What Is An Internship?

An internship is a short-term, hands-on, supervised work experience with a professional organization that increases your knowledge of a professional career field. It differs from a part-time job or volunteer experience in that an internship is designed to increase your knowledge, allow you to develop additional skills, and provides quality supervision to guide and mentor you.

  • The business name is not easily identifiable and no clear business website is listed. Or, if there is a website, there is no substance to the content.
  • The email address of the ‘recruiter’ doesn’t point to a business website and/or is a Gmail, yahoo, aol, etc. address. Another indicator is if their email domain name doesn’t match the business they claim to be working for.
  • The employer offers to send a check to you to deposit into your own account. You are told to keep a percentage of it for your own pay but are then asked to withdraw cash, using it to pay for various items that they ship to ‘clients’. Or you are asked to immediately transfer funds from your account to the ‘employers’ business accounts. After the check clears (which can take a few days to a few weeks), they are discovered to be fraudulent.
  • The job is advertised as high-paying, no experience necessary, work your own hours, work at home and so on – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!
  • The job duties described are vague and/or the language is poor and full of grammatical errors.
  • The job duties entail clerical work at home, typing, shipping packages, and personal assistant/shopping duties. Oftentimes the employer is out of the country and never actually interviews or meets you face-to-face.
  • The employer requires you to pay money or a ‘membership fee’ in order to access opportunities.
For-Credit Internships For-credit internships allow you to earn university course credit while interning. Guidelines for earning credit vary by academic department. Your department may have specific criteria for their internships and will determine if your internship meets the necessary requirements to earn academic credit. Cost: You are responsible for paying the cost of the credit/course with your tuition. Use the University’s Tuition Calculator to estimate tuition for the number of internship credits you plan to register for. Non-Credit Internships Non-credit internships are arranged and completed independently by you. While these experiences are independent, we encourage you to seek positions that include a learning agreement outlining: what skills and knowledge will be gained, projects to be completed during the internship, the duration of the internship, identification of a professional supervisor and/or mentor, and clear expectations about compensation and hours.

All internships must provide mentoring, professional supervision, learning about the career field, planned learning goals regardless of whether or not the student earns credit or not for the experience. Only the University and the department granting the credit can determine if an internship meets the educational criteria necessary for academic credit. A quality internship does not exploit or take advantage of you, the student.

If you have an unpaid internship, we encourage you to review the guidelines outlined by the Department of Labor in the Fair Labor Standards Act and to ask your potential internship employer if they are aware of the guidelines. Most importantly, prior to starting, you should obtain a written learning agreement with your potential employer that outlines what they will provide in terms of compensation before accepting an internship position. If there are questions, seek clarification from the employer and/or guidance from your Career Coach in either the Career & Professional Development Center or Business Career Services.

Crimson Projects


The Crimson Projects program is a new offering provided by Crimson Internships at the University of Utah’s Career Services office. Like an Internship, Crimson Projects provide students with experiential professional development, while companies enjoy early access to talented U students. As a special Internship program, Crimson Projects focuses deeper in the mentoring aspect in developing students, with learning objectives, while working on a specific need of the participating company.

Learn more

CareerS Internship Program (CSIP)

Sign up for CSIP if you want to receive academic credit for your internship, but your major does not currently offer credit for internships.

If you would like to apply for CSIP, please print out and read the following documents carefully. Once you have reviewed the documents make an appointment with your CPDC career coach:



Please contact our team to learn more.