What is an internship?

An internship is an opportunity that combines learning with work and offers a unique experience for career exploration. The essential component is that as you are working, you have structured and intentional objectives to learn about a career field.

Types of internships

Internships can be full- or part-time, short- or long-term, paid or unpaid, for credit or not for credit, self-directed or mentor-led, or any combination thereof. Some employers have formal internship programs while others only offer internships on an informal basis.

In addition, faculty-supervised research, high-impact student jobs, client-centered projects, service learning activities, studio-based projects, independent studies, student teaching and leadership roles with student organizations have many of the attributes of a traditional internship, and can be just as valuable to a prospective employer.

Why you should pursue an internship

  • Explore potential careers
  • Learn how to conduct a job search
  • Build work-related skills
  • Experience a "3-month interview"
  • Network with people in your field
  • Become more marketable for your future job search

Before you begin your internship search, you should reflect on:

  • Your interests, strengths, skills and experiences
  • The skills you hope to gain or refine through an internship
  • The types of careers that interest you
  • Other career choices that may be available to you

How can you create your own internship?

  • Search for available opportunities on Handshake.
  • Interview with employers who recruit at Miami.
  • Contact employers in particular fields or companies that interest you.
  • Network with friends, relatives, alumni, faculty.
  • Participate in informational interviews.

The Requirements to participate in a Internship

Based on University Policy, internships hours cannot include Miami student employment. 

  • Full- or part-time Miami University student, actively taking classes
  • Have an updated resume on file
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative 2.2 GPA and a 2.5 or higher in the major
  • Have completed 12 credit hours, with at least nine hours in the technical skill area in which you are seeking a co-op/internship

Credit Hours

6 credit hours are the maximum available from CSPD. Students must complete the required hours within their enrolled term, further, retroactive credit for an internship is not permitted. All required assignments must be completed by all students enrolled in the internship course, no matter the number of credit hours you are seeking. Credit hours are determined by hours worked not assignments completed.

  • 0 credit - Less than 37.5 hours per semester or for students who do not want/need academic credit hours, but still want the experience listed on their transcript (often completed during summer term).
  • 1 credit - minimum of 37.5 work hours per semester
  • 2 credits - minimum of 75 work hours per semester
  • 3 credits - minimum of 112.5 work hours per semester
  • 4 credits - minimum of 150 work hours per semester
  • 5 credits - minimum of 187.5 work hours per semester
  • 6 credits - minimum of 225 work hours per semester

Registration Information

Students may register for internships for the fall, spring, or full 15-week summer term, Sprints Q & W are also available. Credit must be earned in the academic term when the student actually worked at the internship.

Based on University requirements, the deadline to enroll in the 340-full-term course is no later than 5 days after the first day of classes. For sprint courses, the deadline to enroll is no later than 1 day after the start of the sprint course.


This course is pass/fail, however, there are assignments and requirements to complete in order to pass the course.

The following steps should help you navigate the internship process

The Search

  1. Join Handshake to begin the search process.
    1. No single search resource captures all the internships that are available to you.
    2. Many internships are available only through networking, job shadowing and informational interviews.
    3. Utilize the internship search timetable checklist to support you through your individual search.
    4. Contact Career Services for further assistance with your search.
  2. Once you have been offered an internship opportunity AND accepted the position, complete the Internship Agreement form. Once this form has been approved by the employer, a Career Services staff member will enroll you in the proper Internship course.


  1. A two-page Leaning Plan Reflection paper will be due at the end of the Internship term
  2. A revised resume will also be due at the end of the term
  3. The Employer Evaluation form is also due at the end of the term
  4. All assignments are required to receive full-credit for the 340 internship course

Here are some Best Practices to consider when planning your Internship Search

  • Have a target list of employers. Conduct informational interviews, job shadow, and conduct research. Network your way into organizations using LinkedIn, your peers, and any other available networking opportunities.
  • Understand your personal brand. Know what you are offering to a potential employer (skills and knowledge specific to the type of work you are seeking).
  • Volunteer. If you find an organization whose mission aligns with your personal values, volunteer with them. Volunteering is a fantastic way to find a sense of purpose, and make valuable networking connections.
  • Create an elevator pitch that sounds like you. 30-45 seconds describing your skills, experience, passion, and future plans. 
  • Communicate your plans and details of your search with the people you know. The more people who know you're looking, the more people that are empowered to help find connections or opportunities for you.