"An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths. The internship is usually the length or equivalent of an academic term, may be part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid. An integral component of the experience that distinguishes it from other types of work is structured and deliberate learning objectives and corresponding reflection activities."

* Definition informed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)


  • The experience must be an extension of the classroom; an internship must be equal parts learning experience and professional activity. It must not simply advance the operations of the employer or consist of work that a regular employee would routinely perform
  • Student must be able to articulate how the internship enhances their experience within their major or minor.
  • Supervision is done by a professional with expertise and an educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience
  • Feedback is routinely provided by the experienced supervisor
  • The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings
  • The experience must have a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications
  • There are clearly defined learning objectives related to the student's professional goals
  • There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support the learning objectives/goals

*National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Guidelines for an internship


Why do an internship for academic credit?:

  • Successful completion of credit-bearing internships supervised through the Career and Professional Development are approved to fulfill a student’s ELI requirement.
  • May be required for student’s major.
  • Many sites only host students who are receiving academic credit for their experience due to liability concerns.
  • Corresponding internship coursework helps promote reflection on and development of personal and professional skills.
  • Credit-bearing internships are noted on a student’s transcript, which may open doors to graduate school.
  • Students are protected legally under Messiah University's liability policy.
  • Students receive support, advocacy, and guidance from an Internship Faculty Advisor in addition to their on-site supervisor.





  • In order to receive academic credit for your internship experience, you must be registered for the Internship course (INTE 391 or INTE 394) at the same time as your internship experience. We cannot provide credit retroactively.
  • To receive academic credit for your internship, you must complete the online registration form under the Internship Program section on the Career and Professional Development Center homepage.
  • Once we receive your registration, the Internship Coordinator will assess your chosen site's quality & learning objectives.
  • If approved, we will complete your course override, allowing you to register for the class.  We will email you a status update along with directions for registering.
  • After your internship is approved, you must register for the corresponding class through the FALCON link.  The registration process for the internship class is similar to that of any other course.  Select the correct class code, INTE 391 for 1 to 3 credits or INTE 394 for 4 to 12 credits.
  • Be aware that the system automatically defaults to the minimum number of credits for the course.  Therefore, you must adjust the credit hours according to your preference.  Navigate to the Schedule and Options tab, locate the "hours" box, click on the number, and update it to your desired value.  Then, submit your selection. This information will also be included in an email sent to you after your Handshake application is approved.  If you have any questions, please get in touch with the Registrar's Office.
  • Double-check that you have registered for the right number of credits to ensure you receive the proper credit for your internship.
  • You will receive a confirmation email when the canvas internship course opens.

Remember, completing the registration form is just the first step.

It does not guarantee you will be approved, nor does it automatically enroll you in the class.


How Does the Internship for Credit Work?

  • Internships run concurrently with the semester: Fall, Spring or Summer. An intern may work before or after these dates; but the internship must be done at the same time as the semester-based course.
  • Students are responsible for finding their own internship site. Career and Professional Development Center staff are available to help identify potential sites and ways to identify internship opportunities.
  • One credit hour is the equivalent of 40 hours of onsite work over the semester (e.g., three credits is a minimum of 120 hours during the semester). Students can work more than the minimum number of hours but must meet the minimum.
  • Students are required to complete assignments for the internship class component graded by their Messiah Internship Faculty Advisor (IFA).
  • Internship may be part-time or full-time, paid, or unpaid. Messiah University does not regulate the compensation of student interns.
  • Students completing an internship for credit are covered under Messiah's liability insurance policy.

Eligibility Requirements – GPA and Credit

Students who meet the following criteria are eligible:

1) Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above. Students with a GPA lower than 2.5 may submit a petition form through the CPDC to be considered for participation in the program.

2) Completed at least a minimum of 24 credits

Students whose GPA falls below the 2.5 minimum requirement MUST complete the academic petition form to be considered for participation in the program.  This is not a guarantee of acceptance into the course but you will be considered.  Students need to discuss options with their academic advisor, if the petition is not accepted. 


How Many Credits Should I Take?  Credit/hour equivalencies:

INTE391 (Sophomores, Junior, and Seniors)



Hours per Semester


1 Credit

40 hours total

One in-person class meeting; regular online coursework in CANVAS

2 Credits

80 hours total

One in-person class meeting; regular online coursework in CANVAS

3 Credits

120 hours total

One in-person class meeting; regular online coursework in CANVAS


INTE394 (Juniors and Seniors)



Hours per Semester



4 credits

160 hours


For all 394 credits, there will be one in-person class meetings and regular online coursework in CANVAS

5 credits

200 hours



6 credits

240 hours



7 credits

280 hours



8 credits

320 hours



9 credits

360 hours



10 credits

400 hours



11 credits

440 hours



12 credits

480 hours




Repeating Internship for Credit

Messiah University allows for up to 16 credits of experiential learning.  You may repeat INTE 391 and INTE 394 as many times as you would like until you reach 16 credits.

