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Guidelines for AIP Internships

AIP internships are integrated into the UC San Diego curriculum. The Academic Internship Program is a course - students pay tuition, enroll in the course for academic credit, write a research paper which is evaluated by UCSD faculty, and earn a grade at the completion of the internship. It is the ability of an internship site to provide a foundation that will further academic learning, growth, and skill development that validates and makes the internship credit-worthy.

Internship criteria

An academic internship is first and foremost a learning opportunity for the student. All internships posted and awarded credit through UCSD’s Academic Internship Program must meet the following criteria:
  • Interns must be professionally supervised, and receive ongoing direction, oversight, and feedback from a professional with expertise in the field.
  • Supervisors work with interns to establish clear learning objectives for the internship and provide opportunities for interns to work toward achieving their objectives.
  • Interns are given substantive, hands-on projects or assignments.
  • "Grunt" work and menial office tasks must be avoided or kept to a minimum, including tasks like filing, photocopying, preparing mailings, making deliveries, running personal errands, etc. Repetitive tasks that do not contribute to a student's learning should also be kept to a minimum.
  • Interns should be exposed to the "big picture" of how the organization and industry operate. Participation in meetings and events, and opportunities to interact with individuals representing various levels and roles within the organization assist with achieving this goal.

 Additional guidelines:

  • Interns may not participate in telemarketing, cold calling, or soliciting.
  • Interns must be supervised by a professional in the field, not by peers. Students should learn from the supervisor/mentor, rather than serve as “resident experts”.
  • The internship must be a new learning experience for the intern. Students requesting credit for internships at organizations with which they have previous experience must show a substantive change in responsibilities from one quarter to the next.  Students may not work with the same organization for more than three quarters.
  • Internships are short-term learning experiences for a pre-defined timeframe. AIP does not award credit for jobs or training programs.
  • If an internship is unpaid, this should be made explicitly clear to the student, and the internship should adhere to Fair Labor Standards Act guidelines.
  • The selection criteria for an intern are eligibility and qualifications without discrimination due to race, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation.

Fair Labor Standards Act

The Academic Internship Program strives to provide university oversight of unpaid internships in a way that meets the guidelines put forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act. We are committed to ensuring that internships are envisioned, developed, and upheld by our internship partners as meaningful learning experiences that build on the UCSD educational experience and yield new knowledge and skills for our students.

Additional Resources