Internship Resources for Faculty and Students

Internships are an excellent pathway by which students can investigate how academic learning stacks alongside application of that learning in a real time setting.   Students learn, for example, the connections between working in groups in an academic setting, and team based work in the field.

Internship resources have been prepared to assist you in developing an internship.

Internships are an excellent pathway by which students can investigate how academic learning stacks alongside application of that learning in a real time setting. Students learn, for example, the connections between working in groups in an academic setting, and team based work in the field.

Internships are not volunteer positions! They are academically driven opportunities to professionally develop with guidance from mentors and from supervisors on site.

Internships can be paid or unpaid positions. They can be a way to earn academic credit while making vital connections in the student's field. Students can and do have opportunities to both earn credit and be paid during an internship.

Internships also often offer a career pathway. Employers might use internship positions to vet prospective employees or to test the need for a specific position. In addition to applying academic work to professional opportunities, students can also "test drive" a potentially new career path.

Popular press articles and journals closely aligned with following higher education agree that internships are a critical part of the degree plan. See, for example, this article from The Atlantic Monthly, that references this study conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Completed in 2012, the study outlines the important role higher education can play in preparing students for the workplace. Internships are one pathway to said preparation.

This trend holds for "non traditional" adult learners as well. All research points to the fact that the "non traditional" student is in fact the "new traditional" learner. These distinctions are not semantic, and adult learners widely benefit from internship opportunities. A publication from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) describes several theoretical frameworks used to understand adults learners. No matter the theoretical lens, characteristics of adult learners suggest that internship opportunities would align well with this diverse population.

Download the Internship Process Visual (PDF 113kB). It shows the responsibilities of the mentor, the student, and Career Services during the internship process. It also lists useful internship sites.

Register an internship

Career Services Internship information

We ask that students who have obtained an internship register with career services. This allows us to track where our students have had experiences and provides a resource for future students. During the internship, career services will reach out to the site supervisor both midway and at the end of the internship to request a student evaluation. Completed feedback forms are sent to the mentor. Students will also be asked to complete an evaluation of the organization at the end of the internship.

Students and mentors should be aware of the following definitions and distinctions

Affiliation Agreement: Affiliation Agreements, or memorandums of understanding, are between an organization and SUNY Empire College, which generates a Certificate of Liability Insurance. This is often a requirement for students who are working in an unpaid internship and serving a vulnerable population/service industry. Students who are participating in a paid internship will not be able to obtain a Certificate of Liability Insurance because they are employees/temporary employees of the organization.

Applied Learning: Applied learning refers to an educational approach whereby students learn by engaging in direct application of skills, theories and models. Students apply knowledge and skills gained from traditional classroom learning to hands-on and/or real-world settings, creative projects or independent or directed research, and in turn apply what is gained from the applied experience to academic learning. The applied learning activity can occur outside of the traditional classroom experience and/or be embedded as part of a course.

Internship: An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers/organizations the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.

Service Learning: Service learning centers around students conducting a community service project as part of a course. Courses and projects should rely on student leadership, reflection and assessment. This integration provides a connection and builds relationships with the students, faculty, college and local community.

Title IX Legislation: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Title IX Coordinator: The individual at the college who has a duty to promptly respond to complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence in a way that limits its effects and prevents its recurrence.

Office of Career Services: located with the Office of Collegewide Student Affairs in Saratoga Springs, New York. The office falls under the auspices of the Office of Academic Affairs and the Provost.

Title IX Legislation: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

The State University of New York, Empire State College in its continuing effort to seek equity in education and employment, and in support of federal and state anti-discrimination legislation, has adopted a complaint procedure for the prompt and equitable investigation and resolution of allegations of unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction. Harassment is one form of unlawful discrimination on the basis of the above protected categories. The University will take steps to prevent discrimination and harassment, to prevent the recurrence of discrimination and harassment, and to remedy its discriminatory effects on the victim(s) and others, if appropriate. Conduct that may constitute harassment is described in the Definitions section. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual violence. Retaliation against a person who files a complaint, serves as a witness, or assists or participates in any manner in this procedure is strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.

College Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Policy: The college’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Policies include the definition of Affirmative Consent and the Student’s Bill of Rights. Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given in words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

  • Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.
  • Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Consent may be withdrawn at any time.
  • Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, i.e., when he or she lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
  • Consent cannot be given under conditions of coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm. 
  • When consent is withdrawn, or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop. 

The complete SUNY Empire State College’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Policy, including the Student’s Bill of Rights, and resources is located on the college’s Policies and Procedures website.

