Internships are a great way for employers to build relationships with students at the University of Iowa and recruit great talent into their organizations. What is an internship, how can I benefit from having one at my organization, and where do I go from here? The Experiential Education Team at the Pomerantz Career Center is here to help with your internship questions.

What is an Internship?

An internship is a hands-on work experience where students apply the principles they've learned in the classroom to a real-world setting. An internship should be designed to meet both the needs of the organization and learning goals of the student. It should have pre-set goals outlined by the employer and agreed upon between the employer and student to ensure all expectations are met.

Internship Basics:

  • Internships should balance the work needs of the organization and the learning goals of the intern
  • Internships promote academic, career, and/or personal development
  • Internships may be paid or unpaid and can be full-time or part-time
  • Internships are distinguished from a short-term job or volunteer experience in that there is an intentional learning agenda structured into the experience
  • The duration may be anywhere from eight weeks to two years, but typically last the course of a semester

In summary, an internship program should provide the student with meaningful work experience, and the employer with a qualified pre-professional to carry out the work. An internship should not be created solely to carry-out clerical and/or less desirable tasks; interns should be challenged by and learn from their internship in ways that contribute to their educational and career goals.


University of Iowa Internship Requirements

Note: These are minimum requirements for an employer to post an internship with the University of Iowa. Certain academic departments may have different requirements for their internship courses.

  • Professional experience which relates to student's major field or area of career interest
  • At least 80% professional work
  • Occupies at least one academic term (fall, spring or summer)
  • At least 10 weeks during spring or fall term, or 8 weeks in summer
  • Full or part-time intern must work a minimum of 10 hours per week
  • Requires continuous supervision by a professional in the field (not a student)
  • Students must be at least a sophomore or above (must have completed at least 12 semester hours of UI coursework)


Benefits of an Internship

Benefits for Employers

  • Recruitment and Training Cost Savings
    • Flexible, cost-effective workforce not requiring a long-term employer commitment
    • Proven, cost-effective way to recruit and evaluate potential employees
    • Have the opportunity to assess students’ work and “fit” with the company before making a long-term hiring commitment
    • Enhanced recruitment and retention outcomes
    • Reduced turnover and training time for entry-level employees
  • Added Staff Capacity During Peak Periods
    • Quality candidates for temporary or seasonal positions and projects
    • Year-round source of highly motivated pre-professionals
    • Allows professional staff to pursue more creative projects
    • Developmental experience for staff on supervising and managing talent
  • Fresh Perspectives
    • Interns bring new perspectives, concepts, ideas, and the latest technologies to your organization
    • Interns provide new and innovative solutions by applying the knowledge they received from their academic coursework
  • Expanded Pool of Qualified Candidates
    • Greater chance of hiring the top students in your field through showcasing your business to potential employees
    • Increased visibility of your organization on campus and as a potential employer
    • Enhanced community image by contributing your expertise to the educational enterprise
    • Foster the next generation of professionals in your field
    NACE’s 2013 Internship & Co-op Survey indicates that internships are an integral and ever-important part of the college recruiting scene. Respondents plan to hire more interns and co-ops. Intern hiring will increase by 2.7 percent and co-op hiring will increase by 5.8 percent. More than one-third of respondents' total 2012-2013 expected new college hires will come from that organization's internship and co-op program.

Benefits for Students

  • Career Exploration
    • Learn about a career field from the inside and decide if this is the right career field for them
    • Work alongside a professional in chosen career area
    • Observe the work place and see if it matches expectations
  • Leadership and Skill Development
    • Learn new skills and add to knowledge base while gaining confidence in their abilities
    • Have the opportunity to practice communication and teamwork skills
    • Gain industry knowledge first hand from an organization and it's professional staff
    • Provide evidence that they have initiative, are reliable, and have a sense of responsibility
    • Apply some of the ideas they learned in school and provide a bridge between school and the professional world
    • Sense of accomplishment by contributing to an organization
  • Networking and Establishing Mentors and References
    • Meet new people and practice networking skills while establishing a network of professional contacts and mentors
    • Open the door to a recommendation (establish potential contacts for writing reference letters)
  • Resume Enhancements
    • Gain valuable experiences and accomplishments to add to their resume and/or enhance their application to Graduate school
    • Create an advantage over other job or graduate school applicants
    • Could potentially increase the chances for a full-time job offer at the end of the internship (this varies greatly by employer


Creating an Internship: A Manual for Employers


UI Internship Programs


Publicizing an Internship

For no cost, you can post your internship opportunity on, our online recruiting site.

You may also want to attend a Career Fair to recruit interns.

Once you have hired an intern, the student should be directed to the Pomerantz Career Center to discuss and select one of the options for registering below.


Registration and Recognition of Internship Experience

Students can choose from four different options to report, receive recognition or earn credit for their internships. Internships must be registered prior to the student's start date. Internships cannot be registered retroactively.

  1. Report Your Internship
    Students complete a short online survey informing the Career Center about their internship. This option does not provide the student with any transcript notation or recognition by the University. This option also doesn't count for Co-Curricular Practical Training.
  2. Enroll in a Zero Credit Hour Internship Course
    Students register their internship for transcript notation and zero credit hours.
  3. Enroll in a Pomerantz Career Center Credit Hour Internship Course
    The Career Center provides students with an opportunity to earn credit hours by developing learning objectives and reflecting on their experiences. Students are eligible to earn 1-3 credit hours.
  4. Enroll in a Departmental Credit Hour Internship Course
    Students may be able to earn credit for their internships through their major department.

Please direct students to contact the Experiential Education Team at 319-335-1023 if they have any questions about these options.