What is an Internship and How Will It Benefit Your Future Career?

Internships offer learning experiences outside of the classroom. They enhance your academic and career goals. An internship can help you "test drive" a possible career path. An internship is the perfect way to connect your academic experience with the professional work world.

It allows you to gain valuable exposure to the workplace, provides the opportunity for skill development, and gives you a competitive edge in the job search. Internships are available to all students, undergraduate and graduate, that are in good academic standing.

In addition, internships:

  • Give a competitive edge in employment after graduation
  • Help in career decision-making
  • Facilitate networking contacts
  • May provide financial assistance
  • May allow you to receive academic credit
  • Teach effective job search, resume writing and interviewing techniques

How Do I Get Started?

For a full understanding of the Internship Program we suggest attending the "Nuts & Bolts of Internship" workshop. A  Virtual Workshop is also available if scheduling conflicts prevent you from attending. The workshop will include: the benefits of an internship, how to locate an internship using UCR Handshake and other resources, how to document your experience, how to receive academic credit if desired, and how to obtain evaluations or recommendations from internship employers. Also download the internship handout.


  • How to Locate Internship Positions

    The Career Center maintains Internship listings in UCR Handshake, which includes paraprofessional, volunteer and paid work opportunities for students. Positions are listed year-round, and many are available for the summer.

    To access the database, log into UCR Handshake

    In addition to UCR's Internship database, there are a number of other resources and methods available for students to obtain internship positions.  These other methods include other internship listingsLinkedIn's internship listing, networking, books from the Career Center's resource room, professional associations, career fairsCareer Center events, and other job search strategies.

  • Internships vs. Cooperative Education

    There are two major types of experiential learning: Internships and Cooperative Education.  At UCR, the term "internship" is used in a general way to include both of these.


    These are generally short-term, voluntary or paid, hands-on learning experiences. Internships may be part-time, 10 to 20 hours per week during the academic year to allow students to continue with their course work during the internship. Summer internships may be full-time (40 hours/week) or part-time, and may be local, nationwide, or international.

    Cooperative Education (Co-ops)

    These are similar to internships in that they provide students with work experience that enhances their academic progress and increases their employability after graduation. Co-ops are always paid positions that typically last 6 months or longer. Students may alternate periods of full-time work with full-time classroom study, or they may work part-time for two or more academic quarters while also attending classes.

  • Suggested Documentation

    Whether students obtain paid or volunteer internships by themselves (self-placed), through UCR Handshake, or by other means, we highly encourage students to document their internship within the first 10 days of being hired. This is the best way to ensure a solid understanding of the internship supervisor's expectations and to protect yourself.

    The documents include one of the following: 

    •  Learning Agreement (if you are not seeking academic credit), or
    • Academic Credit form (198-I/298-I/398-I)


    The Learning Agreement or the Academic Credit form must be completed at the beginning of the internship experience, whereas evaluations are to be submitted near the end or afterward. All forms are available from the Career Center. 

    For additional information, contact the Internship Coordinator in the Career Center at 951-827-3631.

  • How Do I Receive Academic Credit?

    At UCR, students have the choice of applying for academic credit or doing the internship simply for professional development.

    To receive academic credit for an internship, the student must complete the following steps at any point prior to the quarter for which they are seeking credit, or up to two weeks after the start of the quarter.

    1. Secure an internship.
    2. Determine whether your major department offers a 198-I or 298-I course and if your internship meets eligibility for credit within your major.  If not, work with your academic advisor to identify a related department that offers a 198-I or 298-I course (refer to the UCR General Catalog).
    3. Complete the Internship Placement Form. This form will ask for the name and e-mail address of your supervisor, course instructor, academic advisor, dean, and chair. Please check in with your academic advisor and course instructor regarding who should sign the 198-i form. Some departments allow for one individual to sign on behalf of others.
    4. Once you have completed the form,  you will receive an e-mail linking to the electronic 198-i document. After completing it, the document will be sent to all of the contacts you listed in the form above, who will sign the document electronically.

    5. Once all of the signatures are obtained, the completed document will be sent to you and the Career Center will upload it to the Registrar’s Office. 

    6. After the document has been received by the Registrar’s Office, you will be enrolled in the course by their department.

    To receive academic credit from UCR during the summer, students must register for Summer Session by submitting the Special Studies Application form (may be downloaded from the Summer Session website). 

    Please note that the Career Center has no academic authority.  Academic credit is granted and administered by the academic departments.

Need More Help?

Contact the Student & College Engagement Team

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