School of Integrative Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Internship FAQs

What does the internship class entail and how do I enroll?

The internship is a 3-way partnership between the student, his or her on-site work supervisor, and a faculty mentor who assigns the student a syllabus with internship class assignments via Blackboard. Registration is a controlled enrollment process--meaning you will be given permission to enroll once you have submitted your internship application, and it has been approved.

How early can I start my internship and when do I need to be finished?

You will receive internship credit for the number of hours worked during the semester in which you are enrolled in the internship course. You may work at your internship before and/or after the semester, but those hours will not count for credit. Only hours worked during the official semester calendar will be counted towards credit. Check Mason’s online calendar for semester start and end dates.

Can I do part or all of my internship over Mason's winter break?

Yes, however this means you must have your application approved and register for the credits before the university closes for the winter holidays.  The earliest day you can begin is the day the university opens for business after the New Year holiday, and you must discuss your intention to do a winter break internship with the internship coordinator first.  

Can my internship span more than one semester?

Yes, but each internship is considered to be a "class," so it must start and end during the dates of the semester in which the student is enrolled.  If you wish to continue the internship into the following semester you must complete and submit for approval a new internship packet and outline new learning objectives. Additionally, your responsibilities cannot be the same as they were the prior semester. You must have new learning experiences to receive credit for a new (second) internship. If you are unsure, contact the internship coordinator.

How will my internship be graded/assessed? 

You will be given a grade based primarily on the progress you made toward fulfilling your stated learning objectives and how you conveyed this progress in your assigned writing and other internship class projects. While the work you do on-site is integral to your assignments, you will not be primarily graded on the actual day-to-day tasks you accomplish. However, your on-site supervisor will complete an assessment of your work at the end of your placement. This assessment will factor into your final grade calculation.

What are recognized internship sites?

Almost any organization is appropriate for an internship: private corporations, non-profits or NGOs, government agencies, schools, art galleries, medical offices, etc. As long as you are working on substantive, on-site projects that allow you to apply your academic knowledge and work toward fulfilling your pre-approved learning objectives, the internship site is valid.

Can I intern at a site outside the immediate area? 

Yes. Although many students intern in the Northern Virginia/D.C. metropolitan area, students may intern all over the country and the world. INTS 290/390/490: Internships through the School of Integrative Studies are all on-line courses, so students are able to submit their class assignments electronically to their faculty mentor.

Can I be paid as an intern?

Yes, but bear in mind most internships are unpaid. However, if you are fortunate enough to find a paying internship, you may certainly accept it.

Can my current job count as an internship?

No. The purpose of an internship is to seek new challenges and experiences. Students should establish specific learning objectives and identify those organizations that provide structured opportunities for achieving their goals. While many Mason students are doing meaningful, important work with good organizations, the expectations in an established employer-employee relationship are different from the spirit and requirements of an internship.

Does the School of Integrative Studies place interns?

No, we do not place students in internships; you must find your own site. However, we do have an internship web resource list that might help you in your search.

How can I find the right internship?

  • Start by analyzing your skills and interests, academic and career goals. Draft your resume and ask friends and family or Mason’s Career Services to critique it for you.
  • Watch for internship opportunities sent to you via email.
  • Think about what kind of experiences you want. What kinds of organizations sound intriguing? What are your constraints? When can you begin and end? Any geographical limitations?
  • Gather information. Be especially alert for the serendipitous opportunities that come your way.
  • Narrow your search to a manageable number of organizations, and rank them according to some criteria (e.g., your favorite, ideal locations, stipend available, etc.). Try to get complete information on what each agency does, whether or not they have a formal internship program, and any application requirements.
  • Develop a plan for contacting each agency, either by phone or letter. Review your resume to be sure it "speaks" to the agency or the internship requirements.
  • Follow-up! This shows your level of interest and commitment. 
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