Enrolled students may receive academic credit for an internship in lieu of, or in addition to, monetary compensation. (This is governed by state and federal law as well as institutional policy.) Academic credit for internships can be issued at the department level or through the Independent U.S. Summer Internship Credit Option.
Department-Level Academic Credit
Some departments offer courses that enable students to obtain academic credit for their internships. Courses are typically taken concurrently with the internship and supplement the experience with reflection and a substantial research project as course requirements. Depending on the department, it may be mandatory for your internship to be directly related to your major. Be aware that course offerings change from term to term and policies differ greatly from one department to the next.
Finding A Course
To pursue academic credit through an individual department at Berkeley, we recommend that you review the catalog to explore your options. Courses that offer academic credit for internships are often referred to as “field study”, “group study”, or “independent study”. They may also be called “internship” or “special field research.”
General information can be found in the Course Number Guide section of the Berkeley Academic Guide. Courses numbered 97, 98, 99, 194, 196, 197, 198, 199 are all possible sources of units for activities other than regular class work in which a student engages in an experience that enhances academic learning (97/197 are the most common).
For greater detail, we recommend looking at the Online Schedule of Classes where you can Search the Schedule of Classes for a particular term. We also recommend that you contact the relevant academic department(s). If your department doesn’t have any options, check with one that’s related to your internship. Some departments only permit students who are majoring with them, but there are many that don’t have that restriction.
When you contact the department or advising office, ask who would be the best person to talk to; typically this is the academic advisor, but not always. Inquire about how it works in that department and what your next steps should be (make an appointment, pick up paperwork, find a faculty sponsor, etc.) If you need a faculty sponsor, the department can help support the next steps or the best way to find one.
Some recommendations for finding faculty sponsors include:
- Approach someone you have had a class with.
- Ask friends for recommendations of professors they have had. Also, advisors may be willing to refer you to possible professors. They don’t have to, so ask nicely!
Requirements vary by department. The general guidelines offered here can give you an idea of what to expect and how to navigate:
- You must be enrolled as a student at time of internship, including summer internships
- An instructor is required to supervise your “study”. This may require approval from the dean of the department and/or major advisor. Your instructor may assign you written work, meetings with faculty sponsors, seminars, or other activities.
- A minimum GPA 2.0 to 3.3 is often required, depending on the department.
- Units are pass/not pass. You can take 4 units per semester and can apply 16 of them towards requirements for a bachelor’s degree. How many you take per semester depends on your situation and the department. The average is about 3 hours per week of internship per unit).
Community colleges often offer academic credit for internships in the form of cooperative education programs or classes in the appropriate departments. This may be an easier and more economical alternative. Information on most California Community Colleges is available online.
Employer Legal Forms & Liability
Employers often require interns to sign legal forms for liability reasons and other considerations. Students and advisors should refer to our Internship Legal & Liability Information (PDF) for guidance.
Although some employers require students to receive academic credit as a form of “payment” due to liability issues, they may be willing to classify you as a volunteer if receiving academic credit is not an option.
Occasionally, employers will ask students to have the university sign a partnership agreement. However, The University of California at Berkeley does not enter into formal internship partnerships with employers or sign internship liability waivers or contracts of any kind. The Cal Career Center does not create and/or manage internship programs for, or in partnership with, employers.
There are different requirements for International students who wish to obtain work authorization using the academic credit option. We strongly advise that you consult an SISS advisor at the Berkeley International Office.
Independent U.S. Summer Internship Credit Option
If you are doing a summer internship in the U.S., you may qualify for the Career Center’s Independent U.S. Summer Internship Credit Option. The program consists of an online Summer Sessions course taken concurrently with your approved internship, and gives you the means to receive academic credit for an internship that you have obtained on your own.
This program is a great opportunity for students who have found a summer internship and:
- Want to receive academic credit
- Want to reflect upon their internship experiences in a structured manner
- Have the time and bandwidth for additional coursework over the summer
The 2023 Application Window is now CLOSED.
