To ensure that an internship is a "guided learning experience", and thus eligible to be considered legitimate for academic credit, the following criteria must be met. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) gives us a great definition:
Criteria for an Experience to Be Defined as an Internship
To ensure that an experience—whether it is a traditional internship or one conducted remotely or virtually—is educational, all the following criteria must be met:
- The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
- The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
- There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
- There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
- There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
- There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
For-Profit internship sites offering unpaid internships may also want to review the Department of Labor's Federal Labor Standards Act here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm
In addition to these criteria above, Nazareth student interns must spend at least 10 weeks at their internship (8 weeks in the summer) AND at least 120 hours of time. Students are enrolled in a course and complete academic assignments and attend three evening seminars. Employers are asked to complete a performance evaluation with their intern at the close of the internship.
*Students earning academic credit for internships, must be at sites that are not in a private residence or attached to a personal home.