faculty and/or Career Services.
  • Participate in training modules, ask questions, learn about all areas of company.
  • Stay in constant communication.
  • Get your timesheets signed and turned into your Faculty Internship Advisor and Career Services ( by posted deadlines.
  • Complete and submit your Internship Reflection Papers and submit them to your Faculty Internship Advisor and Career Services ( by posted due dates.
  • Complete any other assignments from faculty internship advisor.


  • Request an exit interview with company/ site supervisor
  • Meet with your Faculty Internship Advisor
  • Complete and submit the Post-internship Self-Assessment form.
  • Ask yourself lots of questions regarding your internship experience, including:
    • What courses helped me succeed in this internship?
    • What future courses or learning will you focus on moving forward?
    • What did you like best about your internship and why? Least?
    • How are you different now, as your internship comes to an end, compared to when you began your internship?
    • What do you wish you could have done more of? Less of?
    • What new knowledge, skills, insights, and professional terminology/vocabulary have you learned from your internship experience?
    • What are your thoughts on how the work you completed connects to your vision of your future self and career goals?
    • Document your accomplishments from your internship and incorporate the experience into your resume, Handshake, LinkedIn profile, etc. Now is the time to think about how you will present, discuss and share your most impressive accomplishments and experiences from your internship that can be used in your future interviews for another internship, a job or graduate/professional school.
    • Gather any materials you helped to create or activities you completed along with letters of recommendation that you can include in your portfolio that speak to your work and can be shared in interviews.


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