An Introduction to the Internship Process

The Purpose of an Internship Opportunity:

In recognition that education extends beyond the formal classroom, the faculty of the School of Information Studies (iSchool) encourage students to participate in special learning situations outside existing courses. The internship program is designed to provide the student with the opportunity to work in a day-to-day professional environment under the supervision of an experienced professional and with the guidance of an iSchool faculty member. In addition, the programs are designed to promote positive interaction between the faculty and students of iSchool and experienced information management professionals in institutions, businesses, libraries, and other agencies. 

The Difference between Internships and Co-ops:

 At the School of Information Studies, internships are work experiences offered by employers. 

An internship is usually 10-15 weeks and can be paid or non-paid.  Internship end dates can be extended but must be done so in accordance with a specific student’s program of study and its requirements. This can vary from student to student, especially international students and visa regulations and policies.  If you have an employer seeking a long duration internship or co-op please consult with your academic advisor  before accepting this offer.  Typically this arrangement is not possible.

Students are limited to earning a maximum of three (3) credits towards their degree through an internship and the job duties must be approved prior to the work experience If you have any questions about internships for your program of study, please feel free to contact iAdvising or Career Services.

ADS students can only do internship work for credit if this petition is approved.  Completed petition forms must be sent to iAdvising@syr.edu.  The iAdvising team will let you know if your petition is approved or denied. Keep in mind that this process involves multiple people so it may take at least 7-10 days for approval.  ADS students must not accept an internship offer for credit before this petition has been approved.  International students cannot work for an off campus employer unless the work is done for credit, so be very careful in planning your internship.  

Students are encouraged to seek meaningful, relevant internships in which they can apply the theories taught in the classroom to real world applications. While Site Supervisors do share their knowledge and expertise with interns, the students give a tremendous amount back to the organization in terms of projects completed, professional services rendered, enthusiasm, creativity, and new approaches to information problems.

Where the Internship fits into an Information Studies’ Program:

Students usually select and register for internship opportunities once they have completed approximately one-half of their academic program at the School of Information Studies. This is to ensure that they have the skills to be successful in the work experience they select. However, students are encouraged to plan early, so that their work experience will best parallel their professional goals. It is never too early to contact the Academic Advisor or Faculty Supervisor to develop a goal and discuss possibilities.

Benefits for Everyone

Clearly, an internship opportunity is a winning situation for everyone involved!  While you, the student, gain real work experience, your employer gains the use of your skills for a designated period of time.  Let’s take a closer look at exactly what benefits will accrue for the various parties:

  For the Student:

  • practical experience using information skills and applying theoretical knowledge
  • pursue a special interest in a subject specialty
  • interact and communicate with professionals
  • experience an information, data, or library setting consistent with professional goals
  • become aware of employment opportunities
  • test theoretical concerns against reality
  • understand the role of the sponsoring site within the community
  • develop a professional self-awareness
  • develop professional contacts for future advice and job seeking

For the Site:

  • develop and implement special projects
  • have additional professional-level assistance available
  • gain fresh insights from students currently studying leading-edge approaches
  • interact with students and programs at the School of Information Studies (iSchool)

  For the School of Information Studies (iSchool):

  • provide stimulating, practical learning environments for students
  • meet the individual needs of students
  • promote a good working relationship with public and private sector organizations

Frequently Asked Questions ?

1.  Must I do an internship?

Internships are not required for the ADS program of study curriculum.   However, according to the Graduate Handbook, ADS students may earn up to three credits through internship.

2.  What will an internship opportunity cost?

You must pay regular Syracuse University credit hour costs for your internship opportunity. If you are earning 3 credit hours, you must pay the bursar’s office for 3 credits.

3.  How and where do I register for an internship opportunity?

ADS students need permission to register for the internship course, IST 974.  This is because the work must be pre-approved by the ADS faculty before a student may use internship credit for his/her program of study. Once the work is approved  you will be able to register through the University MySlice system for your internship opportunity, just as you would for any other class. You will automatically be enrolled in the online portion of the course (Blackboard)  for IST 974 once you register.  All interns are required to complete the assignments listed in the course syllabus.

