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Internships - Academic Credit

Overview

It may be possible to get academic credit for your internship from your department (see detailed list below).

Academic 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 liability issues (PDF) for more information.

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.

Summer Internship Credit Option - Another option is available if you are doing a summer internship in the U.S. The Independent U.S. Summer Internship Credit Option will give you the means to receive academic credit via an online course for an internship that you have obtained on your own.

What You Need to Know

General Information is available in the "Introduction to Courses and Curricula" section of the Course Catalog. We recommend looking online under "Course Search," select the "Course Number" option-look for the numbers below.

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. You must have completed 60 units in order to participate in the upper division courses (197, 198, 199). 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.

You must be an enrolled student at the time of your internship. For summer internships you will need to enroll for the summer session.

In general, you need an instructor to supervise your "study"; may need approval from the dean of the department, and sometimes from the major advisor.

Be prepared to have requirements for written work, meetings with faculty sponsors, seminars, or other requirements depending on the class.

The minimum GPA requirement ranges from 2.0 to 3.3 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. Some programs require that you participate in your internship for a minimum number of hours in order to qualify. In others it just depends on how much you work. The average is about 3 hours per week of internship per unit).

Exceptions to these rules may be authorized by the dean of your department.

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

The easiest way to start is to look at the catalog to get an idea of what your options might be and then call the academic department. 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.

Ask who would be the best person to talk to. Typically this would be 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.)

Some departments are easier to work with in this area than others. Don't let this discourage you from finding what you need. You may need to be persistent and creative. Be prepared to do your research and spend some time tracking down your options.

Some departments welcome and encourage gaining non-academic experience to enhance your education. Some departments have faculty sponsors all ready to sign you off, you just have to petition. Others can even recommend internships that you can apply for.

The next step is often to find a faculty sponsor for your course. Once again, some faculty are more responsive than others and you may need to approach a few to find one who will sponsor your activity. Don't let it discourage you if not everyone you talk to is supportive of this process. This is an optional activity for them so you may need to be persistent in order to find a faculty sponsor.

Some recommendations for finding faculty sponsors include:

  • Approach someone you have had a class with.
  • Ask friends for recommendations of professors they have had. Word of mouth is valuable-ask around. Some advisors may be willing to point you in the right direction but not all. They don't have to, so ask nicely!
  • Go to office hours and try your luck.

Department Information

The following information has been provided by a cross-section of departments. The information has been gathered to help guide students in the process of finding academic credit for internships. All information is subject to change and students interested in academic credit for interning should speak to the individual departments for details.

African American Studies 197- Field Studies in African American Life
Submit AAS Petition for Special Studies
Architecture 197/199 - Independent Field Study/Individual Independent Study
Find own faculty sponsor. Need to meet with faculty once a week but can telecommute. Available throughout the year.
Asian American Studies 97/197- Field Studies in Asian American Communities
Submit AAS Petition for Special Studies
Asian Studies 197- Field Study Asian Studies
Internship may be done as an independent study under the supervision of a faculty member
Business 199 - Independent Study credit cannot be received for internships, whether paid or unpaid.
Chicano Studies 97/197- Field Studies/Work in Chicano Studies
Fill out paperwork; find faculty advisor, minimum 45 hours/unit. Have information on established internship sites. Chicanos/Latinos in Health Education student group utilizes this course to intern and have a faculty member who oversees their students.
Development Studies 197- Field Studies
Need to find own faculty sponsor. Forms available from staff advisors.
Economics 197- Field Studies
Not common in this department. Need to find own faculty sponsor. Requires department chair approval. Econ 197 is open to Economics majors only
Education 97/197 Field Studies
There is a designated Faculty Sponsor for internship credit. Fill out petition & faculty sponsor sheet for approval. Can get information on internship sites, including tutoring, from the department.
Engineering Not common, check with the individual departments.
English 99/199 Independent Study
Students may apply to a faculty adviser to receive course credit (either as a 99 or 199) for an internship. No more than two units will be awarded on a pass/not pass basis. Students must provide official documentation about the internship and, upon completion of this program, a statement from the person directing the internship which describes duties performed by the student. In addition, students must produce critical or creative writing on a topic related to the internship. This writing will be assessed by an English Department faculty member who has agreed in advance of the internship to supervise the student. This faculty member will be the instructor of record for the 99/199.
Environmental Economics and Policy 197- Field Study in Environmental Economics and Policy
For EEP majors only. Not difficult to find faculty sponsor as long as internship is related to the major. Requires written work. Available throughout the year.
Environmental Science 199 - Supervised Independent Study and Research
Requires proposal and written summary.
Environmental Science, Policy & Management 197 - Supervised Upper-Division Field Study
Need approval from faculty sponsor, major advisor, and ESPM Vice Chair for Instruction. ESPM majors only. Available throughout the year.
Ethnic Studies 97/197 Field Work in Communities of Color
Find your own Faculty Sponsor if you find your own placement. Talk to advisor for information on established internship sites.
Film Studies Film 197A - Field Study at the Pacific Film Archive
Film 197C Avant-Garde Film Study
Established internships available or develop for Film Majors. See department webpage for details.
Film 197B Field Studies for Majors (Film majors only)
Develop own internship with faculty member on Film Advisory Committee.
Geography 197 - Field Studies
Need to find own faculty sponsor. Requires department chair approval.
History of Art 194- Museum Internship
Find own faculty sponsor. Will allow museums, galleries, and auction houses. Not available during the summer semester.
Integrative Biology 197 - Supervised Field Studies By Upper Division Students
For research project off-campus. Find own faculty sponsor. Available throughout the year.
199 - Supervised Independent Study and Research
For research project on-campus under faculty mentorship. Find own faculty sponsor. Available throughout the year.
Landscape Architecture 197/199 -Independent Field Study/Individual Independent Study
Find own faculty sponsor. Need to meet with faculty once a week but can telecommute. Available throughout the year.
Latin American Studies 197 Field Studies
199 - Supervised Independent Study and Research for Undergraduates

