How Do I Get College Credit for My Internship?

Updated: July 26, 2023

Embarking on an internship is an exciting step towards your future career. But when it comes to earning college credit for your internship, things can become a bit tricky. Every college and university handles this differently, and the policies can often be unclear. Understanding the nuances and frequently asked questions around earning college credit for internships can equip you with the necessary knowledge to make the most out of your work experience. In this guide, we’ll delve into the essentials you need to know about securing credit for your internship.

For students seeking college credit for their internships, there can be a lot of unknowns. Colleges vary widely in their approach to providing internship credit, so it’s important to know the right questions to ask and the right people to go to. Read on for our college credit FAQ.

How do I know if an internship offers credit?

Generally, companies will state whether college credit is available in the original internship posting. An internship that provides credit towards graduation typically combines academic coursework with relevant work experience. If an internship is clerical or mechanical, you probably won’t be able to get college credit for it. And some colleges don’t give credits for any internship, or they only do so for students in their junior or senior year. If the internship posting doesn’t mention credit, feel free to reach out to the hiring manager to inquire about whether they’d be willing to work with you and your school.

What should I consider if I want college credit?

First things first: Check with your professor or department chair to find out if your college accepts academic credit. Your employer cannot decide whether you get credit—they can only agree to support you if your school accepts it. An internship for college credit requires cooperation between the company and an academic/faculty sponsor to oversee the internship. This ensures that the internship experience meets certain academic standards, which vary by school.

How is the number of credits determined?

Some internships provide .5 credits, while others provide ten. Usually, it depends on how many hours you put in at your internship. However, some schools take a more subjective approach, instead looking at your newfound knowledge and skills to evaluate the number of credits. You’ll want to check with your Career Office and academic advisor to find out how your school determines the number of credits. You’ll also want to follow up on how many internship credits your college or department will accept throughout the entirety of your college career. Some schools or majors limit the number of internship credits to ensure that you leave room for all the required academic courses. Take your official internship credits at a company that will do the most to advance your career goals and strengthen your resume.

Do I have to pay for internship credit, or does my college tuition cover it? 

Some schools require that students pay per credit hour for an internship, while others roll the cost into the regular semester tuition. Internships that qualify for college credit are often unpaid, so make sure you find out if your tuition covers the credits or if it’s your financial responsibility.

How do I actually get credit?

Do the registration and any paperwork before you actually begin your internship. You’ll probably have to fill out an application for college credit with both your company and your academic sponsor. You may be asked to keep a journal and write a paper at the end of the internship about what you learned. Knowing all this ahead of time will save you a lot of headaches and ensure you get your well-deserved credit.

Reaching out to a Hiring Manager

For instance, let’s say you found an exciting internship at a tech startup, but the job posting doesn’t mention anything about college credit. You can email the hiring manager and inquire about this. Your email might look something like this:

“Subject: Internship Application – Inquiry about College Credit

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I am excited about the opportunity to apply for the [Job Title] Internship position at [Company Name]. I believe that this role aligns well with my academic background and career aspirations in [Field].

However, I was wondering if this internship provides an opportunity to earn college credit? My college has a process where internships can be counted towards our academic credit provided they meet certain criteria. This would require collaboration between the college and the company to ensure that the internship meets academic standards.

Could we possibly discuss this further if I progress in the application process?

Thank you for considering my request.


[Your Name]”

Determining Credits at a College Example

Let’s take a hypothetical university as an example. At the University of Example, academic credit for an internship is determined based on a combination of the number of hours worked and the type of academic work tied to the internship. For instance, a student interning for 10 hours a week over a 15-week semester might earn 3 credits. These credits are granted if the student completes related academic assignments given by a faculty sponsor, such as reflective essays, project reports, or presentations. This method helps the university ensure that the student is not just gaining work experience, but also learning and reflecting on their experience in a manner that contributes to their academic growth.

The process of obtaining college credit for your internship involves a careful review of your university’s policies, a clear understanding of the internship requirements, and open communication with your school’s administration and your internship provider. Knowing how to navigate these aspects can help ensure that you not only gain valuable work experience but also make strides towards your academic goals. Remember to plan ahead, stay informed, and take the necessary steps to secure credit for your internship. It’s all part of a rewarding journey that merges academic achievement with practical, career-enhancing experience.