What is an internship?
How do you get started?
Why participate in an internship?
Who should do an internship?
Find internship opportunities

What is an Internship?

An internship is an applied learning work experience with a business or nonprofit organization with defined learning goals. It is an opportunity for you to try out different career fields and industries while gaining new skills and building your personal and professional networks. Internships occur over the course of a semester or summer and don’t have expectations of continued employment or association.

An internship will have:

  • Defined expectations and learning objectives
  • Regular formal and informal evaluation
  • Expectations for reflection on what you are learning
  • An identified on site supervisor and a supervising MWSU faculty member.

Do I get paid to do an internship?

An internship may be paid or unpaid. If an internship is unpaid it must meet Department of Labor criteria to allow it.

How many hours per week do I work as an intern?

Students enrolled in an internship for credit will work approximately 45 hours over the course of the semester for each credit hour enrolled.  For a typical academic term this is about 3-4 hours per week for a 1-credit hour experience. 

Why participate in an internship?

Participating in an internship experience provides a number of professional benefits. It will allow you to:

  • Acquire work related experience and skills that employers value.
  • Identify what kinds of things you are professionally passionate about and those that you may not enjoy as much as you thought you would.
  • Strengthen your applications for post graduation jobs or graduate school‌.
  • Increase your earning potential.
  • Have confidence that your degree is relevant in the current job market.
  • Meet and network with people in your career field before you graduate.
  • Enjoy the advice and guidance from both a faculty advisor and workplace mentor.
  • Apply your internship work experience toward your degree requirements.
  • Potentially earn some money while you learn.

Participating in an internship can also benefit you academically and will help you build out your workforce competencies.

Academic Benefits Workforce Competencies
  • Improved learning
  • Improved problem-solving skills
  • Improved motivation to learn
  • Improved classroom performance
  • Higher likelihood that you will graduate
  • Workplace Communication
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Equity & Inclusion
  • Leadership
  • Workplace Professionalism
  • Teamwork

Who should do an internship?

You should!

Even if your degree program doesn’t require you to complete an internship, it is a great learning and professional experience. At Missouri Western almost every program offers internship experiences for credit. Even if yours doesn’t you can still participate in an internship experience outside your discipline or in one without earning credit. If you’re thinking about whether an internship is right for you, discuss it with your academic advisor, with one of the staff members in the Griffon Office of Applied Learning, or reach out to the Career Development Center for advice and help connecting with opportunities.

Getting Started

You want to allow at least 3 months to find and secure your internship and to complete all of the associated paperwork. Many summer internships are filled as early as January or February so plan accordingly.

Step 1: Speak with your academic advisor
This should be done during the advising period at least one semester before you’d like to start. Your advisor will be able to help you with the academic requirements and to identify which course you need to enroll in to receive credit.

Step 2: Build your resume

You will need a resume to apply for most internship positions. If you’ve never built a resume then reach out to the Career Center for assistance. If you have a resume, then make sure it’s updated. The Career Center can also review it for you and provide tips to help improve it. They also have a selection of examples and guidelines you might find helpful.

Step 3: Explore internship opportunities
Internship opportunities come in many forms and can be local, national, and even international. If you can’t move away for an opportunity, no worries, many internships can be completed virtually as well. You can explore opportunities by checking out Handshake, speaking with your advisor, and through the list of opportunities provided to you here <add link to opportunities list>. Look for opportunities that match your interests, skills, and align with your career goals. Once you have identified some opportunities, reach out to your academic advisor to discuss them. You want to be sure that they match the criteria associated with your internship course.

Step 4: Apply and interview

An internship is a job so you will have to apply and go through the interview process. Based on the positions you are applying for you will need to create a cover letter to go with your resume. This is a great time to visit the Career Center again for some assistance in crafting a cover letter that matches the position you are applying for. They will also be able to help you prepare for the interview.

Step 5: Complete your paperwork and learning contract and enroll in the internship course.

  • Internship Learning Agreement
  • Internship Code of Conduct Agreement

Internship Opportunities

  • Career Research Portal: comprehensive resource that supports job and interview seekers throughout the search process.
  • Chegg Internships:  It offers 100,000 listings from 60,000 employers.
  • CollegeRecruiter: Use filters to search for jobs and internships.
  • ErasmusIntern: Internships in Europe.
  • Go Overseas: Jobs and internships abroad.
  • Handshake – MWSU’s portal for interships
  • Idealist: A site for both jobs and internships.
  • INROADS: Paid internships that potentially lead to full time positions.
  • LinkedIn: Search for internships and network.
  • Missouri Internship Program
  • Parker Dewey: provides micro-internships for hands on experience in a short amount of time.
  • Ripplematch: uses your profile to match you with jobs, internships, and recruiters.
  • SEO Career: Internships at partner companies.
  • WayUp:  Specializes in internships and entry level jobs.
  • YouTern: Uses mentoring to match students with internships.