Need to find own faculty sponsor. Forms available from staff advisors.
Legal Studies 199 - Legal Studies Independent Studies
Credit is available to Legal Studies Seniors who wish to write a research paper. This can be tied into a field experience/internship.
Linguistics 199 - Independent Study and Research Propose independent study to faculty and obtain Chair approval for Linguistics related work.
Mass Communications 199 - Supervised Independent Study for Advanced Undergraduates
Declared majors only. See undergraduate advisors.
Middle Eastern Studies 199 - Supervised Independent Study and Research
Need to find own faculty sponsor. Forms available from staff advisors.
Molecular and Cell Biology MCB 99/199 - Supervised Independent Study
Find own faculty sponsor. Available for research in non-MCB lab positions as well- must have MCB faculty sponsor. Available throughout the year, need to pay tuition for Summer units. Paperwork available on MCB website. Available to non-MCB students as well.
Music 199 - Supervised Independent Study and Research
Course is designed to allow for independent study, not internships. You can propose special studies in which an internship is the foundation for your academic work. Approach a faculty member (or several) directly to find a sponsor. Paperwork is available on the department homepage and in the office.
Native American Studies 197 Field Work in Native American Communities
Find own faculty advisor. Department has information on some established internship sites.
Nutritional Science and Toxicology 97/197- Field Study in Food and Nutritional Sciences
Find own faculty sponsor. Regular meetings with sponsor and written report required.
Political Economy of Industrial Societies 196-Special Field Research
197- Field Studies
199- Supervised Independent Study and Research for Undergraduates

Need to find own faculty sponsor. Forms available from staff advisors.
Political Science 196/199 - Special Research Project/Supervised Independent Study and Research for Undergraduates
Requires minimum of 10 pages of written work per unit of credit. Need faculty sponsor and approval from Department Chair.
Psychology   197 Field Work in Psychology
Find own faculty sponsor. Must be Psychology major. Student group can help you to find internship sites.
Public Policy Public Policy 198: Directed Group Study (1-4 units)
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
Grading option: Must be taken on a 'passed/not passed' basis.
Description: Group study of a selected topic or topics in Public Policy. Meetings to be arranged.
Public Policy 199: Supervised Independent Study and Research (1-4 units)
Prerequisites: Upper division standing.
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
Grading option: Must be taken on a 'passed/not passed' basis.
Description: For upper division students wishing to pursue special study and directed research under direction of a member of the staff. Enrollment restrictions apply; see the Introduction to Courses and Curricula section of this catalog
Sociology 197- Field Study in Sociology
Credit can be earned for study done in conjunction with internship. Find own faculty sponsor. Written assignment and regular meetings expected.
Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies 197 Field Studies in Technical Theater
Set up internship. Discuss proposal and unit value with faculty supervisor. Submit application with faculty supervisor signature, and if a major, Major Advisor signature, before beginning the project. Acquire course control number from SAO. P/NP course only. Must have completed 60 units. Cannot be a paid position. Course may be repeated for credit. Faculty Supervisor required to participate in ongoing discussions and/or schedule regular meetings with student. Faculty Supervisor communicates with internship site supervisor regularly. Faculty Supervisor submits grade for work.
Urban Studies 197 - Field Studies (1-3 units)
Supervised experiences in the study of off-campus organizations relevant to specific aspects of city planning. Regular individual meetings with faculty sponsor and a written report are required. Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis. Fall/Spring semesters only.
199 - Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates (1-4 units)
Supervised individual study relevant to specific aspects of city planning. Regular individual meetings with faculty sponsor and a written report are required. Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis. Fall/Spring semesters only.
Women's Studies 197 - Internship
Find own faculty sponsor. Requires regular meetings with faculty sponsor and written project.

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