- Application process opens: February 10, 2023
- Summer Sessions course enrollment opens: February 1, 2023
- Application deadline: May 12, 2023
- Deadline to enroll in UGIS C151 (once approved): May 19, 2023
- Course dates: June 5 – August 11, 2023
Please read the important information in each section below before applying:
In order to be eligible for this opportunity, you need to:
- Be a current UC Berkeley undergraduate student
- Have already accepted an internship for Summer 2023 (please contact us if your employer is requesting academic credit pre-approval before making you an offer)
- Not be enrolled in Global Internships concurrently
- You need to receive academic credit while you are in the internship.
- Your internship should involve professional work related to your career interests or academic major.
- Your internship should aid you with potential career opportunities and assist you in clarifying your personal career goals.
- Your internship has a clearly defined duration (typically, summer internships are 9-13 weeks long, 20 or more hours a week; inquire if you are unsure).
- A professional staff member from your internship employer will supervise you.
- Your internship can be paid or non-paid.
- Your internship should be located and completed in the United States. Remote internships based in the US are eligible.
Please Note: These guidelines are being used by the Career Center to determine whether academic credit should be granted for an internship and to provide criteria to assure the integrity of an internship. These guidelines exclude departmentally-based internship programs operated as part of an approved degree.
- Application Process
- Review the eligibility criteria above to see if you and your internship are eligible.
- Determine if getting credit for your internship is the right option for you.
- Fill out the application form below completely by May 12, 2023 (incomplete submissions will not be approved). The application link is at the bottom of this page.
- Your submission will be reviewed and approved or denied within one week of submission, unless notified otherwise.
- If approved, you will be emailed the Class Number for the online internship course, UGIS C151, offered through UC Berkeley Summer Sessions.
- Students who are approved must enroll in UGIS C151 by May 19, 2023.
- If you are an international student, your CPT form can be signed by Summer Sessions after you are approved and have enrolled in UGIS C151.
- Course Information
Once your internship has been approved by the Career Center, you will be given the Class Number to enroll in the following online course:
Course Number: UGIS C151
Course Title: Leadership: Purpose, Authority, and Empowerment
Instructor(s): Professor Dan Mulhern and Laura Andersen
Grading: P/NP or graded
Dates: June 5 – August 11, 2023
Description: UGIS C151 is an online course that facilitates students’ exploration of the concept of leadership, how it differs from authority, and how it feels when an authority figure fails to lead as expected. People are tremendously dependent on authority; expectations and assumptions about authority can impact how an authority figure has to lead.
Students will have the opportunity to develop leadership skills through experiential exercises, behavioral and self-assessments, case studies, class discussions, and lectures.
Please Note: You must obtain approval from the Career Center in order to enroll in this course. Students who have not obtained this approval will not be allowed to participate. If you enroll without the necessary approval, you will be automatically removed from the course. Enrollment in UGIS C151 must be completed by May 19, 2023. Late enrollments will NOT be accepted.
Students are encouraged to consult with their academic adviser to see which major/minor or breadth requirements this course may fulfill.
Note: This course is cross-listed with UGBA C155, which is available only to participants of the Summer Sessions Global Internship program. Though these two courses are cross-listed, UGIS C151 does not satisfy Haas upper division business credits and approval for the Independent U.S. Summer Internship Credit Option does not grant you access to enroll in UGBA C155.
- Tuition & Financial Aid
Summer Session fees are $419 per unit (2023), plus any additional registration or campus fees. This course is 3 units. For more information, refer to Registration Fees at http://summer.berkeley.edu/registration/fees
In order to qualify for financial aid, students must be registered for at least 6 units during the summer. This course is 3 units. You will need to enroll in an additional 3 units of coursework in order to qualify for aid.
Tuition and Refund Policy
Once you have registered, all course related fees will appear on your CalCentral account. A refund of unit fees will be issued if you cancel by the Friday of the first week of class. Regular Berkeley Summer Sessions refund policies and deadlines apply to the refund of unit fees. For detailed information about these policies, please go to: http://summer.berkeley.edu/registration/refund.
- Contact Information
UC Berkeley Career Center
Internship Program Staff
International students needing CPT Form sign-off or additional information, please contact:
Breanne Tcheng, Ed.D. (she/her)
Global Internships Program Coordinator
Summer Sessions, Study Abroad, & Lifelong Learning
- Application Form
Summer 2023 Application Period is Feb 10, 2023 - May 12, 2023
The 2023 Application Window is now OPEN.
APPLY NOW >>
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