Getting Academic Credit for an Internship

Students have the option of pursuing academic credit for an internship. As part of an academic internship students participate in academic activities with support from a faculty supervisor.

What is an Academic Internship?

An academic internship is a planned, supervised, experiential learning project integrating study and practical work. As a credit-bearing experience it allows students to acquire and apply knowledge through direct experience in a field related to their academic program. The academic internship is intended to integrate on-site learning with the knowledge base of a related discipline. Academic integrity is assured through established department/program criteria, faculty supervision, an academic internship learning plan, and guidance from the The Piper Center for Vocation and Career. (St. Olaf Academic Catalog)

Registration Requirements & Process

Please see the following links for information on the process for pursuing an academic internship, required forms, deadlines, etc.   The process may take 1-2 weeks to complete – for urgent requests, you may need to contact the Piper Center to determine if your registration process can be expedited.

Academic Internship Policies and Registration Process

Peer Advisors in the Piper Center can also help answer your questions and guide you through the process.

Important: International Students and Internships

Credit Options

  • – For 1.0 credit, internship plus academic work must total a minimum of 160 hours (120 devoted to the internship).
    – For 0.5 credit, internship plus academic work must total a minimum of 100 hours (80 devoted to the internship).
    – For 0.25 credit, internship plus academic work must total a minimum of 65 hours (55 devoted to the internship).
    NOTE: 0.25 and 0.5-credit internships cannot be completed during Interim.
  • Special policies for Interim academic internships:
    0.25-credit academic internships may not be taken during Interim. Neither a 0.5 credit academic internship nor the sum of two 0.5 credit academic internships taken during Interim may count toward the graduation requirement that three full course credits must be earned during three separate Interims.
  • The academic internship counts as an elective credit and does not fulfill GE requirements. It can sometimes be counted toward the major or concentration (with approval from the department chair/program director).
  • Additional policies can be found in the Internship section of the Academic Catalog

Other Important Information

  • Getting credit from St. Olaf can cost money. For the most up-to-date information on the cost of each credit reach out to the Office of the Registrar.
  • Internship Grant Award: Students who are pursuing unpaid or underpaid internships during interim or summer (including academic internships) may be eligible to apply for a grant award. Please see link for details.
Benefits of Completing an Academic Internship
  • Apply your academic coursework to a real-world work situation.
  • Participate in reflection activities and receive support from a faculty supervisor to maximize learning.
  • Explore career options and obtain practical and professional experience in a field of interest.
  • Receive a P/N grade and notation as academic internship on your official transcript.
  • Network with professionals.

 Federal Guidelines for Unpaid Internships (minimum wage, Fair Labor Standards Act)

Students will find companies and organizations that offer unpaid internship opportunities. It is important that students understand why organizations offer unpaid internships, and that students do necessary research before deciding to sign on to an unpaid internship opportunity. Piper Center staff are available to help with any questions or concerns, and we strongly encourage students to talk with us before approaching an organization with questions about compensation. Students may receive pay from an organization during their internship AND register for academic internship credit through St. Olaf. A few resources students should be aware of:

  1. Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  2. Federal Guidelines for Unpaid Internships Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)