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 Co-ops and Internships
At the School of Information Studies, co-ops and internships are differentiated primarily by their duration. A co-op, or cooperative work experience, is a paid position which can last between 6 and 12 months, extending beyond a single semester, and is most often associated with the IM and TNM students. An internship is much shorter, usually 10-12 weeks, and can be paid or non-paid.
An internship can be applicable to all master's programs. A maximum of six (6) credits may be earned through co-ops or internships by a graduate student. Internships are generally completed over the time frame of one semester; however, there are some experiences that may be shorter, or longer, in duration. If you have questions about the duration of your internship, please feel free to contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.
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 and co-ops, 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 choose to register for internship opportunities when 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. See page 6 for students’ Frequently Asked Questions about Internships!
The School of Information Studies at Syracuse University does not discriminate against employers, students, or applicants on the basis of race, gender, handicap, age, veteran status, national origin, or political affiliation.
Benefits for Those Involved in the Internship Program
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.
Benefits 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 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
Benefits 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)
Benefits for the 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
Must I do an internship?
According to the Graduate Handbooks, IM students should earn 2-6 credits through internship as part of their exit requirement. For IM students with little, or no, appropriate experience as information professionals, students must register for at least 2 credits and no more than 6 credits of internship or cooperative education credits. TNM students may earn up to six credits through internship even though they are not required to do so as part of their curriculum. LIS students are advised to complete a 3-credit internship, but may earn up to 6 credits through internship. School Media students must do two assignments (120 work hours for each experience) in different schools, preferably at different grade levels for a total of three (3) practicum experience credits. No graduate student may earn more than 6 credits through internship opportunities.
Students with more than one year of full-time professional IT experience in the information technology field may waive the internship requirement (experience may be audited). This waiver will not reduce the total credits required for the IM degree but will allow the student to take other course electives to fulfill the credit requirements for the degree.
Students with a minimum of three years of full-time work experience in the IT field, may petition to reduce the credit requirement of the program by three credits, substituted by work experience, which will be audited. Students should consult Advising in Student Services regarding the procedures for this petition.
What will an internship opportunity cost?
You must pay regular Syracuse University credit hour costs for your internship opportunity. If you are earning 6 credit hours, you must pay the bursar’s office for 6 credits.
How and where do I register for an internship opportunity?
You may register through the University MySlice system for your internship opportunity, just as you would for any other class. Register for IST 971 for both paid and non-paid work experiences.
Be careful to enroll in the correct section of IST 971. Separate sections are reserved for the LIS students. IM and TNM students are currently combined in their reserved sections. If you have questions about registration, contact Kathy Benjamin (email@example.com). You will automatically be enrolled in the Blackboard course for IST 971 once you register. All interns are expected to participate with regular postings to the topics/assignments given in the course syllabus.
In addition, there is paperwork to fill out during the internship. The Proposal Form must be uploaded to the IST 971 Blackboard course at least one week before you begin working, so that the faculty supervisor can approve the internship. You will not get credit for the experiential learning if you do not turn in this paperwork! Also, the Proposal cannot be accepted for past work experiences.
What if my work assignment won’t end before the end of the semester?
You will have a missing grade on your next grade report. Once the assignment is completed and your evaluation forms have been turned in, a grade will be submitted for you. Make arrangements ahead of time with your Faculty Supervisor.
What if I want to extend my experiential learning opportunity for another semester?
Keep in mind that you are limited to a total of 6 credits for an internship opportunity. Contact Kathy Benjamin (firstname.lastname@example.org) to decide how to register for the additional credits and to ensure that your grade is not withheld. 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:
Information Management Students:
- Bank of America
- JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- DeLoitte Consulting
- KPMG, LLP
- Liberty Mutual
- Microsoft Corporation
- Ernst & Young (EY)
- Quicken Loans
- Citigroup, Inc.
- Thomson Reuters
- McKinsey & Co.
Finding an Internship
In selecting a site, use the following resources:
Your advisor has probably worked with other students in similar situations, and may have suggestions for where you can pursue an internship. He or she may also help you define your skills to include on your resume.
