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), so be sure to meet with Kathy Benjamin if your employer is requesting an extension of your internship. There are some employers who seek co-ops, but these positions are offered less frequently. A co-op tends to be approximately six (6) months in length and requires the student to be on site. If you have an employer seeking a long duration internship or co-op (anything beyond a semester in length) please consult with Kathy Benjamin before accepting this offer. There are times when this arrangement will not be possible.
An internship can be applicable to all graduate programs: IM, ADS, EDS, and LIS. ADS students are limited to earning a maximum of three (3) credits through internship and the job duties must be approved prior to the work experience to count as part of your program of study. This is done by the student filling out the Petition to the Faculty form (find form here... G:\IST\Advising\Forms\ and requesting the following:
- To have the internship count as an elective course and
- To request that the work be allowed to count as a true data science work experience (you must include the job duties to be performed at the internship on this form).
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. If you have any questions about internships for your program of study, please feel free to contact Kathy Benjamin.
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 through the petition process described on page 4 of this guidebook, you will be able to register through the University MySlice system for your internship opportunity, just as you would for any other class. If you have questions about registration, contact Kathy Benjamin (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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 (see example on page 19) 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. See page 11 of this guidebook for more details on the forms and assignments.
5. What if I want to extend my internship work experience for another semester?
Keep in mind that you are limited to a total of 3 credit hours for internship opportunities. Contact Kathy Benjamin (email@example.com) to discuss any available options for you.
Internship sites are as varied as the students who find them. When you are searching for a site, consider these organizations that have hosted interns in past semesters:
Excellus Blue Cross/ Blue Shield University of North Florida
NYSERDA Gartner, Inc.
Cisco Meraki Susquehanna International Group
Time Warner Cable Bloomberg, LLP
IPwe Aruba Networks
SONY Pictures Entertainment CBS Interactive
Nielsen Holdings HealthDirect Pharmacy Services
Just the Facts: Finding an Internship
In selecting a site, use the following Resources:
- Academic Advisor.
- Your advisor has probably worked with other students in similar situations, and may have suggestions for where you can pursue an internship opportunity. He or she may also help you define your skills to include on your resume.
2. Your program listserv.
- This listserv is utilized by the Career Services and Experiential Learning 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 (www.syr.joinhandshake.com)
3. Special Needs.
International Students must consult the Center for International Services for information regarding internships and employment. The iSchool’s Career Services & Experiential Learning 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.
4. Career Counselors.
- For assistance with resume preparation, interviewing, and utilization of Handshake, the online recruiting tool, you may consult with the iSchool’s Director of Career Services, Christopher Perrello (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Assistant Director of Career Services, Jeffrey Fouts (email@example.com). You must set up an appointment through Handshake to meet with either Christopher or Jeff.
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
Tips for finding an internship or co-op site:
Þ Use all your connections. The internship opportunity does not have to come from the School of Information Studies. Feel free to enlist the help of family, friends, professors, administrators, or anyone else you may know who is in a position to help you. Be creative in the utilization of resources from the library such as national guides for internships to reach outside of the Syracuse community. There is a vast assortment of online resources available that provide lists of internships worldwide, as well as individual company websites listing internship opportunities. Just keep in mind that the site and your role there must meet the criteria specified by the School of Information Studies in order for you to earn credit.
Þ Have an effective resume. Remember, this may be your initial contact with an employer. Make sure it reflects exactly what you want conveyed to an employer. There are a variety of resume workshops scheduled during the academic semesters, usually before career fair time. These workshops could be one-on-one resume review sessions with employers that come to the iSchool or could be in a group setting hosted by the iSchool career counselors (Christopher Perrello and Jeffrey Fouts).
Create a cover letter, attach your resume and follow up with a phone call.
