Academic Internship Options and Policies

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.

Credit Options and Required Number of Hours

Credit Options (*special policies for Interim)

  • 1.0 credit: internship plus academic work must total a min. of 160 hours (120 devoted to internship).
  • 0.5 credit: internship plus academic work must total a min. of 100 hours (80 devoted to internship).
  • 0.25 credit: internship plus academic work must total a min. of 65 hours (55 devoted to internship).*For Interim: 0.25-credit academic internships may not be taken during Interim. Neither a 0.5credit 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.
International Students and CPT
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Requirement:
    • If you will be physically in the U.S. while completing part or all of the internship (even if the employer is outside of the U.S.) you are required to register for academic internship credit and receive CPT authorization.
    • If you will be living outside of the U.S. for the entire duration of the internship, then you are not required to register for an academic internship and receive CPT.
  • CPT Requirement: Internship Experience Must Relate Directly to Your Major
  • Start and End Dates for International Students who need CPT
    • Start date – the earliest possible start date is the day after the last day of the previous semester.
      For Summer 2023 the earliest start date is May 24.
    • End date – the latest possible end date is the day before the start of the next semester.
      For Summer 2023 the latest end date is Sep 6.
    • The offer letter from the employer that is submitted for CPT will need to match the start and end dates that are submitted in Handshake.
  • Summer Academic Internships Requiring CPT
    • If you are registering for a Summer internship and need CPT authorization you are encouraged to register for the Summer 2023 Internship & Reflection Seminar (ID 295), rather than a “traditional” academic internship. Tuition for ID 295 will be covered by St. Olaf for students who need CPT.
    • See here for more information about the Summer 2023 Internship & Reflection Seminar
  • Faculty Supervision (if you register for a “traditional academic internship”
    • *International Students: Your faculty supervisor must in your major field of study.  If you are a double-major, the faculty supervisor should be in the major most closely aligned with the internship.  (Note: Faculty cannot be only in your concentration or emphasis – they must also be in your major department.)
Registration Deadlines
  • Deadlines to register:
    • Fall: September 16
    • Interim: December 14
    • Spring: February 14
    • Summer: June 9
      *It may be possible for students to register for an academic internship after a deadline, but it is possible that the experience will take longer to get approved and that the Registrar’s Office may charge a Late Add Fee
      **Summer registration will not be allowed after July 1st
General Requirements
  • The majority of the hours need to take place during the semester in which the credit is assigned. It is not possible to register for an academic internship if the majority of the hours take place during the extended holiday break.
  • The academic internship counts as an elective credit.
  • Academic internships fulfill the Ole Experience in Practice (OLE) General Education (GE) Requirement. This GE will automatically be added by the Registrar’s Office after the completion of the semester if the students receives a P (passing) grade.
  • Academic internships can sometimes be counted toward the major or concentration (with approval from the department chair/program director). If you intend for your internship to fulfill a requirement in your major/emphasis/concentration, please talk to the Dept. Chair or Program Director, who can then submit a future exception of you in DegreePath.
  • Students will be billed summer tuition rates for 0.25, 0.5 or 1.0 credit-bearing summer internships.  Summer tuition costs can be accessed HERE.
  • First-year students are generally not eligible to register for an academic internship until the summer after the first year (exceptions require special approval).
  • Institutional Review Board: If your academic internship will involve research activities with human subjects, be sure to see the Institutional Review Board’s website for steps to have your research project reviewed well in advance of the start date of your internship.
  • Additional policies can be found in the Internship section of the Academic Catalog
Register for a Traditional Academic Internship
  1. Secure an internship
    Utilize the Piper Center to learn about internship opportunities.
  2. Identify and meet with a faculty supervisor
    The faculty supervisor is responsible for outlining, overseeing and evaluating academic activities associated with the internship.  Together you will agree upon the the academic requirements necessary for credit.  Students are encouraged to seek out faculty in their major.  (St. Olaf staff members, including assistant coaches, do not have faculty status, are therefore not eligible to serve as faculty supervisors.)
    Discuss your internship, preparation, and goals. Work with your faculty supervisor to identify specific academic requirements.  You will need to enter this information during the application process (Ongoing Evaluation/Reflection and Integrated Project/Closing Activity.)
    *International Students: Your faculty supervisor must in your major field of study.  If you are a double-major, the faculty supervisor should be in the major most closely aligned with the internship.  (Note: Faculty cannot be only in your concentration or emphasis – they must also be in your major department.)
  3. Credit Level (either 294 or 394)– If it is your first academic internship you should choose 294.  Typically, 394-credit includes a higher-level involvement or intensive research and a prior 294-level internship. 394 must be approved by the faculty supervisor.
  4. Identify Start and End Dates for the evaluation period of the internship
    Start and end dates should typically fall within the first and last day of classes for the term. 
    Domestic Students: You may engage (work) in the internship outside of these dates.  The dates you enter only reflect the period of time for which you will be evaluated for credit and minimum hours.
    – International Students: Special policies regarding start and end dates. See “International Students” section (above).
  5. Request an Experience” in Handshake (and follow the instructions)
  6. Approval Process and Credit Registration
    After you request an experience your information will be reviewed by a representative in the Piper Center who will verify the information and initiate the electronic approval process.  Your faculty supervisor and site supervisor will then receive emails requesting that they approve of your experience.
    After your site supervisor, faculty supervisor, and the Piper Center have approved, the Registrar’s Office will automatically be notified and add your academic internship to SIS and send you an email confirmation.
    – International Students: Megan Carmes in the Taylor Center will be an additional approver.
Benefits of Completing an Academic Internship
  • Apply your academic coursework to a real-world work situation.
  • Work with both a faculty and site supervisor to maximize learning.
  • Explore career options.
  • Obtain practical and professional experience in a field of interest.
  • Receive a P/N grade and notation as academic internship on your official transcript.
  • Earn the Ole Experience in Practice (OEP) GE
  • Network with professionals.
Additional Questions

If you have questions about registering for an academic internship:  Email Marietta Ruppe <ruppe2> and Nate Jacobi <jacobi> in the Piper Center or Use Handshake to schedule an appointment (designate the type of appointment as “Academic Internship Review”).