Internship & Co-op Services

The Stony Brook University Career Center posts hundreds of internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students every year. This section of our website contains information and resources to assist you in identifying and securing this important aspect of your university experience.

What is an Internship?

An internship is a carefully monitored work or service experience in which you, the student, create specific learning goals and actively reflect on what you are learning throughout the semester. Although internships vary widely from organization to organization, some common characteristics include:

  • A structured and supervised one-term work experience that usually lasts about three months, aligning with the semester
  • May be paid or unpaid
  • Is different from a short-term job or volunteer work in that it has an intentional “learning agenda” in a structured work environment
  • Includes learning objectives, observation, reflection, evaluation and assessment
  • Often includes a mentor from within the host organization
  • Seeks to balance the intern’s learning goals and the work product expected by the host organization
  • May be part of an individualized learning plan
  • May be taken for academic credit or no credit
  • If academic credit is offered, the experience must be part of an educational program and carefully monitored and evaluated by a faculty sponsor
  • A credit-bearing internship is a three-way partnership agreement between the University (a faculty sponsor and the Career Center), an approved site, and the intern

How Do Internships Benefit Students?

You may be wondering, "What's in it for me?" Benefits include:

  • Test the waters in a career field of interest
  • Apply skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to actual on-the-job experience
  • Gain practical experience in a chosen career field
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Develop important career contacts in the business world
  • Build your resume

Internship Learning Outcomes

The key element that differentiates an internship from a short-term job or community service is the inclusion of formal learning objectives.

Sample Internship Learning Outcomes

  • Communication Skills
    • Oral Communication
      Interns will verbally express ideas clearly and persuasively with clients, supervisors, and colleagues and will participate effectively in discussion.
    • Written Communication
      Interns will express ideas clearly and persuasively in writing as evidenced by acceptable candidate accomplishment.
  • Cognitive Skills
    • Showing understanding of professional customs and practices
    • Acquiring and evaluating information
    • Organizing and maintaining information
    • Interpreting information
    • Applying knowledge to the task
    • Understanding and complying with course requirements
  • Professional Skills
    • Exercising leadership
    • Listening effectively
    • Dressing appropriately

The Stony Brook University Career Center posts hundreds of internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students every year. This section of our website contains information and resources to assist you in identifying and securing this important aspect of your university experience.

What types of Internships are Available?

Internships can be paid or unpaid, full time or part time, with academic credit or not, and occur during the semester or during the winter/summer breaks.

Paid Internships
Includes hourly wage, stipend, travel allowance, or even a salary. Compensation reflects the policies and practices of the organization and industry culture, not the quality of the candidate.

Unpaid Internships
Often the norm in some industries, nonprofits and public service agencies. Some corporate employers do offer unpaid internships, but be careful – for-profit organizations have a responsibility to pay interns if the position meets federal guidelines.

Internships for Credit
Some academic departments at Stony Brook require an internship; others may allow you to count your internship for credit towards the major. Credit-bearing internships require faculty sponsorship and require academic work to earn a grade, which is noted on your transcript.

Non-Credit Internships
A faculty sponsor is NOT necessary for a non-credit-bearing internship.

Credit
  • Student earns academic credits (typically 1 – 6)
    and may incur tuition charges (e.g. summer)
  • Internship may be paid or unpaid
  • Requires well-defined position description
  • Internship must be approved by the University
  • Academic departments approve their own internships
  • Career Center approves EXT 288/488 internships
  • Student secures a faculty sponsor
  • Credit requires 4 hours per week for each credit hour (3 credits=min of 12 hrsper week)
  • Specific agreement forms, midterm & final evaluations
  • Graded: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory or letter grade
    and included on official university transcript
  • Greater commitment for employer & student
vs. Non-Credit
  • Student does not earn academic credit
  • Internship may be paid or unpaid
  • Requires well-defined description
  • No review/oversight by the University
  • No faculty involvement
  • No minimum hour requirement
  • No agreement form required;
    evaluations recommended
  • No grade or transcript notation
  • Commitment may vary

Are You Ready for an Internship?

