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Student Internships

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.

    Prior to beginning your application, we recommend you review this instructional video.

    1. Secure an internship.
    2. Determine whether your major department offers a 198-I, 298-I, or 398-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, 298-I, or 398-I course (refer to the UCR General Catalog or talk to an instructor that will sponsor you).
      1. 198-I - Undergraduate Class
      2. 298-I - Masters
      3. 398-I - Doctoral/Post Grad
    3. Complete the Internship Request Form. This form will ask for your name and email address, your supervisor name and e-mail address, course instructor, and depending on your college, your academic advisor. Please check in with your academic advisor and course instructor regarding who should sign the Internship.
    4. Once you have completed the form, you will receive DocuSign e-mail link to access the Internship Form 198-I, 298-I or 398-I document. Complete all required fields, upload a copy of your Internship Job Description, and sign. After completing it, the document will be sent out for electronic signatures to all of the contacts you listed.
    5. Once all of the signatures are obtained, the document is completed. The Career Center will send to the Registrars Office (or Summer Sessions for the summer term) to enroll you into your Internship course.

    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. Contact your own department regarding credits. If you have the questions about the internship form process, please email careerinternships@ucr.edu.

  • Remote Internship Resources

    Internships offer learning experiences outside of the classroom that enhance your academic and career goals. Internships traditionally require student interns to be present at a physical location, however, given the circumstances of COVID-19, several organizations are exploring remote work internship opportunities for students.  


    Internship Cancellation or Postponement 

    If your internship is cancelled, contact your internship supervisor to explore the possibility of remote work. While this may not be a possibility for all internships, some internships may accommodate or have steps for beginning remote work. You may even ask if there would be an opportunity for you to add value to the organization through remote work. 


    Finding Remote Work in Handshake 

    After logging into Handshake, click on the Jobs section, then click “Filter”, scroll to the bottom and select “remote/work from home” under “Labeled by Your School.” *Please note that the “remote/work from home" label filter is only available for web users and not mobile app users.  

    Plus, here’s even more advice from Handshake on how you can continue to search for opportunities and engage with potential employers online while you are unable to come to campus in person.  


    Research Laboratories and Remote Work 

    With regard to research laboratories, as an intern, you may wish to inquire with the research facilitator about the opportunity to work remotely and conduct literature reviews, survey development, data analysis, or other non-onsite related work. 


    Project Based Work 

    There are other opportunities to gain experience if you are unable to secure a structured (work-from-home) internship. You may consider projects to which you could contribute. UCR is partnering with Parker Dewey to offer micro-internships, a new way to gain hands-on professional experiences and explore career paths. Parker Dewey's micro-internships program does NOT serve as a replacement for a structured internship or a substitute for full-time roles, but rather as a complement. 

    Disclaimer: Parker Dewey provides on-site AND remote projects to be considered for opportunities. The Career Center does NOT review these projects and is sharing this resource as an option for students. Project payment is based on the completion of the project and NOT based on hourly pay rate. Should you have any questions regarding your legal involvement with Parker Dewey, please seek legal consultation. 

    **Students with Undocumented Status MUST have DACA to participate.  Student who do not have DACA are encouraged to visit the UCR Career Center to learn about other opportunities and may also want to consult with Undocumented Student Programs by email at ana.coria@ucr.edu.   

    **International Students MUST receive work authorization before beginning any off-campus (including remote/work from home) positions in the U.S.  Please contact both the International Students & Scholars office (internationalstudents@ucr.edu) and your academic department when you receive an offer.  A contract position (micro-internship) with Parker Dewey is most likely not eligible for internship credit.   

    Click to visit Parker Dewey's UCR Portal: http://info.parkerdewey.com/ucr

    Virtual Student Federal Service Program (VSFS) 

    VSFS is an 8-month unpaid remote internship program that offers U.S. Citizen, College-level and above students the opportunity to work on a variety of topics from wherever they are.  Students can work on projects that advance the work of government on multiple fronts and can choose projects from more than 40 federal agencies. Projects include developing virtual programs, engaging in digital communications, economic and political reporting, data analysis, graphic design, and app building. The program runs from September – May of each year. The application for the next cycle will be open from July 1 – July 31 where U.S. students apply to their top three VSFS projects. Opportunities will be available on USAJOBS by searching “VSFS” or “Virtual Student Federal Service.” VSFS supervisors review applications between August 1-31 and may contact VSFS candidates for a virtual interview. As part of the interview, candidates may be asked to show examples of their expertise and work. All candidates will hear by early September if they have been offered a position. Selected interns work on their projects for ten hours a week from September through May and students may be able to obtain course credit agreement with their college, but must contact their academic department to determine whether or not they can be granted course credit for VSFS internships.  

    For more information, please visit https://vsfs.state.gov.  

    Not sure how to apply or never used USAJOBS? Please visit https://vsfs.state.gov/how-to-apply

    Internship Tips 

    Maximize Your Internship 

    Make sure the internship is fully remote and you are obtaining meaningful work experience. Discuss and establish with your supervisor clearly defined learning objectives and goals. Document your work to track your progress and strive to exceed expectations established between you and your supervisor. Be a sponge and develop meaningful connections with professionals of the organization and other interns. Go the extra mile to seek additional projects or responsibilities when you have completed your assignment. Follow-up your internship with a thank you note to your supervisor and fellow interns. Continue to stay connected with your network after the internship is completed for future opportunity referrals and letters of recommendation.  Here you can also find a link to our full “Maximizing your Internship” workshop. 


    Talk to a career specialist online with a virtual appointment to discuss your career plan or the internship and job search process. You may also sign-up for a virtual drop-in to review your resume and cover letter. Check out our Internship Handout for more information about internships.  


Need More Help?

Contact the Student & College Engagement Team

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Employers: Click to Log into Your Handshake Account

Students & Alumni: Click to Log into Handshake via CAS or (netid)@ucr.edu Account

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