What is an Internship?
The NDSU Career and Advising Center defines an internship as a work experience related to students’ academic majors or career goals which is taken for academic credit. Employers hire internship students to achieve company goals by providing work opportunities to students whose skill sets are relevant to the position offered.
Why participate in an Internship Experience?
- Test a career decision before graduation
- Gain a competitive edge in the professional job market
- Gain “real life” experience
- Earn money to help with college expenses
- Network with professionals and potential employers
- Improve resume writing, job searching, and interviewing skills
What kind of employers or work sites might I find?
You will find a broad range of opportunities. Some are large corporations representing a wide scope of career fields, such as: technology, manufacturing, financial services, sales, and communications. Many students work in smaller businesses, gaining important entrepreneurial experience. Others are employed at nonprofit agencies and government offices.
Will I have enough of the skills that employers might expect?
Employers realize students are developing their skills as they continue their education and plan appropriate work for student interns.
Will other students be working there?
It depends on the employer. Smaller businesses are less likely to have other students, while larger companies may employ multiple students each term.
How can I work and still be a student?
By registering for 3 credits through the NDSU Career and Advising Center ( or work 300+ hours in a given semester) students maintain a full-time student status even if they are not taking any additional credits. (*International students may need to be enrolled in additional credits, depending on their immigration status.) During this time, student loans do not enter repayment, students maintain access to all NDSU services and amenities, and are able to register for courses and return to campus easily once finished with their internship.
How does an internship fit into my schedule?
Internship experiences may be completed during any semester. Options include:
- Parallel: Students work part-time with a local employer and still take classes at NDSU
- Alternating: Students alternate between attending classes on campus full-time for a semester and working full-time on an internship assignment for a semester
- One Semester: Students work on an internship assignment for one semester only
- Consecutive: Students work 2 or 3 semesters in a row
How do I find an internship?
There are always many internship opportunities posted on Handshake. All students have access to this system and can search for job and internship opportunities, research employers in desired industries, stay up-to-date on market and salary trends, and much more! NDSU students have access to this tool for life! You can also check out our How to Find and Internship resource page for more ideas.
How many credits can I earn?
Credits earned based on the number of hours worked per semester.
- 100-199 hours per semester = 1 credit
- 200-299 hours per semester = 2 credits
- 300+ hours per semester = 3 credits
*Please note that some departments have different hour/credit requirements.
Students can register up to 12 credits with the Internship Program during the course of their programs at NDSU.
Are there enrollment requirements?
- Minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA prior to internship registration
- Internship is directly related to the student’s academic major and/or career goals
- Duties are clearly defined and at the professional or paraprofessional level
- Students must be engaged in learning by actively participating in the work experience
- Students must work on-site (working remotely is not allowed)
- Students must be paid at least minimum wage (according to the state in which they are working) OR must go through another approval process if they are unpaid experiences
- Students must be covered under their employer’s Worker’s Compensation insurance or comparable vocational training insurance
Why would I want to register for internship credits instead of just working a part-time job?
Students who participate in an internship experience are stronger job applicants after they graduate because they have acquired prior, related experience generally sought by employers.
Additionally, students registered for the program have the benefit of maintaining a full-time student status and have the academic credits reflected on their transcripts.
How do I register for internship credits?
Steps to apply for credit through the Internship Program:
1. Submit your information to the Career and Advising Center’s Internship Program Registration Portal.
- Sign in with your NDSU credentials.
- Complete your online profile.
- To submit your internship/co-op record, follow these directions.
2. Schedule an appointment with your faculty advisor or internship advisor.
- Ensure your internship meets department requirements.
- Receive details for any additional assignments you may need to complete during the course of your internship.
3. Wait to receive confirmation from the Career and Advising Center’s Internship Program Team.
- A member of the Internship Program Team will process your record and contact your site supervisor and faculty advisor.
- The Internship Program will also enroll you for the correct internship course on Campus Connection. **Students cannot enroll themselves for courses associated with the Internship Program.
- You will receive confirmations and updates about your internship and the Internship Program via your NDSU email account.
What is the cost?
