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Faculty Advisor Role

The Academic Internship Program is a Special Studies Course, AIP 97/197.  As such, a faculty advisor is required for all students participating in an AIP internship. Faculty Advisors help students create a structure to investigate a particular question related to the internship, and guide students in developing a paper or project to address their research interest.

The faculty advisor plays a critical role in a student's AIP experience. Faculty advisors help students choose a final deliverable (paper or project) related to the internship, develop the paper/project over the quarter, and select appropriate readings and resources. They provide feedback on the draft and consultation through the writing process.

  • Developing and approving topic for a final deliverable (paper or project) 
    • AIP offers general guidelines for the final deliverable and a list of some potential approaches as resources for students and faculty advisors, but it is the faculty advisor who establishes the specific discipline-based criteria for the final paper or project that serves as a means of evaluation. 
    • Prior to the start of the internship, students submit an Academic Internship enrollment request through the Enrollment Authorization System (EASy) indicating the proposed paper topic or project agreed upon with the faculty advisor. The EASy request also includes a Learning Agreement describing the internship. The enrollment request is electronically routed to AIP and to the faculty advisor for approval.
  • Providing guidance during the writing process
    • Faculty advisors assist students in identifying appropriate resources and revising the paper or project as necessary.
    • AIP advises students to connect with the faculty advisor at least three times during the quarter to discuss progress on the paper/project and internship.
  • Evaluating the final paper/project and submitting a grade 
    • The faculty advisor evaluates the student's final paper/project. AIP has developed a rubric for optional use in evaluating the paper/project and assessing student learning. 
    • The faculty advisor submits a grade (Pass/No Pass) at the end of the quarter via eGrades. A Passing grade for AIP 97/197 is based on satisfactory completion of the internship hours, along with a passing grade on the final paper/project.

Time Commitment

  • The time commitment required for serving as an AIP faculty advisors varies based on the needs and expectations of the individual Instructor and student. However, feedback from past faculty advisors suggests a typical time commitment ranges from 5-10 hours over the quarter, from topic development to grading.
  • AIP advises students to connect with their faculty advisor a minimum of three times per quarter.
    • The initial meeting should ideally be in person, or via video call.
    • Additional meetings can take place in person, virtually, or via email or other electronic communication. If a faculty advisor requires more frequent meetings, that should be communicated to the student and noted in the enrollment request. 
    • In addition to helping the student brainstorm a topic for the paper, the faculty advisor should be available to help the student fine-tune their approach over the quarter and provide feedback on a draft. 

Who Can Serve as a Faculty Advisor?

  • AIP faculty advisors must have a current UC San Diego teaching appointment for the quarter of the student's internship.
  • Non-Senate faculty covered by a union contract should consult with their hiring department regarding the process and approvals needed to volunteer for special studies courses before agreeing to serve as an AIP faculty advisor. Given potential enrollment delays resulting from the time required to initiate and approve such requests, we recommend faculty in this position not agree to advise students who apply to AIP late and/or need to enroll quickly.
  • TA's and staff may not serve as faculty advisors.


  • AIP does not provide compensation for the faculty advisor role, but does notify department chairs of faculty serving in this role.
  • Beginning Winter 2021, individual sections of AIP 97/197 are created listing the faculty advisor as Instructor so this service is reflected in reports of faculty/department loads.  
  • Faculty are encouraged to include service as an AIP faculty advisor on their UCSD BioBib, and may contact AIP to request a list of students with whom they have worked.

AIP 97/197 Course Structure and Support

  • Internship Hours: Students are required to complete a minimum number of internship hours that aligns with the unit option they elect (2-12 units). Students track hours via a time log in AIP's InternLink database, and internship completion is confirmed with the internship site supervisor via a final evaluation collected by AIP staff. AIP will communicate hours and evaluation status to the faculty advisor at the end of the quarter.
  • Final Deliverable (Paper/Project): Students demonstrate their learning via a final paper or project developed under the guidance of the faculty advisor. The grade for the paper or project (P/NP) is decided by the faculty advisor.
  • Facilitated Reflection: AIP staff facilitate a reflection component of the internship course, including a mid-quarter meeting and an informational interview assignment. While not considered in the final grade, the incorporation of structured reflection aligns with best practices for experiential learning. Assignment details are communicated to students via an AIP 97/197 site in Canvas, and a general overview is found on our website.
  • AIP Counselors: Each student enrolled in AIP 97/197 is assigned to an AIP Counselor who serves as a general point person and liaison to the student, internship site, and faculty advisor. If questions or concerns arise over the course of the internship that you would like AIP's support in addressing, please contact us at to be connected with your student's AIP Counselor.

Faculty with questions about serving as an AIP faculty advisor or supporting an AIP student with whom they are working may contact AIP's main office at, or reach out to AIP Director Tricia Taylor Oliveira at