Your program listserv
This listservs are utilized by the iSchool’s Career Services and Employer Relations team to post some currently available jobs, internships and co-ops, including local to international positions. Information on employer-hosted info sessions and workshops are also sent to the program listservs as they become known to the iSchool Career Center staff.
The main web-based system in which students should search for jobs, internships, and co-ops is Handshake (syr.joinhandshake.com). Handshake can also be accessed from your MySlice account.
iSchool Career Services
This office, located in 114 Hinds Hall, puts together the iSchool Career Fairs, held every fall and spring semester, where employers come to campus to meet students with technology skills to fill internship and employment opportunities within their organizations.
The members of the Career Services Center can help with resume preparation, mock interviews, and career guidance. They can also help you with internship requirements for credit and working with employers to schedule information sessions and events on campus as well as post job/internship opportunities in Handshake.
Schedule an appointment through Handshake to meet with any member of the Career Services Center.
Independently Finding Your Own Internship
Not all internship opportunities are secured through leads provided by your advisors or iSchool Career Services. You can also develop an opportunity on your own. Target a particular institution and contact the director 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
Use all of your connections
The internship opportunity does not have to come from the iSchool or Career Services. 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.
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 Services team.
Students who may be unfamiliar with the resume and its purpose can start by visiting the iSchool Career Service’s website for a resume template . Once a resume draft has been created, you should schedule an appointment with a Career Services advisor through Handshake for a resume review. They can give you tips and pointers for an effective resume to send to potential employers.
Create a cover letter, attach your resume and follow up with a phone call.
Who’s Who in the Internship Process
Here are the important players in your internship search and successful experience.
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 assignments in to Blackboard at the appropriate times
- Keep in touch with your Faculty Supervisor
- Coordinate the mid-point evaluation of the internship with your site supervisor and faculty supervisor.
Your Academic Advisor
This faculty member is assigned to you when you begin taking classes in the iSchool. This person is available for advising you throughout your program in 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 graduate student internships varies by semester.
Your faculty supervisor can help with:
- Defining tasks for your Proposal and Learning Agreement Forms
- Assist in choosing a site, or measuring the potential for success at various sites
- Approving the Proposal and Learning Agreement and reviewing the evaluation forms
- Grading the experience
The faculty supervisor cannot give you credit for a work experience you completed in the past or guarantee you a position. Your own initiative is essential for finding and completing a successful internship opportunity.
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; this might not be the same person who initially accepted 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
- Participate in a midpoint evaluation with the faculty supervisor
- Evaluate your performance at the completion of your internship work
- Communicate with the faculty supervisor in reference to your work
iSchool Career Counselors
You may consult with the iSchool’s Director of Career Services Christopher Perrello (email@example.com) or Assistant Director of Career Services Jeffrey Fouts (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can set up an appointment to meet with them on Handshake.
Career Services & Employer Relations Coordinator
Kathy Benjamin (email@example.com) can help you with the internship process. She can also assist with internship registration issues and general help for internship searches. Kathy is the go-to person for CPT and OPT letters for international students.
Center for International Services (CIS)
International students must see an advisor in this office to ensure that they can work in the United States. There is additional mandatory paperwork required by the CIS that you must complete before starting an internship.
The Center is located on Walnut Place (across Waverly Ave. from Bird Library) and the telephone number is 315-443-2457.
Overview of the Internship Process
When you’ve accepted an Internship Position
Step 1: Register for the class through the University’s MySlice system
Students should register for internship experiences during the regular registration period for a semester. Be sure to select the correct class number for graduate-level internships (IST 971) and the select the section reserved for IM students (usually M801).
All internship courses have a variable amount of credit hours for the registration. A value needs to be entered (1 – 6 credit hours). If no value is entered, the registration will default to one credit hour, so be sure to input the correct number of credit hours you are seeking for the internship.
If you have any problems, contact Kathy Benjamin (firstname.lastname@example.org), Career Services and Employer Relations Coordinator. You may register before you have found a site if you anticipate that you will find one during a particular semester.
