The Economics Department supports internships whenever, in the judgment of the department, the internship substantially adds to the student’s background in economics. The internship must in some significant way be relevant to the discipline and offer an educational opportunity not found in traditional course work.
The department believes that internships can be important to a student’s educational experience for many reasons. It will, however, specifically evaluate internship proposals on the basis of their academic merit. Approval of an internship proposal is based on the quality of a student’s proposal and the academic character of the candidate. The department is selective in its sponsorship of students and selective in its acceptance of internship sites.
The following policies and procedures supplement the general guidelines of the Internship Office.
The department believes that a student embarking on an internship should exhibit academic qualities that provide evidence that he or she will benefit from the program. Besides meeting the College’s minimum academic criteria, the student should demonstrate self-direction and the ability to work independently. Students should have completed four semesters of college work before they will be considered for an internship.
An internship will generally not count toward a student’s concentration requirements. That is to say, an internship is an extra opportunity and not a substitute for a “regular” elective listed in the catalog.
In cases of special hardship or other need, a student may petition the department for a waiver on this rule. Such petitions should be directed in writing to the department chair. If the department is inclined to allow substitution of an internship in lieu of a regular economics elective, a recommendation to that effect will be made to the Internship Director and the Registrar.
The department will only consider internships that have a significant bearing on the subject of economics. The more peripheral to obvious economics concerns the internship is, the greater the amount of supplementary reading and writing a student must be prepared to do to earn three or four academic credits. The department will look more favorably on proposals that relate in a substantial way to course work that the student has already completed. It is hoped that the internship will provide the opportunity to apply the knowledge that the student has gained in the classroom.
An economics student may select an internship that is more pertinent to other disciplines. In that case the student should seek sponsorship from a faculty member in the appropriate department and will receive credit from that department. The department will continue to welcome students in other majors who wish to pursue an economics internship. Such students must at least have completed EC101 and EC103 (no exceptions) and will be expected to meet our other criteria. The student will be assigned an academic coordinator (see below), who will meet regularly with the student throughout the internship. The student and academic coordinator will prepare a list of assignments related to the project and agree on the mode of evaluation. The coordinator will consult with the on-site supervisor and will bear responsibility for grading the student upon the completion of the internship.
Generally, an internship will be for four credits, though proposals for exceptional situations will be considered. The decision regarding credits will be based upon the academic value of the internship.
It is the student’s responsibility to arrange for an internship and to make a case to the department for its approval. After preliminary discussions with the Internship Coordinator and tentative selection of internship site possibilities, in most cases a student will then make preliminary contact with the department chair. The chair then will recommend a particular faculty member to supervise the internship, taking into account both the topic of the internship and the need for an equitable distribution of workload among department members. Sometimes the chair may grant initial approval in principle for a student to pursue an internship prior to the student’s having identified a specific site. In all cases the chair should receive a copy of the final internship agreement.
The Internship Coordinator will guide students through the paperwork process, the interview with potential site coordinators, and so on, but the faculty supervisor must approve the academic content of the internship. The academic expectations associated with internships will be individually specified to mesh with site-specific opportunities, the student’s background, and the number of credits requested. The Internship Coordinator can provide examples of “typical” internship agreements to serve as the basis for student negotiation with the faculty supervisor. It is in everybody’s interest to have clear evaluation guidelines spelled out in writing.