CMSC 388 Internship Guidelines

Within the computer science program, an internship is broadly defined as a significant experience outside of regular coursework in which a student is called upon to apply information that he\she has learned in computer science courses. There are two types of internships: internships for pay and internships for academic credit. Both types can be beneficial to the student, by bringing classroom material to life, by helping to narrow or broaden post-college choices, and by adding experience to the student’s resume.

Internships for Pay

Because there is no academic credit involved, internships for pay do not appear on a student’s transcript. Nevertheless, the paid internship can be a valuable resume addition. Work experience related to coursework gives the student a new perspective on the material she\he has obtained in a class. Furthermore, supervisors make excellent sources for letters of reference when a student is seeking his\her first job.

Because academic credit is not an issue with paid internships, there is no formal process that a student needs to go through in order to participate. A student should discuss his plans with his major advisor.

The best source for finding a paid internship is Career Services. Career Services provides access to a nationwide database of more than 25,000 internship and summer job opportunities. You may also subscribe to their Intern List to receive internship information via email. Some information may also be available from the chair of the Department of Computer Science.

Internships for Credit

Unpaid internships supplemented with an academic component offer the same non-monetary benefits as paid internships. In order to for a student to receive academic credit for an internship, the internship must be supplemented with an academic component designed by a supervising faculty member. The following guidelines must also be adhered to:

I. Arts and Sciences Guidelines for Individual Internships for Academic Credit

  1. Each internship must include an academic component, such as readings, papers, tutorials, and/or seminars, which relates to the work being done by the student. The scope of the academic component will be left up to the discretion of each department giving internship credit.
  2. Students enrolling for an internship should be Juniors or Seniors and must have the approval of the department awarding credit prior to enrolling in the internship.
  3. An internship may be taken P/F at the discretion of the department.
  4. Usually, a student should work a minimum of 22 hours per semester on the job (does not include the academic component) to receive one quarter (.25) unit of academic credit. (During a regular semester this would mean a minimum of 3.15 hours of internship work each week for one-half unit credit.) Before the beginning of the semester in which a student is registered for an internship “course,” he or she, along with the appropriate supervisor, should define in writing the tasks and responsibilities to be performed on the job, should submit such a plan to the department awarding credit for its approval, and should define, with the advice and consent of an appropriate member of that department, the academic component of the internship.
  5. At the end of a student's internship, his or her job supervisor should submit a written evaluation of the student's work to the faculty member who is responsible for giving a grade to the student, which should be based on both his or her academic and non-academic work. Some consultation between the faculty member and the job supervisor regarding the student's performance on the job should also take place during the course of the internship.

II. Department of Computer Science Guidelines for Individual Internships for Academic Credit

  1. Students should be aware of the Arts and Sciences guidelines above. It is the student’s responsibility to find a faculty member willing to supervise the internship, and of course the job supervisor must also be willing to cooperate in following the procedures of the department and Arts & Sciences. The chair of the department can provide the student assistance in finding a faculty supervisor. Students must also submit an application for CMSC 388-Computer Science Internship.
  2. A student cannot be paid for internship work done for academic credit.
  3. As stated in the A&S guidelines, the internship must have an academic component that relates to the work being done by the student. Some examples of things that might be included in the academic component include seminars, readings, presentations, a written paper. The academic component is designed by the supervising faculty member.
  4. At the end of the student’s internship, the job supervisor will submit a written evaluation of the student’s work to the supervising faculty member.
  5. The supervising faculty member will determine the grade for the internship. At the time that the academic component is designed, the faculty member will specify how the grade will be determined. Part of the grade should be based on the job supervisor’s written evaluation of the student’s work.
  6. A student must apply prior to beginning the internship for academic credit. The application should include a complete statement of job responsibilities, typical job tasks, and a description of the academic component. The application will also include a statement by the supervising faculty member on how the grade will be determined. Both the supervising faculty member and the job supervisor should sign the application. A form for this purpose will be available in the department office.
  7. The department chair will appoint a faculty committee to review each request for academic credit for an internship.
  8. The number of units per internship is limited to 0.5 units. University rules state that no more than 1.5 units of internship credit can be obtained in the same department, and no more than 3.5 units of internship credit can be used toward graduation requirements.
  9. Credit for internships will not count towards the Computer Science major or minor.
  10. A computer science major should have completed CMSC 301, CMSC 315, and at least one CMSC elective at the 300 level. Requests for internships are not granted unless a student is maintaining at least a 3.0 grade point average in the major.
  11. After the internship experience is completed, the student will submit a complete report of the experience to the department chair.