To determine if an internship is right for you, answer the following questions for yourself. Rate each: Strongly Agree = 5, Agree = 4, Uncertain = 3, Disagree = 2, Strongly Disagree = 1

  1. I want to extend what I am learning/researching beyond what is possible on campus.
  2. I have taken courses relevant to my career interests or I plan to do so next semester.
  3. It is very important for me to get experience related to my future career plans.
  4. It would be possible to adjust my courses for next semester so that I would have at least 8 - 12 hours of open time per week for an internship.
  5. I could do an unpaid internship if the experience would help me further my goals.
  6. I am unsure about what I would study if I were to explore graduate school options.
  7. When parents ask, "What are you going to do after graduation?" I don’t have an answer.
  8. This summer, I would consider working part time and interning part time without pay.
Scale:
Ready for an internship .............................................................................................................. 30+
Need to consider potential obstacles before starting an internship ............................................ 25-29
Careful rethinking of priorities is necessary to beginning an internship ................................... 20-24
It may be in your best interest to consider other options ........................................................... Under 20

*The scale exercise adapted from Westminster College

Who is Involved in your Internship?

Students -- YOU are responsible for defining your learning outcomes within the professional work environment. The academic component of the internship can be communicated through a learning journal, guided readings, regular meetings with a faculty sponsor, and/or an extensive final paper or presentation.

Site supervisors play an important role in helping interns define realistic expectations for the experience and in providing training and on-site guidance. The supervisor regularly meets with interns and provides feedback to the SBU Internship Coordinator. Supervisor mentoring and feedback are extremely valuable to your progress.

Faculty sponsors provide academic guidance by helping students combine theory with experience. Faculty sponsors meet regularly with students to raise questions and offer guidance. The faculty sponsor also assigns credit and the final grade.

The Career Center Internship Coordinator is the connection between the faculty, the student, and the work site. The Coordinator assists in the development of internships, prepares students, and maintains ongoing contact with all of the people involved. The Coordinator is available to assist with any issues or concerns that arise during the internship.

Stony Brook University expects its students to be in good academic standing before endorsing a student’s application for an internship. It is unwise for a student to expect that an internship will replace a course requirement or be undertaken solely to remain a full-time student.

An internship (full time/part time) is a real world experience related to your career interests. It may, but does not have to be, related/connected to your academic major or minor. Internships (credit and non-credit) can be done during the academic semester and/or summer. Students at Stony Brook University can register for credit through their department or through the Career Center.

"It is too early for me to think about internships. I’m not a junior/senior yet."
It is never too early to think about internships. In fact, there are internships that exist solely for freshmen and sophomores. With a faculty sponsor, sophomores can earn EXT 288 credit for approved internships.

"An internship requires long hours and will conflict with school."
During the academic year, part-time internships with flexible hours are the norm. An internship can range from 4 hours per week during the semester to 40 hours per week during breaks.

Internships for Credit

Most academic departments at Stony Brook have an internship course for their majors. For example, business majors would register for BUS 488, psychology majors for PSY 273 or PSY 488, environmental studies majors for ENS 488, English majors for EGL 488, journalism majors for JRN 488, etc.

The University limits the total number of all internship credits to 12.

Students who are engaged in a career-related internship outside the major department may also apply for credit (e.g. a PSY major with a marketing internship). To receive academic credit outside your major department, you must still have a faculty sponsor, but you will register for a Career Center EXT course.

