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Explore the information below to learn about academic internships at HCC.

An academic internship is three-way partnership between a student, a faculty sponsor, and a community partner, which links classroom learning with real-world experience in a professional setting.

The main priority of an academic internship is to provide students with a learning experience during which they gain new knowledge by performing tasks, working on projects, completing other on-the-job learning experiences, and through mentoring. They are usually the length of a semester, part-time, and can be paid or unpaid. 

Combining productive work with academic learning is a proven method for promoting the academic, personal, and career development of students!

The faculty sponsor's role is to oversee the academic integrity of the internship and to act as a mentor providing the student intern with continuous direction and support.

Participate in the initial meeting with the ExL coordinator, student, and site supervisor to define the responsibilities of each participant. 

Collaborate with the student to create learning objectives.

Create and review meeting schedules, grading methods, and responsibilities and expectations.

Create assignments to achieve the desired learning outcomes and provide feedback.

Assist with making connections between what the student is experiencing and what they are studying.

Provide continuous direction and support ensuring a productive learning experience.

Monitor progress by communicating with the site supervisor and reviewing mid-term and final assessments.

At midterm review learning objectives to affirm the original objectives are still appropriate and obtainable, making modifications if necessary.

Assist student and site supervisor with addressing/resolving issues that may arise.

Communicate concerns or special issues to the ExL coordinator.

Provide the final grade abiding by deadlines set forth by the Registrar.

The Learning Agreement is a contract that defines the terms of the internship and outlines the academic responsibilities and obligations of the student intern, faculty sponsor, and site supervisor.


The six learning outcomes serve as guidelines for the academic credibility and transferability of the internship. These outcomes are in accordance with the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education and the NSEE Eight Principles for Good Practice that encompass career, professional, personal, technical, theoretical, and analytical skills relevant for student internship experiences in all academic disciplines.

  1. Develop technical skills and professional communications in a work setting
  2. Utilize industry and organizational structures, culture, and ethics
  3. Apply and reflect on the connections to academic theory and practice
  4. Apply critical thinking, research, and problem-solving skills
  5. Develop awareness of self, others, and social responsibility in a work, career, and global context
  6. Establish a network of professional contacts, mentors, and references

Academic internships assume a certain amount of work and time spent at the internship site. The credits earned are not tied solely to hours "on the job," but to the amount and type of academic work assigned by the faculty sponsor. Assignments must also align with the number of credits earned. Academic internships carry one, two, or three credits.

# of credits earned # of hours with student (per semester)
1 credit 3.5 hours
2 credits 6.5 hours
3 credits 10 hours

The academic work of the internship is defined by the faculty sponsor and could include:

  • Reflective journaling
  • Compiling portfolios
  • Writing integrative papers
  • Periodic discussions (in-person and/or online) of student intern's progress at the internship site and on their academic assignments

As academic internships are a form of experiential learning, they are based on activity that is reflected upon. Learning that is considered "experiential" contains all of the following elements:

  1. Reflection, critical analysis, and synthesis
  2. Opportunities for students to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results
  3. Opportunities for students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially,and/or physically
  4. A designed learning experience that includes the possibility to learn from naturalconsequences, mistakes, and successes

1 credit = 45 hours and 3 credits = 135 hours

# of credits # hours student works in field # of hours faculty spends with student per semester Compensation
1 credit 45 3.5 hours 1 student = $143
10 students = $1,430
2 credits 90 6.5 hours 1 student = $286
10 students = $2,860
3 credits 135 10 hours 1 student = $430
9 students = $3,870
10 students = part of workload
  • Full-time HCC faculty 
  • Adjunct faculty with experience at HCC

Note: Faculty sponsors are advised to have subject matter-related knowledge related to the internship.

Interested in serving as an AI Faculty Sponsor - complete the AI Faculty Sponsor Form