Guidelines for Academic Internship Proposals

Academic Internship Proposal Guidelines

The success of your academic internship will depend in large measure on the development of a well-conceived and complete proposal. You should work with the Internship Coordinator, the On-Site Supervisor, and especially the Faculty Supervisor, to develop such a proposal. Your proposal should be 2- 3 typed pages, have one inch margins, and use the bolded subtitle formatting demonstrated below.  Proposals must contain the following elements:

Company Description:
Describe the organization you will be working for–why you chose them, what they do, who they serve, how you found out about them, etc.

Learning Goals:
Write three to four learning goals you hope to accomplish by means of the internship and how these relate to your academic interests and/or career goals. Also describe how you will assess your goals: evaluation process, self-assessment, what criteria you will use, who will help judge, etc.

Questions that might help you get started on the process of identifying learning goals are “Why do I want this internship?” “What do I want to learn from this internship?”  More specific questions that might help you identify your learning goals are:

  • Do I want to explore a broad career area (such as work in a radio station or an attorney’s office) or do I want to learn something more specific?  If so, what?
  • What new knowledge sets do I want to develop for myself (i.e., how to use a new computer program, or how a marketing plan is created)?
  • Am I interested in enhancing my skills, such as teamwork or communicating with a wide variety of individuals, or become proficient with a computer program I have used a few times?
  • Do I want to see what it is like to work in a specific sort of setting, such as a multi-national corporation, or a suburban branch office?
  • In what ways do I anticipate using what I have learned in the classroom in my internship?

Writing learning goals: Articulating what you want to learn from an internship requires some thought.  It’s a good idea to:

  • Begin with a general idea of what you want to learn;
  • Refine and develop this idea though discussions with the internship coordinator, your faculty supervisor and your on-site supervisor and;
  • Write down the results of the process as a number of concrete learning goals.

Activities, Tasks and Projects: After you have indentified your learning goals, the next step is to work out how these goals can be reached.  This involves identifying the sort of experiences and tasks that are available at the internship site and seeing how they connect with your goals, through discussions with your on-site supervisor.  The following suggestions should help you dentify how you will meet your goals:

  • Discuss with the on-site supervisor what you hope to learn, and find out what tasks and projects you will have during the internship.
  • Find out how you will be expected to learn – will you work beside staff members, or shadow a worker, or be responsible for a specific project?
  • Keep asking about the tasks and daily activities so that both you and your on-site supervisor have a shared understanding of what is to be done, and how, and include these activities in your internship proposal.

Course Work: A description of your previous course work and/or personal experience which are relevant to and thus constitute a background for the internship.

On-Site Supervision:
Describe in as much detail as possible the on-site supervision to be provided–what kind of orientation, assistance, specific meeting times, etc.

Faculty Supervision:
Include the arrangements which have been made regarding the frequency, manner and content of contacts between you and your Faculty Supervisor during your internship.

Reading Requirement:
You are required to develop a substantial reading list in consultation with your faculty supervisor and on-site supervisor. Make sure the reading material you select relates to your proposed internship in a way that will be beneficial to your experience.

Academic Work:
Include a statement that you understand the academic requirements of an analytical essay and a public presentation at the completion of your internship. Also, include other kinds of academic work (e.g., daily journals [see attached reflection/journal suggestions], periodic reports, specific department requirements), that might be required by the faculty supervisor in addition to the readings, presentation, and essay.  (If you keep a journal and send it to your faculty supervisor, please copy the Internship Coordinator – students who are to journal for Spanish are not required to send materials to the Internship Coordinator.)

Note well:
While the public presentation may focus on describing the internship experience, the culminating essay is to be considerably more than that.  It should not only describe the experience but also analyze and evaluate it from the perspective of the theoretical knowledge derived from the student's course work, generally, and his/her reading list for the internship, specifically.

Talk to your faculty supervisor and make sure you understand how you will be graded on your internship. Include a statement of the weight to be assigned to each of the various components of your work (on-site supervisor's evaluation, public presentation, concluding analytical essay, journals, reports, etc.) in arriving at the final grade.  Also, include under this subtitle a tentative date that you will be giving your internship presentation.  Your faculty supervisor and the Internship Coordinator must be present for the presentation, so the best way to determine a date that works best for all is to work with Sue Tilley or David Harden, in addition to your faculty supervisor.  (Final arrangements detailing the date, time and location of the presentation must be made by September 30th and the presentation itself must be completed by November 15th for Summer Internships.)

Submitting your Internship Proposal:

Once you have completed your internship proposal, send a copy to your on-site supervisor and one copy to your faculty supervisor.  You must make an appointment with the Internship Coordinator and bring a copy of the proposal to that appointment.  The coordinator will then give you an Application/Signature form; you will need to return the completed Application/Signature form along with a copy of your résumé (if you needed a résumé to apply for your internship position).  You, your on-site supervisor and your faculty supervisor will need to sign the Signature side of the form and you will need to return it to the Internship Coordinator at least two weeks before the internship starts.  An initial draft of your proposal should be developed and submitted to your faculty supervisor in sufficient time to allow him/her to review the statement and for you to revise the proposal as necessary before the deadline for its submission.