EXT 288 Internship: This is a sophomore-level course designator that is used by faculty to endorse a lower-level internship experience. This course is not repeatable. Prerequisites: Minimum GPA 2.5, one prior semester of attendance at Stony Brook, completion of DEC A, first course; acceptance by a faculty sponsor, permission of appropriate department and the Career Center. 0-3 credits, S/U grading

EXT 488 Internship: This course is used to support upper-division internships. It may be repeated. Prerequisites: Minimum GPA of 2.5, U3 standing; one prior semester of attendance at Stony Brook, acceptance by faculty sponsor, permission of appropriate department and the Career Center. 0-6 credits, S/U grading

AT-A-GLANCE ELIGIBILITY requirements for EXT 288 & EXT 488

GPA minimum = 2.5

For EXT 288: Completion of DEC A and at least one semester at Stony Brook

For EXT 488: Completion of 57 credits prior to start of internship

TRANSFER STUDENTS:
You MUST MEET with your ACADEMIC ADVISOR for degree progress review.
Your academic advisor will confirm that you meet eligibility requirements and will discuss with you how the internship contributes to your degree progress.

JOINT DEGREE applicants:
You must discuss with faculty in your UG & GR departments to determine if credit will apply towards your graduate or undergraduate degree.

Non-Credit Internships

Students may choose to accept an internship without applying for academic credit. In these cases, there is no University involvement, no support, and no transcript notation.

Tuition For A Credit-Bearing Internship

A credit-bearing internship is a course, just like any other course you take. If your internship occurs during the fall or spring semesters, and you are enrolled as a full-time student, your internship course is most likely included in your overall tuition. If you enroll in a summer or winter internship course, tuition and fees will apply accordingly. Check with the Office of Student Financial Aid for specific questions about your financial position.

The recommended timeframe to search for an internship is listed below. Following these recommendations will ensure there is ample time to secure the internship opportunity, and allow you to stay competitive in the pool of candidates. Some employers recruit much earlier than others.

For an Internship During Search During
Fall Semester (September - December) March - April
January Term August - November
Spring Semester (February - May) October - December
Summer Term (June - August) January - April

Create your Application Materials

At minimum, you will be expected to have an updated resume, and most likely, you will be expected to compose a cover letter for each application. The Career Center has many resources to help you create and update your resume and cover letter. Use the "Resume & Cover Letter Guide" in the ZebraNet Resource Library to get started.

You may also be asked to provide relevant materials such as a writing sample, transcript, or a portfolio of your creative work.

Use ZebraNet

ZebraNet is the Stony Brook University employer database, containing thousands of employer records. ZebraNet is the first resource you should use to identify employers and apply for internships. Hundreds of opportunities are posted every semester.

In fact, ZebraNet is used for ALL employment – part-time jobs, work-study, community service positions, gap year opportunities, and full-time post-graduation positions.

For help using ZebraNet, stop by the Career Center during business hours and ask one of our highly trained Career Counseling Interns to help you.

Other Resources to Find Internships

Many additional resources exist to help you identify an internship. There are Internet-based job boards (like internships.com), professional association websites or conferences (e.g. SHPE, NYWICI), and there is the "direct-apply" approach, where you identify organizations you wish to work for and apply through their company websites. Your network of family, friends, mentors, coaches, and advisors can also point you in the right direction. For more information about searching, access the "Job Search Checklist" handout in the ZebraNet Resource Library.

An internship for credit is more than a job. Requesting academic credit for your internship means that you are willing to do the academic work necessary to earn the credit. You will set academic goals for your internship with your faculty sponsor, and the degree to which you meet those goals will be evaluated and graded.

To register for ACADEMIC DEPARTMENT INTERNSHIP COURSES, contact the department for specific instructions.

To register your internship for EXT credit:

  1. Obtain a FACULTY sponsor (the Career Center can help you identify someone).
  2. REPORT your internship on ZebraNet and start the approval process online.
  3. Faculty sponsor approves the position and your learning goals.
  4. EMPLOYER approves the position.
  5. PERMISSION TO ENROLL is issued by the Career Center on SOLAR.
  6. REGISTER for your EXT course using the SOLAR system.

As of Spring 2013, The Career Center has established a new online internship approval process in ZebraNet. Refer to these Steps of the Internship Registration Process, below , for ZebraNet instructions, important dates and deadlines. Your site supervisor and faculty sponsor will have their own deadlines.

