Internship Program Information
After reading the information below, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact the
Internship Coordinator at Lisa.Lovett@colorado.edu
or 303-492-4129. Thank you!
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers internships are defined as "...one-time work
or service experiences related to the student's major or career goal. The internship plan generally involves
students working in professional settings under the supervision and monitoring of practicing professionals.
Internships can be paid or unpaid and the student may or may not receive academic credit for performing the
CU-Boulder encourages its students to participate in a wide variety of internship opportunities throughout
the year. We define an internship as a hands-on, career related experience that supplements classroom academic
experience to enhance the student’s education. Interns should participate in activities that mirror the
professional activities of their supervisors rather than performing clerical or tasks that would otherwise
be performed by assistants. Internships must include orientation, training, ongoing supervision, and evaluation.
Further clarification is below:
Orientation: How the student will be introduced to the work environment, other staff and clients, etc.
Training/Instruction: Type of training they will receive in the areas they need to do their job effectively.
Supervision: Who will they report to and receive guidance from? Please see Suggestions for Supervising Your Intern.
Evaluation: How will they be evaluated and receive feedback during and at the end of the internship? Please see our Supervisor's Evaluation of Intern Form.
As mentioned above, internships can be paid or unpaid, for credit or not for credit. If you are going to pay your
intern you must pay them at least minimum wage for the hours they work.
If you want to host an unpaid internship the position must meet the six-prong definition of a
"trainee" to be in
compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Supreme Court has held that the words "to suffer or permit to work," as used in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
to define "employ," do not make all persons employees who, without any express or implied compensation agreement,
work for their own advantage on the premises of another. Whether trainees or students are employees of an employer
under the FLSA will depend upon all of the circumstances surrounding their activities on the premises of the employer.
If all of the following criteria apply, the trainees or students are not employees within the meaning of the Act:
- The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which
would be given in a vocational school;
- The training is for the benefit of the trainees or students;
- The trainees or students do not displace regular employees, but work under close supervision;
- The employer that provides the training receives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees
or students and, on occasion, his operations may even be impeded;
- The trainees or students are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period; and
- The employer and the trainees or students understand that the trainees or students are not entitled to wages for
the time spent in training.
If your internship is unpaid we will require that the student receive academic credit OR fill out an Internship
Learning Plan with Career Services to ensure the student is covered by the University's Workers' Compensation
Insurance. For more information on these forms please go to the Internship Forms Link or the PAID vs.
Here's an interesting article written from a student's perspective, if you are
considering not paying your intern:
Your Unpaid Internship Ate My Social Mobility.
For more information on unpaid internships please check out these articles:
No Pay, No Gain?
and Another Class Action Lawsuit for Unpaid Interns
Vague internship descriptions leave the student guessing about how they might achieve their internship goals and
objectives. The more a student can see his/her internship objectives reflected in the job description, the better
decisions they will make when applying to those positions.
From a student's perspective, the objectives for an internship are to explore career fields, enhance
skills, expand their network and build on their resume.
Therefore we encourage you to include as much detail as possible in the body of your job description to
address these objectives.
Examples of what should be included are:
- Day to day duties, special projects, and equipment they will work on
- Types of clients they will work with, people and concepts they will be exposed to
- Description of the work environment (i.e. fast-paced, outdoors, etc...)
- Conferences or meetings they will be invited to attend
- Qualifications you wish them to have (i.e. analytical ability, knowledge of software, prior experience,
particular coursework, etc...)
More...Internship Program Information (including On -the Job Expenses, Hours, and Duration)