Internships offer students the unique opportunity to apply skills and knowledge from the classroom to gain meaningful, practical and valuable learning experience and help students become more confident and competitive for jobs, graduate school, and other post-graduation goals. Internships help students clarify their career interests and goals, provide them with occupation-specific skills, and expand their professional network. Internships allow students to apply knowledge acquired in the classroom to real life scenarios. Internships may provide the core experiential learning needed to successfully complete educational programs at all levels. Oregon State University supports students’ participation in internships and also wants to communicate how the University’s insurance applies to internship opportunities.

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What are internships?

An internship is an opportunity to gain exposure to and experience in a career field of interest. Depending on the position, internships may be paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time and may fulfill academic requirements. Many programs at Oregon State require you to complete an internship or research experience in order to graduate. During an internship, students can:

  • Explore a career field of interest
  • Gain experience and hone skills applicable in the workplace
  • Develop a network of professional contacts

An internship may also be referred to as a practicum, clinical education experience, or externship.

Job shadows and mentee programs are not considered internships.

Insurance

Students are covered by University’s internships and professional liability insurance while participating in OSU-sponsored internships when ALL of the following criteria are met:

  • The internship is in satisfaction of a course requirement.
  • The student is under the direction and supervision of the University or training site/internship host.
  • The University approves the internship. The academic department may arrange an internship by matching a student to an internship host; or it may advise a student to participate in a specific internship and take active steps to place the student in the internship; or the department may approve an internship opportunity that the student has identified.
  • Internship Documentation has been completed and is on file with the department (please see below for details).
  • The intern is not an employee of the training site/internship host.
  • The student’s responsibilities shall conform with the ethical standards applicable to their other scholastic activities, Student Code of Conduct, and to the profession in which they will be an intern.

Internship Documentation

An Affiliation Agreement between Oregon State University and the training site/internship host is the preferred method to document the relationship, establish the responsibilities of all parties, and define the education objectives of the experience. For questions regarding the completion of an Affiliation Agreement please contact OSU Contract Services.

When the use of an OSU Affiliation Agreement is not possible the internship documentation must include the following:

  • Course requirement information (course and requirement(s) to be fulfilled)
  • Internship Description and duties (who, what, where, when)
  • Supervision information
  • Signature from student, OSU department/college, and internship host

Departments and Colleges as well as the OSU Career Development Center may have templates of Internship Learning Contracts.

Internship Documentation must be retained by the department once signed by all participating parties.

 

When OSU's liability insurance does not apply

  • In many instances, students seek out their own internships without the university’s involvement, perhaps they find an internship opportunity on a physical or electronic bulletin board. Such postings are not considered to be an internship that has been arranged or approved by the University. Students who arrange their internships without any direct support from the academic department (as defined above) should discuss insurance coverage with the training site/internship host. 
  • When students are employed by the training site/internship host, the training site/internship host is responsible for providing insurance coverage, not the university.

To obtain a certificate of insurance

The training site/internship host can request a certificate of insurance on this webpage: https://risk.oregonstate.edu/insurance/certificates.

If a training site/internship host requires additional insured status on the university’s general liability insurance, an affiliation agreement must be in place.

 

A note on unpaid internships

To prevent misuse of temporary labor, U.S Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) outlines clear guidelines on an employer’s ability to use unpaid interns and trainees.  It does not limit an employer’s ability to hire paid interns (as long as those interns make the minimum wage). When the university or training site/internship hosts are providing unpaid internships, they must adhere to the U.S. Department of Labor guidelines (https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/legacy/files/whdfs71.pdf) and Oregon BOLI requirements (https://www.oregon.gov/boli/TA/pages/t_faq_interns.aspx).