Internship Guide and FAQs

Top 5 Reason to Intern


1 Test your career choices

An internship allows you to "try-on" a career before making a long-term commitment. It can help you discover if the career you are considering is the right path for you.

2 Increase you marketability

Employers consistently rate internship experience as one of the top criteria used when selecting candidates. Employers look for students with education and experience.

3 Develop skills and apply knowledge

Apply theories and knowledge learned in the classroom to actual on-the-job experiences. Develop skills specific to your chosen industry and confidence in the skills you already possess.


4 Acquire job search skills

Create a professional resume, sharpen your interviewing skills, and practice interacting professionally. These skills are essential for finding a job or for applying to graduate school.

5 Build networking contacts

An internship is a great opportunity to build a network of contacts in your chosen career field. In addition, over half of all interns are hired by the organization where they interned!


Internship Timeline

Typically, college students complete their internships during their junior or senior year, but few realize that they have to plan ahead. It is recommended that you begin the internship search process at least six months before you plan to intern.

Some industries have application deadlines many months prior to the intended start date. The earlier you start your search, the more opportunities you will find availabl



  • Visit the Career Design Center located in Erwin Hall 116
  • Meet with a Career Advisor and possibly take a career assessment to select your major or career path
  • Explore SUNY Geneseo's academic programs
  • Join a club or participate in campus activities
  • Create a resume and cover letter


  • Meet with a Career Advisor to clarify your major and career options
  • Declare a major by the end of the academic year
  • Schedule an informational interview, internship, or job shadow a professional working in a field that interest you
  • Sign-on to Handshake, SUNY Geneseo's job board, and complete your profile
  • Search for interesting opportunities
  • Possibly complete an internship


  • Determine the field, industry, and geographic region where you would consider training
  • Inform everyone in your personal network, including family, friends, advisors,k mentors, and faculty members, that you are seeking career related experience
  • Refine your cover letter and resume
  • Practice your job interviewing skills with Big Interview or a Career Advisor
  • Attend networking events where you will meet potential organizations offering internships
  • Arrange for an informational interview within a career industry of interest, to learn more about the field, get an inside look at an organization you may want to work for, and identify potential contacts and opportunities
  • Build your professional wardrobe Complete an internship


  • Begin your internship/ job search early
    • Develop a prospective employer list and distribute your cover letter and resume
  • Refine your interviewing skills
  • Keep your Handshake profile up-to-date
  • Possibly complete another internship

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an internship?

Internships take place in a structured professional setting and are short-term supervised learning experiences. Internships have a specified start/stop date and must be monitored by a field professional. By definition, internships are credit-bearing and administered by SUNY Geneseo.

The difference between an internship vs. a part-time job
  • Completed for possible options: credit/no credit; credit and pay; pay/no pay
  • Completed for monetary purposes
  • Learning objectives reflect the goals of the student, the outcomes expected by the employer, and the requirements of the Faculty Internship Supervisor (if for credit)
  • Learn tasks of job in order to complete the work adequately but not necessarily for personal gain
  • Projects or ongoing work that is purposeful and of a professional nature
  • Assigned work that needs to be completed, not necessarily professional in nature

  • Duration/Hours: typically part-time (10- 20 hours/week) in a semester or a summer (2-3 months); occasionally extended into next semester or year
  • Duration/Hours: no specific start/end date or designated time frame
  • Supervisor serves as a mentor figure to aid the student in the learning process
  • Supervisor serves as an authority figure to whom the employee reports
  • Allows for learning of transferable skills that you do not yet possess.
  • Serves to fill a basic position within the place of employment
  • The opportunity to obtain “real world” experience in your field of interest and learn first-hand about companies, careers.


An unpaid internship in a for-profit company is considered legitimate by the U.S. Department of Labor if it meets all of six criteria. Learn more about The Test for Unpaid Interns and Students visit the U.S. Department of Labor's Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act fact sheet.

Must you do an internship for credit?

No, but we strongly recommend engaging in an internship for credit. All departmental and INTD internships will appear on your transcript. Also, registering for credit creates a formal agreement between your internship employer and SUNY Geneseo, which ensures a quality standard of experiential learning. Without credit, you are either an employee or a volunteer and minimal leverage regarding the value of the experience encountered.

How do I arrange for an internship to be for credit?

Students have the option of receiving departmental credit (XXXX 395) or interdepartmental credit (INTD 395). After securing an internship, the student should check with their department chair to confirm if the department will support the internship BEFORE attempting to register for an internship.

If the department has agreed to support the internship as a 395 course, the student should select "department" as the source of credit (otherwise choose INTD 395). Before filling out the job description and learning objectives on the form, discuss each with your academic and field internship supervisors. For more instructions on filling out the credit application, please view the Registering for Credit: Internship Guide.

When is my internship agreement submission deadline?

Students are not responsible for the time restraints posed by the internship approval process. Your initial internship agreement submission in KnightJobs should be completed before the end of Drop/Add for the semester in which you are requesting credit.


Internship course registration is dependent on the coordination of no less than four people in different departments and organizations. The internship approval process can take weeks to complete. Do not expect a fast turn-around to see your internship registration in Degree Works.

Can I receive credit for an internship I have already completed? 

No.  Internship credit must be arranged before the end of the Add/Drop period for the same semester as the internship. (Contact the Office of the Registrar for current registration and drop/add dates.)  Retroactive credit is against College and SUNY policy. You will be charged for tuition just as you would for any other class. For example, credits for a summer internship cannot be registered on a student's fall schedule or credits reduced after the formal with withdrawal date to avoid paying tuition.  Additionally, when add/drop ends, you may withdrawal from the internship course, but will remain financially responsible for the unearned credits. These policies are strictly enforced.

Can I complete a summer internship for credit?

Yes. However, you will need to register before the start of the summer session. You will be charged for tuition just as you would for any other class.  (See question, "Q.  Can I receive credit for an internship I have already completed?" for additional information.) Additionally, once the date of add/drop passes, you may request a withdrawal from the course but will remain financially responsible for the unearned credits

Can I be paid for an internship?

Yes. You can be paid and receive credit for an internship.

Must I do an internship locally?

No. Internship opportunities are world-wide. For international internships, you should check with the Study Abroad Office.

Will I need a resume to apply for internships?

Not in every case, but resumes and cover letters are required more often than not. Please visit the Career Design Center resume page for help with resume writing. We have well-trained career mentors available for resume drafting and review Monday - Friday when classes are in session. Check out our home page for drop-in hours.

When should I look for an internship?

Internships are useful when you are looking to explore career options, or want to confirm your current career interests. When you are successfully managing both the academic and social aspects of undergraduate life, you should consider doing an internship. You should apply and arrange for your internship a semester in advance. Remember that an internship is work and may take up a large portion of your schedule. Search for internships on our internship page or schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor for more help.

Should I apply only for advertised internships?

No! Often the best internship opportunities are those you create yourself. Talk with professors, classmates, friends, relatives, and alumni for internship ideas. If there is an organization for which you would like to intern, contact them proactively with your resume and cover letter, rather than waiting to see an advertisement.

 Registering Your Internship for Credit

Important Terms to Understand

Faculty Director

Faculty Director: Oversees the academic portion of your internship and grading.

Field or Immediate Supervisor

Field or Immediate Supervisor: This is your direct supervisor at the internship site. Completes an evaluation of your work and verifies hours worked. Field Supervisors do not assign the internship grade. Some Faculty Directors do weigh the feedback from your Field Supervisor into the final grade.

Departmental Internship Coordinator

Departmental Internship Coordinator: Used by some departments as a central point of contact for students.

Registration Term and Start / End Dates

Registration Term and Start / End Dates: Registration for internship credits correspond to regular deadlines set by the Registrar.

Internship Form or Learning Agreement

Internship Form or Learning Agreement: Online agreement in the Internship Registration System that is completed to receive internship credit.

Ratio of Credits to Hours

The ratio of Credits to Hours Worked: 40 hours of work per credit hour minimum.

Things to Keep in Mind

GPA Minimum

Students must have a minimum 2.75 GPA to register for internship credit unless they receive a GPA waiver from their department chair or Dean Easton(for INTD 395). It is recommended you first discuss your GPA with the chair or the Dean of Academic Planning & Advising before submitting the form. The chair or Dean can use the online form to grant you a GPA waiver. There is no GPA requirement for INTD 095 (Zero-credit Option).

Registration Deadlines

Check with your departmental internship coordinator regarding registration deadlines for the fall and spring semesters. Some departments set their early deadlines. During the summer, with advisement, you may register for any of the existing Summer Sessions. All registration deadlines apply. See the listing for Full Summer Session for registration and Drop/Add dates.



Dropping or withdrawing from internship credits is the same as any other course. If you decide to drop or withdraw, you must notify your internship supervisor, faculty director, and Rob DiCarlo in the Career Design Center (Erwin 116).


Tuition costs

Tuition costs for any departmental 395 course or INTD 395 are the same as a traditional course. Students interning in the Fall or Spring typically register for internship credits as an overload with no additional tuition charges. During the Summer and Winter Sessions, any registered credits including internship credits, carry tuition costs and applicable fees. Tuition is required for all Summer and Winter internships, including unpaid internships. It is against SUNY and College policy to receive internship credits retroactively. You may not request Fall or Spring internship credit for internships completed during Summer or Winter. The Zero-credit Option carries no tuition or fees.

Credits per Hour

Be sure that the internship schedule you create meets the criteria listed below.

Credits Hours of Work
1 credit 40 minimum hours of work
2 credits 80 minimum hours of work
3 credits 120 minimum hours of work
4 credits 160 minimum hours of work
5 credits 200 minimum hours of work
9 credits 360 minimum hours of work
12 credits 480 minimum hours of work
15 credits 600 minimum hours of work
Maximum Credit

A maximum of 15 internship credits applies to graduation requirements of 120 credit hours. Academic departments set a limit of 0-6 internship credits that can be applied to academic majors. Full time (12-15) credit internships are permitted to select seniors and juniors. Underclassmen are encouraged to do multiple internships that may accumulate to 15 credits.

Academic requirements

Department internships are assigned a letter grade based on the academic requirements outlined in your internship form. INTD  internships are graded S/U. Be sure to understand the academic requirements established by your faculty director.

Types of Internships & Credit Options

At SUNY Geneseo, students have the option of receiving departmental credit or elective credit through INTD 395. Departmental internships are generally open to juniors and seniors meeting certain GPA requirements. Students ineligible for departmental credit such as sophomores or students interning in areas unrelated to their major may receive credit through INTD 395. Below, the three credit options are summarized.

Departmental / Academic

Departmental / Academic (XXXX 395): Departmental internships managed by the academic department carry a letter grade and are variable credit. These credits may or may not count towards the academic major or minor. Students are advised to start with their academic advisor to discuss specific internship requirements and determine if credits earned will satisfy any Major requirements.

Departmental (XXXX 395)
1-15 credits (repeatable, but no more than 15 total credits)
Open to all students (> 2.75 GPA or with department chair approval)
Internship relates to academic major
The internship must be career-related
Credit is a letter grade
Credits may count towards major (limits are set by individual departments)
Requires academic work and reflective work
40 hours of work per credit hour
Students may receive no more than 15 internship credits towards 120 credit graduation requirement
Supervised by a professional at the internship site
Overseen by academic departments
May be paid or unpaid
Availability varies by department
Credit granted to internships related to students' academic major
Interdisciplinary (INTD 395)

INTD 395: Open to all students, INTD 395 is a variable credit internship course overseen by the Dean of Academic Advising & Planning and the Career Design Center. Graded as Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory (SU), INTD 395 does not satisfy Major or Minor requirements. The credits apply to the 120 credits needed to graduate.

INTD 395
1-15 credits (repeatable, but no more than 15 total credits)
Open to all students (> 2.75 GPA or with approval from the Dean of Academic Planning and Advising)
The internship may or may not relate to major
The internship must be career-related
Credit is pass/fail
Credits count towards graduation requirement of 120 credits
Requires reflective work (journals, portfolio)
40 hours of work per credit hour
Students may receive no more than 15 internship credits towards 120 credit graduation requirement
Supervised by a professional at the internship site
Overseen by the Office of the Provost and the Career Design Center
May be paid or unpaid
Available year-round (all semesters)
Grants credit to inter-departmental internships like Walt Disney World College Program or internships unrelated to academic major of the student

Step-By-Step Internship Guide

STEP 1 Understand the expectations-Consult with your faculty advisor

Before meeting or interviewing with any field supervisors, be sure to understand the expectations of your academic department. Consult with your faculty director, adviser, or department chair FIRST about your interest in completing an internship. Individual departments may have their own guidelines and standards for approving a student for an internship.

STEP 2: Consult with your field supervisor

Consultation with your with your field supervisor to understand their expectations and be informative of the internship process.  You may find it easier to complete the online internship form with your internship field supervisor present. Required fields include a minimum of three learning objectives, work schedules, internship job description, GPA, internship or field supervisor contact and e-mail address, and departmental information.

STEP 3: Complete the online internship agreement form

Log into the Internship Registration System. If you have completed an internship agreement before, the agreement will appear on the screen. This is where you will look for internship processing updates.

Otherwise, click on the “Online Internship Agreement"  in small print on the left side menu. Click on the option tab “Other” at the top of the page.

Upon your submission of the form, the Career Design Center staff will initiate the electronic signature process which varies from department to department.

STEP 4: The Internship Approval Process

Each participant in the internship process (field supervisor, faculty internship director, etc.)  reviews, accepts or rejects the internship agreement. Accepted forms automatically are sent via email to the next participant in the approval workflow process. The Career Design Center reviews rejected forms to determine the nature of the rejection. Then routes the document to be corrected and resubmitted if necessary.

STEP 5 Tracking the Agreement Progress

Once everyone in the process has electronically signed the form, the Registrar will formally register the course to your MyCourses account. You may monitor the progress of your internship form in your KnightJobs account by clicking My Account/Activity and then selecting the internship tab at the far right. Your internship form appears showing where the form is in the approval process. You will receive an e-mail when the process is complete and your course is registered.

Online Internship Agreement Form

Congratulations on securing an internship! Access the required internship form on  KnightJobs or by logging into My Geneseo.

Have an internship question not listed here?

Email Rob DiCarlo, Associate Director for Internship Opportunities, or call us at 585-245-5721 for an appointment. We are happy to get you started on the path to finding an internship!