Step 2: Complete and upload the Proposal Form to the Blackboard course for IST 971
This form must be turned in at least one week before you begin work. This form is to be uploaded to the IST 971 Blackboard course and provides 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.
Once you've started working
Step 3: Complete the Learning Agreement
This form must be completed and uploaded to the Blackboard course for IST 971 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. This form is an important part of your grade, so it should be taken seriously and filled out with care.
Step 5: Check IST 971 in Blackboard for any additional assignments/postings during the semester
Step 6: Mid-point Evaluation
Expect your Faculty Supervisor to contact your Site Supervisor for a discussion of your performance. In some cases the Faculty Supervisor may make a site visit.
Step 6: Finish the work assignment and Student Evaluation Form
At this point, you must complete the Student Evaluation Form. The content of this 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 971 Blackboard 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 (email@example.com)
Step 8: Complete any additional assignments for the Faculty Supervisor, if required.
Important Documents and Required Forms
Required forms must be completed and submitted on time in order to earn internship credit. All forms can be found here as well as in the Blackboard IST 971 course. All completed forms should be uploaded to the Blackboard course for IST 971, with the exception of the Site Supervisor Evaluation form. This form should be emailed to Kathy Benjamin (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the site supervisor.
This is your primary method of introducing yourself to potential employers. It is usually one page in length, highlighting education, skills, and work experience. You can find examples on the Career Services page.
A cover letter may serve as an introduction to an employer by accompanying your resume, or act as your formal application for a position. It should be one page, clearly stating why you are the person for the job. You can find examples on the Career Services page.
Proposal Form (Required)
This form must be filled out by you, the student, and uploaded to the IST 971 Blackboard 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 (Required)
This form is to be filled out by you and uploaded to the IST 971 Blackboard 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. *This form is required in order to earn credit.*
Student Evaluation (Required)
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 Blackboard course for IST 971 before the grade is assigned. *This form is required in order to earn credit.*
Site Supervisor Evaluation (Required)
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. Because each graduate program has a different evaluation, the forms can be found in the IST 971 Blackboard course and not in this booklet. The evaluation provides the Site Supervisor with the opportunity to express satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your performance, and helps in determination of a grade. *This form is required in order to earn credit.*
Your Internship Grade
The person responsible for assigning your grade is your Faculty Supervisor. He or she may require other assignments/postings (check the Blackboard course for IST 971) in addition to the forms required by the School of Information Studies. Your Learning Agreement is also an important document in consideration of your grade.
All assignments must be completed before a grade will be assigned. If you have a problem that may prevent you from turning the appropriate forms in on time, contact your faculty supervisor before the end of your work assignment.
Credit and Tuition Information
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, in some cases, the employer may allow you to work remotely for a portion of the internship. The rule of thumb: 1 Credit = 50 work hours.
- For three (3) credits, you must work 150 hours.
- For six (6) credits, you must work 300 hours.
Be sure to register for the correct number of credits. If you need to change your registration, please talk to Kathy Benjamin (email@example.com) or 315-443-4496.
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.
Internship Overview Checklist for Students
- Finding an internship
- Meet with your Academic Advisor
- Check Handshake and program listserv for internship opportunities
- Familiarize yourself with the internship process outlined in this guide
- After you have accepted an offer
- Contact your Faculty Supervisor
- Register for IST 971
- Meet with your Site Supervisor
- Fill out a Proposal Form and submit it to the IST 971 course on Blackboard before starting work at the site
- During the internship
- Fill out the Learning Agreement and submit it to the IST 971 course on Blackboard after you have worked 30 hours
- Work the necessary number of hours
- Complete any postings and/or assignment(s) for your Faculty Supervisor
- Upon completion of the assignment
- Fill out the Student Evaluation Form and submit it to the IST 971 course on Blackboard
- Remind your Site Supervisor to complete an evaluation form
- Complete any assignment(s), if required, for your Faculty Supervisor