Step by step instructions in ZebraNet:

  1. Use your Net ID and password to log in to ZebraNet, and click “Report a For-Credit Co-op/Internship” on the left-hand side menu.
  2. Select a Co-op/Internship Term.
    1. If you found the position on ZebraNet, search for the position under “My Jobs”.
    2. If you found the position independently, click the “Other” tab.
  3. Complete the form and click Save. You can view the form under My Account>My Activity.
  4. Once saved, the Co-op/Internship record is forwarded to the Career Center for review by a staff member.
  5. After Career Center approval, an email notification is sent to the employer/supervisor you entered in your placement record for their approval.
  6. Once the employer approves, an email notification goes to the faculty sponsor you named in your placement report.
  7. The faculty sponsor reviews the description/learning objectives and approves the position for credit.
  8. AFTER this process is complete, the Career Center will give you permission (this could take 24-48 hours) to enroll in SOLAR for the credit.

If you have any questions about registration for a credit-bearing internship or co-op, please call Urszula Zalewski at 631.632.6810 or email Urszula.Zalewski@stonybrook.edu.

Pre-Internship Orientation

If you are enrolled in EXT 288 or EXT 488, you are required to attend a Pre-Internship Orientation at the Career Center. The goal of this one-hour orientation is to set you up for a successful experience. Dates and times of this session are available in ZebraNet and on the Career Center homepage.

Communicate with Your Supervisor

It is vitally important that you and your supervisor set clear expectations for communication. How often will you meet to discuss your progress? How should you approach your supervisor if you have questions? What resources are available to support your work?

Reflect upon and Document Your Progress

Build reflection into your internship, even if you are not earning academic credit. Reflection is critical to learning; deep thinking abut what you are learning, how you are growing, and what you are accomplishing during the experience will enable you to more fully understand how this experience is influencing your career thoughts. Documenting your learning will also help you articulate your experiences to your faculty sponsor or others, and help you with your next resume/interview.

What Should You Do If There is a Problem On Site?

If you are having problems that a conversation with your immediate supervisor does not alleviate, you are welcome to contact the Career Center for support at (631) 632-6810.

Evaluation & Assessment

An internship is a learning experience, and you should welcome critical feedback from your supervisor and others on site. Credit-bearing internships require two formal evaluations – a midterm and final – which should be discussed with your supervisor.

The Career Center will also ask for your assessment of the internship site to ensure the host organization is providing a quality experience.

Mission

The mission of the Stony Brook University Career Center Cooperative Education Program, in partnership with employers and faculty, is to provide upper-division students with paid, degree-enhancing, professional work experience. This mutually beneficial relationship encourages student growth by providing opportunities that link classroom theory with world-of-work practice. Cooperative education empowers students to make informed career decisions and move toward achieving an advantage in a competitive job market, while earning academic credit.

What is Co-operative Education?

A structured educational strategy integrating classroom studies with learning through productive work experiences in a field related to a student's academic or career goals. It provides progressive experiences in integrating theory and practice. Co-op is a partnership among students, the university and employers, with specified responsibilities and agreements among the stakeholders.

How Does a Co-op Position Differ from an Internship?

While an internship may be paid or unpaid, a co-op is always a paid position, and students are required to enroll in an academic course for variable credit. Additionally, students must have junior, senior or graduate student standing. Co-ops are high-level positions that allow students to directly apply what they have learned in their coursework.

Structure of Co-op at SBU

Stony Brook’s co-op program is a parallel program (not alternating). During the academic year, students will be enrolled as full-time students and co-op part time. Summer and winter breaks would be free for full-time co-op.

  • Students may participate during any academic semester (P/T) and summer/winter breaks (P/T or F/T).
  • Duration: co-op requires a minimum of two work terms, but could extend to multiple semesters.
  • Co-op is closely integrated with the course curriculum, and has faculty oversight with academic credit (0-6).
  • Time commitment: 4-20 hr\ours per week during an academic semester; 4-40 during summer/winter break.

