An internship is a form of experiential education that emphasizes the learner’s personal experience rather than learning from a text or lecture format. The classroom may be a forensic lab, a public school classroom, a group counseling session, a small village in a developing country, or a corporate accounting firm. An intern may gain experience and understanding of a subject by conducting research, planning and delivering a math lesson, investigating crime patterns, developing a public relations campaign, or staffing a crisis hot line.
Through internships, students take theoretical knowledge into a practical setting, reflect on the work, assess its value and the skills they’ve developed, and determine the effect of their experience on their career planning.
Students generally work a minimum of eight hours per week or a maximum of 40 hours per week (full time), usually for one academic term. The work is performed in a professional environment under the guidance and supervision of a staff member with expertise in the student’s field of interest. Although the work may be similar to some part-time jobs or volunteer experiences, an internship is identified by the intentional, self-directed learning and student reflection about the work experience.
Any student may participate in an internship. We encourage students to consider interning early and often. If you are exploring career options, start no later than your sophomore year. If you are gaining experience in your field, you are likely to be more successful after you have taken courses in your chosen field. If you wish to earn credit, check your department’s eligibility criteria. Most departments require students to be juniors or seniors and to meet course prerequisites. Transfer students need to complete a minimum of 12 credits at TU.
The Career Center provides a variety of resources to help you find an internship. Use our searchable database, Handshake. Meet with a career center advisor or counselor to review your resume, discuss your interests and identify possible resources.
If you plan to earn credit, contact the internship coordinator (PDF) in your academic department.
Visit the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services website for fingerprinting services.
First determine if you meet your department’s eligibility criteria (see academic department for requirements) for earning internship credit. If you are eligible, ask the employer to create a Handshake account and post the internship description. Take a copy of the description to the internship coordinator in your department.
Internship credit cannot be earned retroactively. If you plan to earn credit, your enrollment in your department’s internship must be concurrent with the experience.
Generally, you are encouraged to seek opportunities with different employers. However, if your current employer offers you an incentive to intern with the company, the work must be different from your current position and meet your academic department’s criteria for credit-bearing internships.
Internship course requirements usually include major or minor status. Towson does not offer a general, elective internship course.