Michael Hagarty, Director
Saint Mary’s University supports field exploration and internship experiences as integral parts of its curriculum. Such experiences enable students to earn academic credit for participating in structured, supervised learning experiences that are generally held off-campus. The internship and field exploration program provides carefully designed experiences that offer students opportunities for professional and personal development as they apply theories and concepts learned in the classroom to a professional setting. Such opportunities also help students explore and develop personal aptitudes, abilities and interests in relation to their career choice. By participating in this program, students become self-directed learners who gain valuable hands-on work experiences and access to different resources and situations not easily obtained or available in the campus setting.
A field exploration experience is a planned work experience for academic credit that provides students with the opportunity to explore a field and/or major and gain basic knowledge in a work environment. Generally, this experience involves observation rather than hands-on activities and is typically part-time and unpaid. Students must have completed a minimum of 24 credit hours and have a minimum 2.000 cumulative GPA to participate in a field exploration experience. Students may earn 1 to 3 credits for a field exploration, with a maximum of 17 credits earned for any combination of internship and field exploration experiences. All field exploration experiences must be pre-approved by the student’s academic advisor and the director of internships. Students may meet with the director of internships and/or faculty members to identify possible field exploration sites. Questions regarding field exploration programs should be directed to the director of internships.
An internship is a planned work experience for academic credit supervised by a qualified professional in a real- work environment. This experience integrates a student’s academic and career interests with hands-on work experience. An internship may be either part-time or full-time and either paid or unpaid. Students must have completed a minimum of 56 credit hours, have a minimum 2.000 cumulative GPA, and a minimum 2.000 major GPA to participate in an internship. Internships are taken through the department in which the student’s major is offered. Students may earn 1 to 17 credits in an internship, with a maximum of 17 credits for any combination of internship and field exploration experiences. The number of internship credits for which a student registers is based on several factors, including departmental curriculum requirements, duration of the internship and the student’s time commitment, the student’s concurrent course load, the number of elective credits desired, and the credits previously earned through experiential education. Unless specific departmental guidelines have been established, the distribution between graded and ungraded internship credits is 3 credits graded, with remaining credits graded as Pass/No Credit. The academic department determines the number of internship credits applicable to the fulfillment of an academic major. All internships must be pre-approved by the student’s academic advisor and the director of internships.
Internships are arranged on an individual basis by students in a field compatible with their academic major, interests, skills and career goals. Internships are generally completed in the United States, although international internships are also an option for students. In the past, students have interned in Ireland, Spain and Guatemala. Organizations such as IBM, Walt Disney World, St. Paul Police Department, Mayo Clinic, Fastenal Co., among others, have teamed up with Saint Mary’s to provide students the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience before graduating from college. Students can intern full-time or part-time at a location of their choice.
Students may not request to register an internship after the midpoint of the semester or summer. Internships are normally limited to one academic term or the summer period. Some special placements require longer time commitments than one term. Should an internship extend longer than the summer or an academic term, additional credit (not to exceed 17 credit maximum) may be negotiated for the following term if the faculty supervisor approves. See Director of Internships for additional details, requirements, and limitations.
While students can intern at a location of their choice, Saint Mary’s University offers students an opportunity to participate in one of our Affiliated Internship Programs.
HECUA Internship Program
HECUA (the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) and Saint Mary’s University have developed a unique educational collaboration that engages students in exceptional learning opportunities. HECUA’s semester-long program includes classroom learning and a community-based internship. Students may choose a program that is held in the United States or abroad for a month, a summer, or a semester. The focus of each program is social change in urban settings. By partnering with exceptional community resources, HECUA can better engage students in learning about current social realities and strategies for social change. These internship partners supervise students, involve them in community projects, provide direction for study projects, and often serve as resources in student and faculty seminars.
HECUA offers six outstanding programs in the Twin Cities: Writing for Social Change, Environmental Sustainability, Inequality in America, Art for Social Change, Making Media, Making Change, and Agriculture and Justice. For additional information, visit the Career Services & Internships office or www.hecua.org.
Washington Center Internship Program
The Washington Center Internship Program combines real-world work experience with academic learning in a unique environment that fosters success and achievement. For one semester, students can work and earn college credit in their chosen academic field in the heart of the nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C. Internships can be arranged in government agencies or in private non-profit organizations and are available for all majors. For additional information visit the Career Services and Internships office or www.twc.edu.