Student Eligibility

  • 57 credits completed
  • GPA: 2.5 minimum for undergraduates
  • Enrolled at SBU for at least one semester before co-op
  • Final approval is pending employer and faculty standards

Student Responsibilities

  • Develop a resume that will effectively present your interests/experience to prospective employers.
  • Register your co-op on ZebraNet to obtain permission to receive credits and enroll in a course .
  • Make every effort to adhere to your employer's work standards and employment policies (for example, dress codes, rules regarding attendance, lunch hours, breaks, etc.)
  • Carry out your responsibilities competently and professionally.

Employer Responsibilities

  • Provide a hands-on learning environment.
  • Provide supervision for the co-op student.
  • Provide challenging positions with increasing levels of responsibility.
  • Provide appropriate training.
  • Complete mid-semester and final evaluations.
  • Equitably compensate students.
  • Periodically review and discuss student progress.

University Responsibilities

  • Work with employers to develop learning outcomes.
  • Provide academic oversight during the co-op term.
  • Review student progress throughout the co-op term.
  • Prepare students for success prior to the co-op experience.
  • Be available for consultation if problems arise.
  • Debrief student & employer experiences at the end of the co-opterm.

Timeline

The recommended timeframe to search for a co-op is listed below. Following these recommendations will ensure there is ample time to secure the co-op opportunity, and allow you to stay competitive in the pool of candidates. Some employers recruit much earlier than others.

For a Co-op During Search During
Fall Semester (September - December) March - April
January Term August - November
Spring Semester (February - May) October - December
Summer Term (June - August) January - April

Create Your Application Materials

At minimum, you will be expected to have an updated resume, and most likely, you will be expected to compose a cover letter for each application. The Career Center has many resources to help you create and update your resume and cover letter. Use the “Resume & Cover Letter Guide” in the ZebraNet Resource Library to get started.

You may also be asked to provide relevant materials such as a writing sample, transcript, or a portfolio of your creative work.

Use ZebraNet

ZebraNet is the Stony Brook University employer database, containing thousands of employer records. ZebraNet is the first resource you should use to identify employers and apply for co-ops.

For help using ZebraNet, stop by the Career Center during business hours and ask one of our highly trained Career Counseling Interns to help you.

Registering for Co-op

Co-op is always tied to academic credit. Requesting academic credit for your co-op means that you are willing to do the academic work necessary to earn the credit. You will set academic goals for your co-op with your faculty sponsor, and the degree to which you meet those goals will be evaluated and graded.

To register your co-op for EXT credit:

  1. Obtain a FACULTY sponsor (the Career Center can help you identify someone).
  2. REPORT your co-op on ZebraNet and start the approval process online.
  3. Faculty sponsor approves the position and your learning goals.
  4. EMPLOYER approves the position.
  5. PERMISSION TO ENROLL is issued by the Career Center on SOLAR.
  6. REGISTER for your EXT course using the SOLAR system.

As of Spring 2013, the Career Center has established a new online internship approval process in ZebraNet. Refer to these Steps of the Co-op Registration Process, below, for ZebraNet instructions, important dates and deadlines . Your site supervisor and faculty sponsor will have their own deadlines.

Step by step in ZebraNet:

  1. Use your Net ID and password to log in to ZebraNet, and click “Report a For-Credit Co-op/Internship” on the left-hand side bar.
  2. Select a Co-op/Internship Term.
  3. If you found the position on ZebraNet, search for the position under “My Jobs”.
  4. If you found the position independently, click the “Other” tab.
  5. Complete the form and click Save. You can view the form under My Account>My Activity.
  6. Once saved, the Co-op/Internship record is forwarded to the Career Center for review by a staff member.
  7. After Career Center approval, an email notification is sent to the employer/supervisor you entered in your placement record for their approval.
  8. Once the employer approves, an email notification goes to the faculty sponsor you named in your placement report.
  9. The faculty sponsor reviews the description/learning objectives and approves the position for credit.
  10. AFTER this process is complete, the Career Center will give you permission (this could take 24-48 hours) to enroll in SOLAR for the credit.

If you have any questions about registration for a co-op, please call Urszula Zalewski at (631)632-6810 or email Urszula.Zalewski@stonybrook.edu.