Internship Basics | University of Portland

Internship Basics

An internship is a learning-focused work experience that is either directly related to your major field of study or your career interest.

Internships may vary from 4-40 hours per week, and typically range from 10-12 weeks during the summer or throughout the academic year. Many employers will be flexible with your school schedule if you ask.

You can complete one or more internships anytime throughout your experience at UP, and there are plenty of opportunities available for you both locally and nationally. Read on for details about academic credit and payment. 


Components of a quality internship

When you are looking at internships online or creating a position with an employer connection that you already have, here are components that you will want to see or ask about:

  • The internship is a learning-focused experience where the intern applies knowledge gained in the classroom.
  • The internship has a defined duration, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  • There are clearly defined duties and expectations outlined by the employer prior to the intern beginning the internship.
  • The supervisor supports the student in the pursuit of their learning goals.
  • There is thorough orientation and training.
  • There is supervision and routine feedback by a supervisor with expertise and background in the field of the internship.
  • There is support for the intern to meet organization’s leaders, shadow different departments, or do informational interviews with professional staff.
  • There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals (e.g., computers, desk, training materials).

If you are working in a virtual or remote-based work environment, view the guidelines for a quality experience in this setting.

If you are considering an international internship, view the considerations and University requirements. 

Academic Credit or Pay?


Academic Credit

  • Internship applies credits to major or electives needed through an internship class
  • Meet directly with Faculty member during the internship for support
  • There are required hours to work at the site, learning agreement and evaluations
  • Learn more about Academic Credit


You can receive pay in addition to credit! Internship types. Internships generally fall under four categories: non-credit and paid, credit and paid, non-credit, credit.

Internships can be paid or unpaid, and you might be able to earn academic credit, depending on your year and major. You also can complete numerous independent internships without earning any credit from the University.

Types of Internships:

hands typing on a laptop

Project Based:

Intern works on project(s) for the organization. For example:

  • Developing a social media campaign and outreach plan for a youth organization.
  • Intern conducts research in a retail department and provides feedback on what products to stock.
image of student

Operationally Based:

Intern receives training on day to day operations and assists through work tasks. For example:

  • Intern conducts research & provides office support for a political campaign.
  • Intern attends staff meetings and learns new computer programs to support the team.
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