At Marymount University, we strongly believe in the powerful role that internships can play in shaping a student’s career path. Internships give students the opportunity to explore an area of interest in a professional environment while building skills and knowledge necessary for success in their field. The Center for Career Development distinguishes between two types of internship opportunities for our students: Professional and Pre-Professional Internships.
Professional (For-credit) Internships
All students at Marymount are required to complete a for-credit internship before graduating. Typically, students enroll in these internship experiences during their Junior or Senior year. In order to qualify for the Professional Internship, students must have completed 90 hours of coursework to ensure that they have sufficient classroom experience in their major to apply in the internship setting.
In order for an internship to qualify for-credit, the internship experience must provide ample opportunity for the student to utilize information learned in the classroom in a professional setting. Intern duties should have a professional component and/or involve direct observation of professional activities. Administrative tasks (i.e. general office work) should comprise less than 40% of the internship. Students generally must work 120 hours in order to qualify for 3 credits; 240 hours for 6 credits. Professional internships may be paid or unpaid.
All Professional Internships must be pre-approved by the Center for Career Development and the relevant academic department before the student begins the internship experience. Employers desiring to post a Professional Internship should contact the Center for Career Development at (703) 284-5960.
In addition to the Professional Internship which all students must complete before graduation, Marymount University students are encouraged to pursue multiple internships during their college career. These Pre-Professional Internships can take a variety of forms and consist of a wide range of duties. Pre-Professional Internships are an opportunity for students to gain exposure to their field, network with professionals, and begin to build job skills. Pre-Professional Internships may be paid or unpaid. However, Marymount University does not provide credit for Pre-Professional Internships. Employers desiring to post a Pre-Professional Internship should review the Center for Career Development posting guidelines.
Department of Labor Standards for “Interns”
While the Department of Labor does not refer to “interns” as such, it does state that the “learner/trainee” need not be paid. The six DOL criteria for a “learner/trainee” are as follows:
- The training must be comparable to that given at a vocational school.
- The training must benefit the student.
- The student cannot displace a regular employee.
- The employer provides the training and does not benefit immediately from the student’s activities.
- Both the employer and the student understand that no wage will be given during the training period.
- The student is not necessarily entitled to a position at the end of the internship.
Employers cannot replace paid employees with unpaid interns or use unpaid interns to perform the same work done by paid employees. Employers cannot promise a student a permanent position at the end of the internship in lieu of pay. All work performed by unpaid interns should directly relate to the learning objectives of the student. NOTE: Many employers do pay a stipend for meals, lodging, parking, etc., or provide tuition assistance to their interns. Stipends and tuition assistance do not count as payment of wages for the purpose of determining the students’ status as an “employee.”