Academic Internships

Internships are applied learning experiences related to the academic and/or career interests of the student. The student works on meaningful and substantive tasks, with ample opportunities to perform in a range of settings. While administrative tasks are part of most employment positions, no more than 25% of an intern’s duties should be spent on administrative work. The site supervisor is a professional who understands the objectives of an academic internship program and seeks to work with the student to achieve his or her educational goals.

How Students Earn Recognition for their Internships

The UMBC Internship/Co-op/Research Practicum is designed to provide intentional structure to applied learning experiences which supplements classroom instruction. The Practicum (PRAC), designated in the UMBC Course Catalog as PRAC 95/98/99, is a zero-credit, pass/fail course administered by the Career Center during all terms. The Practicum includes the establishment of learning goals, opportunities for professional development and reflection, “check-in” points for students throughout the semester, and final evaluations from both students and their supervisors. Many faculty require PRAC as a co-requisite to their own credit-bearing, internship/co-op/research courses.

Please feel free to Contact Us to discuss combining PRAC with a credit-bearing course in your department.

Academic Internship Structure

  • Academic credit is awarded by departments. The total amount of credit varies based upon the nature of the work, the academic projects, and the amount of time spent on the job. Typically, 40 hours of work are required for each credit earned though departments may set their own requirements.
  • Academic credit is not awarded simply for doing the internship. Students should also evaluate their experience via assignments from the supervising faculty member. These assignments may include journals, reports, blogs, videos, seminars, portfolios and literature reviews or other appropriate assessments developed by the faculty.
  • All UMBC students participating in internships, research and co-ops are encouraged to enroll in the Career Center Practicum (PRAC 95/98/99) to provide structure for their experience, a point of contact within the University and to maximize UMBC’s knowledge of student participation in applied learning. Students can enroll in PRAC even if academic credit is not available via their academic department(s).
  • The Career Center supports students’ ability to earn both pay and credit concurrently while in an internship. Pay recognizes the students’ contribution to their employers business operations, while credit recognizes learning.

Career Center Role

  • Provide guidance for students in navigating the internship/co-op/research process.
  • Develop internship/co-op/research opportunities.
  • Monitor the Internship/Co-op/Research practicum (PRAC 95/98/99), assign Pass/Fail grades for the practicum and provide statistical data.
  • Counsel students on applications and expectations at their workplaces.
  • Maintain Handshake as a repository for learning objective and evaluation data.
  • Communicate student performance on PRAC objectives to faculty.
  • Obtain evaluative feedback from the work-site supervisor via mid-semester and final evaluations.
  • Facilitate student opportunities for professional development and reflection.
  • Serve as a program resource for faculty.

Faculty Sponsor Role

  • Help the student develop a learning plan and set learning objectives.
  • Establish and communicate expectations around experience-specific assessments and assignments.
  • Consult periodically with the student through the internship. At least three contact points are suggested, including the orientation and final evaluation.
  • Consult, as needed, with the work-site supervisor.
  • Assign the final grade.

Work-Site Supervisor Role

  • Consult with the student in the development of learning objectives.
  • Provide on-the-job training for the student.
  • Offer frequent feedback about the students performance, including participating in any mid-semester visits or conference calls with a Career Center staff member.
  • Provide written evaluation on student performance at the end of each term.
  • Consult with UMBC faculty/staff regarding the students progress including any changes in employment status.