Columbia College encourages its students to participate in internship programs in order to gain practical real world career-related experience within a professional setting. Internships allow students to explore professions, develop career-related skills and abilities while gaining valuable work experience. The purpose of this policy is to outline basic requirements for earning academic credit for internship experiences.
This policy applies to all undergraduate students at Columbia College.
Internships are in-depth, practical learning experiences wherein students are placed in various agencies and/or organizations compatible with their academic majors and educational interests. Internships are supported by the College’s academic mission and by the belief that theoretical knowledge is enhanced by and through the application of that knowledge.
As learning experiences, internships are coordinated by faculty working in conjunction with a designated supervisor in the agency or organization. A formal contract is developed in cooperation with the student, the faculty member, and the agency supervisor. This contract defines the nature and objectives of the learning experience and the responsibilities of each party involved. Specific requirements vary with the academic programs and agencies involved.
Internships are available in the junior or senior academic years. Two course numbers are assigned for internships: 399 and 499. Students enroll for credit during the term in which they undertake the internship. They may enroll for credit up to a maximum of 12 semester hours at each level; however, some departments may limit internship hours (see course descriptions for information on hours limitation). Some programs require a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for enrollment in internships.
Students are expected to work in an agency or organization for a minimum of 45 clock hours for every semester hour for which they enroll. In other words, if a student enrolls for an internship worth 9 semester hours, the student is expected to work 405 clock hours during the term in which enrollment takes place.
Evaluation of student performance is made by the faculty member and the agency supervisor. The successful completion of contracted papers, projects and tasks must occur before credit is given. If a student is dismissed from an internship position by the agency for legitimate reasons (a situation tantamount to being fired), the student fails the course. However, if a situation beyond the student’s control results in that student’s inability to complete the course, then the student must initiate action through the faculty member to find an alternative resolution.