An internship is a career-related learning experience that provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain "real world" experience and to explore a variety of career fields. The academic internship program at Purchase College is designed to give students practical experience in their area of academic study or in other fields of interest.
Time commitments for on-site experience typically range between 3 and 10 hours per week during the course of the semester.
Academic internships may be paid or unpaid in accordance with the US Department of Labor’s six criteria. The Career Development Center strongly encourages for-profit internship sites to offer students compensation whenever possible in the form of pay, stipend, travel reimbursement, or housing expenses for a summer program. Please refer to the NACE Position Statement on Compensation for Internships for additional details. Credit-bearing internships are supervised both within the work setting and by a Purchase College faculty member who is knowledgeable in a discipline related to the internship.
The academic internship program is open to students who:
It is recommended that students complete their internships prior to their senior year, whenever possible. Freshman interested in securing career-related experience may find other part-time jobs or volunteer/service learning opportunities listed on our website.
Identifying internship opportunities is very similar to hunting for a job; it requires that students use several avenues to find the opportunities that best suit their interests and goals.
The Career Development Center maintains a variety of internship opportunities in many fields on Purchase JobScore, our online job and internship site. In addition, students are encouraged to use the following resources:
Listed below are some examples of recent Internship opportunities:
MTV Network; Island Def Jam Music Group; Arts Westchester; The Museum of Modern Art; New York City Opera; O, The Oprah Magazine; The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; Head Start; Hawthorne Cedar Knolls Treatment Center; USA Today; Blue Sky Studios; Family Services of Westchester; Enterprise; HSBC Bank USA; NBC Universal; New York City Ballet; New York Presbyterian Hospital; Planned Parenthood; Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture; News12 Westchester; My Sisters Place; Green Chimneys Children's Services
Registering for an internship is the similar to registering for a course, although internship registration must take place in person as a required Learning Contract describing the details of your experience must be submitted. Students should follow their Internship Learning Contract as they would a syllabus. Signatures are obtained from all parties involved to further substantiate this experience as a learning experience. Satisfying the requirements of the job description, academic project, hours, and credits is essential to successfully completing the internship.
Steps to Register for a Credit Bearing Internship:
1) Locate and secure an internship opportunity. Students should contact their Board of Study first, to see if they have recurring internship opportunities. To locate additional internships, students are encouraged to come to the Career Development Center (Second floor, Student Services Building) and visit the CDC website to view internships listed on Purchase JobScore, as well as our Resource Center's internship directories and career guides. Students can also locate and develop internships on their own with organizations in their field of interest. Students may negotiate with their internship site supervisors on the number of hours they shall work on a weekly basis.
2) Obtain a Faculty Sponsor. This is a faculty member who will determine the academic appropriateness of proposed internship. Like an independent study, the faculty sponsor will oversee the academic (credit based) component of the internship. The Faculty Sponsor will assign a meaningful academic project as a component to the internship experience, upon which they will assign a grade. Students should seek out faculty who are knowledgeable in a discipline related to their internship area.
3) Complete and submit an Internship Program Learning Contract Form during registration or add/drop. The Internship Learning Contract is a binding agreement between the student, site supervisor, faculty sponsor, and Career Development. This form is obtained at the
a) The Internship Site Supervisor: This is the person supervises the student at their internship site: they must sign the contract and include a typed internship description of students' duties to ensure the experience has sufficient merit as a learning experience (we don't want our interns simply getting coffee!) If this person should change roles during the course of the internship, the student must notify the career center with the name of the new site supervisor.
b) The Faculty Sponsor: The Faculty Sponsor will assign an academic project and indicate expected learning outcomes for the student.
*Summer Session Internships: Those students interested in summer session internships need to be aware that if the internship is taken for credit there are tuition costs per credit. Students may work more than 150 hours at the summer internship and gain experience, but will only receive up to 4 credits for the experience.
Registration must be completed by the Add/Drop period for the semester during which the internship will be taken. See the Academic Calendar online to view the current and up-coming academic calendars for registration and Add/Drop deadlines
Most academic departments limit the total number of credits any student can acquire through internships to 12 credits over 4 years at Purchase. Some departments have their own policies, so students should be sure to check with their advisor.
Number of Credits Per Internship
The number of credits awarded for internships are based on how many hours students work at their internship site over a semester. The maximum credits for any single internship per semester is 4. They are calculated as follows:
Type of Credit
The type of credit awarded for internship credits is based on the Board of Study of the student's Faculty Sponsor for the internship experience. (Example: If a student's faculty sponsor is within the Sociology department, students will receive SOC credits for their internship experience.)
Can I receive credit for an internship that has already been completed?
Credits are awarded only for experience gained during the academic semester in which students undertake their internship. "Retroactive" credits cannot be awarded for an experience that has taken place before or after the semester in which the internship is undertaken.
Can I intern at an organization for more than one semester and receive credit?
Students cannot "repeat" an internship experience: that is, they cannot receive credit for the same type of experience at the same organization for more than one semester.
EXCEPTIONS: If a student wishes to continue to intern at an organization for more than one semester and receive credit, their second internship role/description must be significantly different from their previous internship role, so that they are learning about new aspects of the position or field. New learning outcomes should be established and must be substantially different in nature or more advanced than the previous internship experience. Students should have any second internships reviewed and pre-approved by a career center staff member prior to registration.
Both the on-site supervisor and the faculty sponsor will monitor students' progress throughout the internship and offer assistance as needed. Prior to the end of the internship, the on-site supervisor will receive a performance evaluation to completed and returned to the Career Development Center. On the basis of this evaluation and the assigned academic project, the faculty sponsor will determine a grade.
All students participating in the academic internship program are required to attend a mid-semester workshop or individual meeting with one of the career counselors. This meeting is intended to allow the student to share their experience with others, network with students who may be interning in similar career fields, to provide strategies to ensure a more successful experience, and to allow for feedback from interns about their internship experiences.
All parties are expected to uphold the agreement made before the start of the semester. If absolutely necessary, some modifications can be made on occasion. Students should contact Career Development to request minor changes such as their site contact information or site supervisor name and title. If approved, the Internship Learning Contract will be updated and all parties will be notified.
After the add /drop period, students may not make major changes to their internships such as hours, credits, the sponsoring organization, or faculty sponsor. If an issue occurs that is beyond the student’s control, he/she must contact Career Development for possible special arrangements. Students are strongly encouraged to contact us as soon as possible for a potential resolution to be feasible.