Title IX Coordinator: The individual at the college who has a duty to promptly respond to complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence in a way that limits its effects and prevents its recurrence. If you need to report a complaint, please contact:

  • Kerianne Silver, Title IX Coordinator, Director of Collegewide Student Services, Office of Academic Affairs:

Notification: SUNY Empire State College students and employers/organizations hosting SUNY Empire State College students as interns will receive information regarding our Title IX policy.

SUNY Empire State College enjoys a rich tradition of acknowledging the rich academic relevance of learner knowledge gained outside, and in advance of, beginning studies at ESC.

Internships are distinguished from assessment for prior learning in a few ways. The most important is that the internship is an opportunity integrated into degree plan under the residency requirement credit hours taken at Empire State College. By implication, the learning from this experience will be new or emergent.

Students may indeed wish to explore credit for prior learning based on learning gained from internships or other rich applied learning environments in which they participated before starting studies at SUNY ESC.

The discussion(s) of how assessment for prior learning and the academic and professional goals of an internship while a student at ESC can inform thoughtful degree design is advanced in the on-going consultative and guiding exchanges between mentor and learner.


Students will be assessed by both the instructor for the course and by the site supervisor.  Site supervisors should be prepared to give cogent, specific feedback about the intern to the mentor, and the mentor can then incorporate this feedback into study assessment. 



  • Have conversation with mentor
  • Obtain internship
  • Register for internship study
  • Complete internship registration with career services.

Primary Mentor *

  • Advise student on integration of internship in the student's degree plan
  • Recommend instructor

Mentor/Instructor for Internship Study *

  • Develop Learning Contract - including academic components, number of credits, level of study, and whether it meets general education requirements.
  • Provides on-going guidance and feedback
  • Determines and enters final, evaluative grade to Empire State College

* The primary mentor and the mentor/instructor for the Internship study may or may not be the same individual. These guidelines are intended to cover both scenarios.

Career Services

  • Career guidance
  • Coordinate Affiliation Agreements
  • Facilitate locating resources
  • Reaches out to internship supervisor at the onset of the internship and midway and at the end of the internship for feedback on intern.
  • Share feedback with mentor.

Internship Organization

  • Provide an internship that has a job description and provides for learning, experience, feedback to the student. Internships should be project based, with rich opportunities for academic, professional, and personal growth as per student goals.
  • Respond to feedback requests
  • Site Supervision

Here are some internship opportunities at SUNY Empire State College. This list is by no means exhaustive! We are building connections with organizations with which we have developed relationships, so students and mentors should contact Career Services for suggestions.

  1. State Education Department
    SUNY, Empire State College and SED have an agreement where will offer SED internships across the state to students. They are paid internships (the student is initially paid by the college and reimbursed). They consist of a variety of opportunities that change as needs as arise. We have had three students do these internships.
  2. Human Service Agency
    These internships are individual and group agreements with human service agencies. In Brooklyn, Mentors Gina Tironi places her students in human service agencies as a regular part of her courses.
  3. ESC College Internship
    Students can be paid or unpaid interns at the college itself. Students have done internships such as editor of the student newsletter, marketing, social media. It depends on the department if they are paid and if there are funds available.
  4. Legislative Internships
    Many ESC students have participated in these internships that are at the state legislature in Albany. It is an intense program and the students must apply for it.
  5. IT Internships
    Students can pursue IT internships in both government and private industry. One needs to plan accordingly, particularly in government and banking positions. Depending on the internship, security clearances and background checks may be a mandatory part of the process and require a longer timeline to the overall application process.
  6. Business Internships
    Various companies offer internship possibilities and most when approached are open to the idea. Currently, we have students at Colgate-Palmolive in Manhattan, UPS in Buffalo, SUNY Cooperstown Graduate Program and Keeler Motor Car in Latham. Each student is in the human resource field.
  7. Non- Profit Internships (including Associations)
    There are numerous internships in this area both paid and unpaid. Often they are just there for the asking.
  8. Office of the State Controller, Future Forward Internship Academy
    This is a summer internship opportunity where students must be available full-time for 13 weeks. There are 4 different tracks: Auditing, Business Management & Accounting, Human Resources & Administration and Project Management. Students will work have 22.5 hours in class/experiential learning and 15 hours on agency payroll. Depending on the track, they will receive either 12 or 13 upper level credits
  9. Museum Internships
    Students pursuing an advanced certificate in Public History must pursue an opportunity within a history museum to produce an exhibit. Recently, we have had students at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, the Mahwah Museum in New Jersey.

Example Internship Course Syllabus (file 37kB). An Internship Syllabus should cover the internship's Purpose, Learning Outcomes, Learning Activities, Criteria for Evaluation, and Plan for Formative Assessment.


We’re here to help.

SUNY Empire State 1 Stop Student Services is a partner in your successful college experience. Check out their website at, contact, or call them!

800-847-3000, ext. 2285