A guide to the important players in your internship search and successful experience:
Internship Student. This is you. The weight of this experience is on you, but the benefits are yours to reap. Here are some things you MUST do:
- be proactive in your search for an internship opportunity
- ask questions and be persistent in securing an internship
- turn in the necessary paperwork to the Bb course at the appropriate times during your internship
- keep in touch with your Faculty Supervisor
Your Academic Advisor. This faculty member is assigned to you when you begin taking classes at the iSchool. This person is available for advising you throughout your program at the iSchool and can assist with the internship process. As your advisor, this person may be familiar with your future plans and with the classes you have taken, and may be able to offer these services to you:
- identifying skills to put on your resume
- suggesting potential sites for internships and/or employment
Your Faculty Supervisor. The Faculty Supervisor for ADS internships is assigned by the iSchool. This faculty member will act as the professor for the course, assisting you throughout the internship opportunity, contacting your Site Supervisor to track your performance, and assigning your grade. The faculty supervisor cannot give you credit for a work experience you completed in the past. He or she cannot guarantee you a position. Your own initiative is essential for finding and completing a successful internship opportunity.
Site Supervisor. This is the person with whom you will work at the site. He or she is not determined until you have selected a site and been offered a position; and this might not be the same person who hired you. In order to qualify for this position, this person must have skills superior to yours, and must be willing to guide you and evaluate your work.
The Site Supervisor’s main responsibilities are to:
- advise you in your work
- orient you to the site
- provide you with the necessary space and supplies to work
- assist with completion of the Learning Agreement, if necessary
- evaluate your performance at the completion of your assignment
- communicate with the Faculty Supervisor in reference to your work
Career Counselors. Christopher Perrello (firstname.lastname@example.org and Jeff Fouts (email@example.com) can help with preparing students for the career search by working with you on resumes, cover letters, mock interviews or career advice. Both counselors see students by appointment only. You can sign up for an appointment in Handshake. Appointments can be made by going into Handshake and clicking on the REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT link on your homepage.
Career Services Program Manager. Kathy Benjamin, firstname.lastname@example.org, can help you with the internship process. She can also assist with internship registration issues and general help for internship and career searches. Kathy is the go-to person for CPT and OPT letters for international students.
Center for International Services . International students must see their advisor in this office to ensure that they can work in the United States. There is additional mandatory paperwork generated by the CIS that you must complete prior to starting an internship. The Center is located on Walnut Place (across Waverly Ave. from Bird Library) and the telephone number is 315-443-2457.
Just the Facts: When you’ve accepted a position...
Step 1: Fill out a ‘Petition to the Faculty’ form to request approval of internship work to count for academic credit for your program of study. Submit this form to iAdvising@syr.edu. Please attach your offer letter as well. Once approved, you will be given permission to register for the class through the University’s Myslice system. Students should register for internship experiences during the regular registration period for a semester. The correct class number for ADS students is IST 974. This course is pre-set for three (3) credit hours only. If you have any problems, contact Kathy Benjamin (email@example.com), Career Services Program Manager.
Step 2: Complete and upload the Proposal Form and the other early assignments to the Bb for IST 974. The Proposal form is to be uploaded to the Bb course for IST 974 and will provide the Internship Faculty Supervisor with a brief, overall outline of what you think you will be doing at the site. While it must have some detail, you do not need to know every aspect of your internship at this point. If you need assistance, discuss the form with your Site or Faculty Supervisor. This form MUST be turned in at least one week before you begin work. There are other assignments due during the early part of your internship so be sure to check the Bb course for the list of assignments and when they are due.
Once you’ve started working….
Step 3: Complete the Learning Agreement. This form must be completed and uploaded to the Bb for IST 974 once you have worked 30 hours at the site. By this point, you will have a much better idea of exactly what you are doing on the job, and can detail your assignment more accurately. If there are changes between what you are expected to do and what you find you are actually doing, report them here. You may limit your response to the form, or attach additional pages if necessary. Be sure to have your site supervisor sign the form before uploading to the Bb course. This form is an important part of your grade, so it should be taken seriously and filled out with care.
Step 4: Check the Bb course for additional assignments (initial reflection paper, class video calls, etc.) during the internship period.
Step 5: Midway point. Expect your Faculty Supervisor to contact your Site Supervisor for a discussion of your performance.
Step 6: Finish the employer work assignment. At this point, you must complete the Student Evaluation Form and your Final Reflection paper. The content of the evaluation form will not affect your grade but will give you the opportunity to rate the value of the experience in relation to your overall program at the iSchool and to your career goals. This form must be uploaded to the IST 974 Bb course.