Because you have already completed the assignments for the course before, some of the assignments are not required for you.

Sample Syllabi

INTE 391 1 to 3 credits

INTE 394 4 to 12 credits



1. Your Personal Network

  • Ask family, friends, and faculty to help you brainstorm opportunities in your target geographic area. Research tells us that between 60-80% of jobs/internships are found through personal relationships.
  • Messiah alumni are a great resource for finding opportunities. Locate alumni working for companies of interest through LinkedIn. Reach out and ask to do an informational interview.

2. The Career and Professional Development Center Web Resources

  • View resources in the “Job Search” section of the CPDC’s website.
  • Check out the CPDC’s job and internship board, “HANDSHAKE

3. Internet Search Engines

  • Type in a simple phrase such as “History Internship in Washington, DC”
  • Professional Organizations for Your Career Field ask for recommendations of associations from faculty.

Things to Consider

I’m not sure what kind of internship I want. Where do I start? Answer the following questions to better direct your search:

  • What industries are most appealing to you (e.g. arts, healthcare, sports, business, human services, education, government, non-profit, technology, public relations)? Are there specific companies that pique your interest?
  • What type of job functions interest you (e.g. accounting, case management, counseling, public relations, engineering, research)?
  • Are there particular causes that you care about?
  • What specific skills and experiences do you bring to the table?
  • What type of work do you want to learn more about?
  • What type of work environment/culture do you seek (e.g. small/large, for-profit/non-profit, urban/rural, modern/traditional)?

To learn more about internship opportunities, gain ideas from:

  • Your academic advisor and other faculty in your major.
  • Internship postings on the CPDC’s job and internship board, “Handshake.”
  • Informational interviews with professionals in your field of interest.
  • An appointment with a career coach in the CPDC.

Do I need to have my own transportation?

No. However, not having your own transportation definitely impacts your pool of possibilities.


  • Students applying for an internship with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children in
    internship clearances


    the form of care, guidance, supervision, or training are often required to obtain FBI, Criminal, and Child Abuse History Clearances.
  • To obtain clearances, you will be asked to submit past and current personal information, including all previous addresses and names of people with whom you have lived.


FBI Clearance

The Department of Public Welfare is utilizing Cogent Systems to process fingerprint-based FBI record checks. The fingerprint-based background check is a multiple-step process. The Cogent Systems website , allows individuals to apply online, as well as provides detailed information regarding the application process. The cost of obtaining the FBI clearance is $28. After applying online you will be required to be fingerprinted. The Cogent website provides options for where to have the fingerprinting done.

Criminal Record Check

Using the link below to PATCH, created by the Pennsylvania State Police, a requester can apply for a criminal background check on an individual (in this case, yourself). There is a fee, but the site accepts credit cards. If there is “No Record,” a certificate is returned immediately. Print this certificate.

Child Abuse and History ClearanceThis form can be completed online at:
There are directions on the website for paper submission if you cannot submit electronically.

International Students

If you are interning in your home country during the summer, you can simply sign up for the internship course without completing the CPT forms. 

If you are an F-1 student, doing any work or internship outside of your home country requires you to participate in Curricular Practical Training: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment authorization for students in undergraduate F-1 status who wish or need to engage in off-campus employment in their field of study when it is an integral component of their curriculum. It is important for students to remember that CPT is a benefit of the F-1 visa status, not a right. Permission for international students has several more steps that are required and process is started with the Intercultural Office:

International Internships

Students are able to do an internship internationally. If you have located an international internship you MUST schedule an appointment with Joy Fea to discuss your steps. International Internships are different than internships in the states because they have to go through the approval process of the Intercultural Office. There is some paperwork and other things that need to be in place before you can be under the auspices of Messiah University overseas.

Student should start the registration three months before the international internship. You will need to complete an Individual Student Request Form, as well as a Partner Organization Approval Form, and Partner Organization Considerations and Criteria form. All three can be found on this website

International students may do an internship for credit during the summer semester in their home country.

Virtual Internships

Students may do a virtual internship.  It must meet all the requirements of an internship, and there must be a weekly check in with supervisor. 

Guidelines for Virtual Site Supervisor:

Summer Internships

If you are doing an internship in the summer, the cost of credits is about $600 per credit (this may change, please check summer tuition costs).  Students will be billed for this separate from the normal academic year, it is not part of the fall or spring semester tuition.

There are three options for summer: Early 6 week Summer, Full Summer, Late 6 week Summer.  The internship must be at the same time as the internship course.

Visit the Registrar's Office for more information on summer tuition.

Summer housing is your responsibility if you will be away from home.