Academic Internships Office

Community partners are a vital part of the internship experience. Community partners provide valuable hands-on training and mentorship for student interns that enhance their academic experience, engage students in career exploration, and prepare students for post-graduation success.

Community partners also benefit from being internship partners. Some benefits include: 

  • Increasing an organization’s visibility and strengthening connections with CSULB.
  • Creating a pipeline of talent and reducing recruitment costs.
  • Enhanced perspectives, specialized strengths, and skills sets.
  • Fostering leadership and mentoring skills with current employees.

An academic internship is a high impact learning experience that engages students in meaningful opportunities that integrate knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting.  A high-quality internship includes collaborative community partners that provide mentoring, to help students achieve personal and professional growth, and skill development to gain a competitive advantage in the global workforce. Student interns are enrolled in a concurrent internship course which includes goal setting, reflection, and discussion.  

Internship Standards  

We follow the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the Fair Labor and Standards Act internship standards.

An internship should include:  

  • A learning experience with a real-world opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or replace the work that a regular employee would routinely perform. 
  • Learned skills and knowledge that are transferable to other employment settings. 
  • A defined beginning and end that is mutually agreed upon and consistent with institutional sponsor guidelines and schedules. 
  • A position description with clear responsibilities and required/desired qualifications. 
  • Clearly defined learning objectives/goals supportive of the student’s academic program goals and institutional requirements. 
  • Direct supervision by a professional(s) with relevant expertise and educational and/or professional experience who provides productive feedback, guidance, and the resources and equipment necessary to successfully complete the assignment. 

The Test for Unpaid Interns and Students:

  • The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee—and vice versa. 
  • The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions. 
  • The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit. 
  • The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar. 
  • The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning. 
  • The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern. 
  • The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship