What is an internship?
Students attending Mercyhurst College have the opportunity to participate in internship experiences. Internships are the combination of classroom and on-the-job work organized in an educationally sound manner and coordinated so that experiences in business, industry, government and various public agencies become an integral part of a student's college education. Students who participate in the internship program usually come away from their experiences more professionally and personally developed.
By meeting all the departmental requirements for an internship, students can earn up to 12 hours of academic credit toward graduation (at the discretion of the academic department).
Kinds of internships
Students are hired for internships on a full-time or part-time basis with an organization.
For full-time internships, with approval from the academic department, the student can be placed across one, two, or three academic terms. Full-time placements typically are 10-30 weeks in length. Because the student is not taking classes, they can be placed locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally. Only students with Junior or Senior standing are eligible for this type of placement. Sophomores are eligible with proven academic performance and approval from their department.
For part-time internships, students are hired on a part-time basis with an organization. Part-time placements typically are 10-15 weeks in length, and is limited to the Erie area.
During the summer, a student may choose to work full or part-time with an organization. The number of hours worked per week during the summer is dependent on the employer needs and the need of the student.
Grading options for internship experiences are "pass" for those students doing satisfactory work; and "fail" for unsatisfactory work performance. Students taking a 3-credit internship course must complete 200 hours of on-site work as well as assignments given by the coordinator. Those completing a 6-credit internship course must complete 400 hours of on-site work in addition to the internship assignments.
How internships work
The student, on-site supervisor, and the internship coordinator establish measurable learning objectives that internship students must meet or exceed during their on-the-job experience in order to receive academic credit. Once students are placed in an internship assignment, the coordinator establishes assignments, which aid in the learning/reflection process, for the student to complete throughout his or her time at the site. The coordinator uses an employer evaluation form to determine if students are successfully combining the theory of the classroom with practical experience.
What are the benefits?
Students get to blend their acquired classroom theory with unique practical experiences. They gather an understanding of the professional work world. They solidify invaluable networking contacts, and learn how to utilize proper networking media. They gain specific experience to be incorporated into a resume and an interview. Finally, students may be able to request from their immediate supervisor a letter of recommendation that will strongly support their application for future full-time employment.
Contact the Career Development Office at (814) 824-2426 for more information about internships.