Credits are billed at the in-state tuition rate and are based on a student’s major, plus university/student fees. It is important to note these internship credits are not covered under the tuition cap.
Students are responsible for paying for their credits, unless covered by the employer or a third party. A growing number of employers are making the investment in NDSU students by paying the cost of the student’s credits. However, this is not a requirement of the employer, and will depend upon each individual experience.
How does an internship fit into graduation requirements?
Every college recognizes internship credits differently, so it is important for students to discuss where these credits will be applied to their curriculum with their faculty advisor. Most commonly, students use the internship credits in the following areas:
- Fulfill a curriculum requirement
- Technical elective credits
- Free elective credits
How are internship experiences graded?
- Undergraduate students are graded Pass/Fail and Graduate students are graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.
- “Pass”grades do not affect students’ GPA; “Fail” grades are calculated into students’ GPA
- Graduate students’ GPA is not affected unless the internship is part of a student’s course plan
- If all required items are not returned on time, students will receive an incomplete grade. An incomplete grade must be resolved by mid-term of the following semester or it will be converted into a failing grade.
- Credits are not given a letter grade intentionally. Internship experiences are intended to give students the opportunity to test a career path, not to impact their GPA.
What is needed to earn a Passing or Satisfactory grade?
All students are required to:
- Complete a Student Internship Record with the Career and Advising Center
- Complete a Midterm Self-Evaluation (distributed via students’ NDSU email)
- Complete a Final Self-Evaluation (distributed to students’ NDSU email)
- Ensure their site supervisor completes an Employer Final Evaluation (sent to the email provided for the internship supervisor).
- Complete any additional assignments required by a student’s internship faculty advisor (students should check with their faculty advisors for details on assignment requirements). Once the advisor reviews the assignment(s), the advisor will notify the Career and Advising Center of their completion.
Under what circumstances would I receive a Failing or Unsatisfactory grade?
- The student does not return required documentation by midterm of the following semester
- The student separates employment early without due cause
- The student is terminated from employment for poor performance or unprofessional conduct
Is financial aid available?
Yes. NDSU Financial Aid & Scholarship Office will evaluate a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid based on their number of enrolled credits. If the student is enrolled for credits in addition to their internship experience, they will count toward total enrollment for financial aid awarding purposes. Students working 300+ hours in a co-op or internship in a given semester will qualify for full-time student status for financial aid purposes if they are enrolled in the Internship Program.
Types of federal aid that students may be awarded include the Pell Grant, Direct Loans, and SEOG. Federal Work-Study is not awarded since the student is already employed. Students who graduate from a North Dakota high school will also receive consideration for the North Dakota State Grant. Eligibility for federal and state aid can only be determined after the student has completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Students with additional costs associated with an internship such as dual housing (maintaining housing both locally and in the city of the internship), commuting costs, required uniforms or clothing for a specific dress code, etc., may be eligible for additional loans. For consideration, a Budget Adjustment Form must be submitted at http://www.ndsu.edu/bisonconnection/finaid/other/budget_increase_request/. For more information about financial aid, contact One Stop at (701).231.6200.
Does an incomplete grade affect financial aid for the following semester?
Yes. Incomplete grades are treated as unsuccessfully completed courses for financial aid purposes during the evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). If a student’s financial aid is affected, the student will receive an email from the financial aid office alerting them of their SAP status of either financial aid warning or financial aid disqualification. When an incomplete grade is changed, the Career and Advising Center will contact Financial Aid & Scholarships to notify them of the grade change and the student’s SAP status will be recalculated. For more information on SAP, contact One Stop at (701).231.6200.
Are there additional requirements for international students?
“Yes. Although the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) considers the Internship Program a form of curricular practical training (CPT), F-1 students must complete a full academic year (2 semester – fall and spring, excluding summer) at NDSU prior to participating in an off-campus experience.”
Prior to registering for internship credits, students need to contact the International Students and Study Abroad Services to complete the CPT application.
For more information, contact the International Students and Study Abroad Services at (701).231.7895.
How do I drop or change internship credits?
Please contact the Internship Program Team to discuss the process: 701-231-7112.