Step 7: Ensure that your Site Supervisor has completed the Site Supervisor Evaluation Form. Your supervisor will receive a copy of this form early in your work experience, but it is a good idea for you to make sure that he or she is in possession of the correct form, and that it is returned in a timely manner. The Site Supervisor should complete the form prior to your last day of internship, in order that the evaluation be shared with you. This evaluation is designed to provide you valuable feedback on your performance. In addition to the form provided by the School of Information Studies, the Site Supervisor may choose to evaluate your performance using an in-house evaluation form. This is also an excellent time to request that your Site Supervisor provide you with a reference letter for your future use. The site supervisor should submit the completed evaluation form to Kathy Benjamin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Step 8: Complete any additional assignments for the Faculty Supervisor, if required.
What’s What: Forms and Their Destinations
The underlined forms and assignments are required to earn credit. All forms and assignments must be uploaded to the Bb course for IST 974, with the exception of the Site Supervisor Evaluation form. This form should be emailed to Kathy Benjamin (email@example.com) by the site supervisor.
¨ The Resume: (page 16) This is your primary method of introducing yourself to potential employers. It is usually one page in length, highlighting education, skills, and work experience. Resources: https://ischool.syr.edu/careers/career-resources/resume-cover-letter-interview-preparation/
¨ Preliminary Assignment: Student will review the Course Overview Document and the Preliminary Assignments readings. These readings cover guidelines for a successful internship, leadership, ethics, and professional communication. To earn the full amount of points for this assignment, the student will submit a two paragraph summary of your reaction to (a) starting the course and (b) the preliminary reading document.
¨ Proposal Form: (example on page 19) This form must be filled out by you, the student, and uploaded to the Bb for the IST 974 course. It is due at least one week before beginning a work assignment. This form provides information about the assignment such as where and with whom you will be working, and gives a brief outline of the tasks that have been discussed with the Site Supervisor.
¨ Learning Agreement: (example on page 21) This form is to be filled out by you and uploaded to the Bb for the IST 974 course by you, in cooperation with your Site Supervisor. It is due after completion of 30 hours of work on the site. This form will establish precise learning objectives which will be met throughout the assignment, details the tasks to be completed, and finalizes your responsibility to the employer.
¨ Initial Reflections: This is your reflection on what you have seen and learned so far. It should be submitted after you have completed two weeks of work with the employer. A list of items to address in this two or three page reflection can be found in the Course ASSIGNMENT section in the Bb for IST 974.
¨ Student Evaluation and Final Reflection paper: (evaluation example on page 23) This evaluation is due upon completion of the work assignment and provides you with an opportunity to rate the work experience and the internship process. Your comments on this form will not affect your grade, but it must be uploaded to the Bb course for IST 974 before the grade is assigned.
¨ Site Supervisor Evaluation: (example on page 25) The Site Supervisor Evaluation is due upon completion of the work assignment. Your site supervisor should have received a copy of the evaluation early in your internship. The evaluation form provides the Site Supervisor with the opportunity to express satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your performance, and helps in determination of a grade. The site supervisor must send the completed evaluation to Kathy Benjamin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
¨ Final Reflection: Each student will complete and submit the Final Reflection form. This is your final reflection on what you learned during the internship. It should be completed and submitted in the assignments area within a week of completing the internship and no later than May 15th. A list of items to address in this two or three page reflection can be found in the Course ASSIGNMENT section in the Bb for IST 974.
Making the Grade
The person responsible for assigning your grade is your Faculty Supervisor. He or she has listed all assignments in the Bb for IST 971. All assignments must be completed before a grade will be assigned. If you have a problem that may prevent you from turning the appropriate assignments in on time, contact your faculty supervisor before the end of your work assignment.
Basically, the hours spent at the work site are those included toward your earning credit.
This does not include hours spent traveling to and from the internship site. However, the employer may allow you to work remotely for a portion of the internship. A rule of thumb: 1 Credit = 50 work hours.
Tuition for Internship Credit Hours
Credits earned through internship work experiences are just like those earned in class. You will need to pay the regular University credit hour charge for each credit. Financial aid (if applicable) will apply to these credits as to any others.
A Checklist for You to Use:
1. 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 in the
iSchool’s guidebook, “, A Guide to Internships for ADS Students”
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