Internships - Academic Credit

What You Need to Know
Tips for Pursuing Academic Credit
Academic Department Specifics
Summer Internship Credit Option


It may be possible to get academic credit for your internship from your department (see detailed list). Departments can offer credit, and policies differ greatly from one department to the next. Often your internship must relate directly to your major and will require you to complete a substantial research project or writing component as part of special studies course.

Keep in mind that some employers require students to receive academic credit as a form of "payment" due to liability issues, but may also be willing to classify you as a volunteer if receiving credit is not an option. Please see  the internship liability issues (PDF) with more information for student advisors and students. 

There are different requirements for International students who wish to obtain work authorization using the academic credit option. You should consult an advisor at the Berkeley International Office.

What You Need to Know

General Information is available in the Course Number Guide section of the Berkeley Academic Guide.

We also recommend looking at the Online Schedule of Classes where you can Search the Schedule of Classes for a particular term.  Courses numbered 97, 98, 99, 194, 196, 197, 198, 199 are all possible sources of units for activities other than regular class work in which a student engages in an experience that enhances academic learning. 97/197 are the most common.Which number you are looking for depends on the department.  These courses are referred to as Field Study, Group Study, or Independent Study. Also called "internship" or "special field research." For International Students the requirements are more specific; see a SISS advisor.

Requirements: These are general guidelines only and can vary with each department. 

  • You  must be enrolled as a student at time of internship, including summer internships
  • An instructor is required to supervise your "study". This may require approval from the dean of the department and/or major advisor. Your instructor may assign you written work, meetings with faculty sponsors, seminars, or other activities.
  • A minimum GPA 2.0 to 3.3 is required, depending on the department.
  • Units are pass/not pass. You can take 4 units per semester and can apply 16 of them towards requirements for a bachelor's degree. How many you take per semester depends on your situation and the department. The average is about 3 hours per week of internship per unit).

Community colleges often offer academic credit for internships in the form of cooperative education programs or classes in the appropriate departments. This may be an easier and more economical alternative. Information on most California Community Colleges is available online.

Tips for Pursuing Academic Credit

To pursue academic credit with an individual department at Berkeley, we recommend that you review the catalog to explore your options and contact the relevant academic department(s). If your department doesn't have any options, check with one that's related to your internship. Most of the departments don't require you to be majoring with them, but some do. 

Contact the department or advising office. Ask who would be the best person to talk to; typically this is the academic advisor, but not always. Inquire about how it works in that department and what your next steps should be (make an appointment, pick up paperwork, find a faculty sponsor, etc.) If you need a faculty sponsor, the department can help supoport the next steps or the best way to find one. 

Some recommendations for finding faculty sponsors include:

  • Approach someone you have had a class with.
  • Ask friends for recommendations of professors they have had. Also, advisors may be willing to refer you to possible professors. They don't have to, so ask nicely!


Summer Internship Credit Option

If you are doing a summer internship in the U.S., you may qualify for the Career Center's Independent U.S. Summer Internship Credit Option.  The program gives you the means to receive academic credit via an online course for an internship that you have obtained on your own.

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