4.   Once I am registered for the internship credit, then what?

All internship courses require academic assignments as well as working for the employer.  These academic assignments are found in the Bb for the IST 974 course.  Some of the assignments in the Bb course for IST 974 are mandatory forms to fill out during the internship. The Proposal Form should be uploaded to the IST 974 Bb course at least one week before you begin working, so that the faculty supervisor is aware of your intended participation of the course. You will not get credit for the internship work experience if you do not turn in this paperwork!   No student is allowed to seek permission for a work experience that happened in the past.  There are other mandatory forms to fill out at various points of your internship timeline.  

5.  What if I want to extend my internship work experience for another semester?

Keep in mind that a total of 3 credit hours will count towards your degree. If you get an extension you must register and pay for 1 credit which will be above and beyond your degree requirements, i.e. you can possibly graduate with 37 credits for a 36 credit program.

Just the Facts:  Finding an Internship

In selecting a site, use the following Resources:

  1. Your program listserv
    This listserv is utilized by Career Services team to post some currently available jobs, internships and co-ops, including local to international   positions. The main system in which students should search for jobs, internships, and co-ops is Handshake ( s yr.joinhandshake.com )
  2. International Student Support
    1. International Students must consult the Center for International Services for information regarding internships and employment.  The iSchool’s Career Services team works closely with this office to process CPT (curricular practical training) for all students choosing to work for an off-campus employer.  The iSchool provides the CPT recommendation letter for the work experience, but it is up to the student to complete the CPT application process before starting work for an off-campus employer.
  3. Career Advising
    1. For assistance with resume preparation, interviewing, and utilization of Handshake, the online recruiting tool, you may consult with the iSchool’s Associate Director of Career Services, Jeffrey Fouts (jlfouts@syr.edu ) or the Career Development Specialist, Morgan Mastronardi, (mrmills@syr.edu) . You must set up an appointment through Handshake to meet with either Jeff or Morgan.


Important Note : Not all internship opportunities are secured through leads provided by career services on campus. You can also develop an opportunity on your own. Target a particular company and contact them for an initial meeting and/or conversation about a potential internship. Keep in mind the criteria that a site must meet:

  • There must be a Site Supervisor who is more knowledgeable about the work than the student and have professional work experience
  • The Site Supervisor must be willing to guide, supervise, and evaluate the student
  • There must be specific, finite tasks for the student to complete
  • These tasks must be considered educationally useful by the Faculty Supervisor and /or Academic Advisor

A Checklist for You to Use :

  I.  Finding an InternshipOpportunity:

            _____  Meet with your Academic Advisor (recommended)

            _____  Be familiar with Handshake, the online recruiting tool used by the University to assist in finding internships and employment

                         Familiarize yourself with the internship process outlined on this page             

II.  After you have accepted an offer:                                                

            _____ First, you must get your internship work approved by filling out the Petition to the Faculty form and sending it to iAdvising@syr.edu.  Attach your offer letter as well.  

                           This is a MUST for ADS students!

            _____  Once the work is approved, register for IST 974 for three (3) credit hours on MySlice.

            _____  Meet with your Site Supervisor

            _____  Fill out the Proposal form and upload it to the Bb IST 974

 III.  During the internship:

           _____ Fill out the Learning Agreement, upload it to the Bb for IST 974

           _____ Complete other assignments due during the early part of your internship for your  Faculty Supervisor (see the Course Content in the Bb for IST 974)

            _____ Work the necessary number of hours

            _____ Complete the initial reflection assignment for your Faculty Supervisor

 IV.  Upon completion of the employer work assignment:

            _____ Fill out the Student Evaluation Form (upload it to the Bb for IST 974)

           _____ Complete the Final Reflection assignment and upload it to the Bb for IST 974

            _____ Remind your Site Supervisor to complete an evaluation form

            _____ Complete any additional assignment(s) (if required) for your Faculty Supervisor



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