Internships offer valuable pre-professional experience, but an increasing number of agencies do not allow students to work without pay unless they can obtain academic credit.
Students interested in an internship can receive one or three academic credits for internships.
Three-Credit Readings and Research Courses
Here's what the Boston College Career Center has to say about this option:
"An individual internship may be incorporated into a student's academic program through the development of a Readings and Research course. Such courses are most successful when a student develops a clear focus on the aspect of the internship that is of greatest interest, begins to develop a set of readings around the analytical focus of the course, and seeks a faculty member who has a specific interest in that area.
Readings and Research courses must be approved by a faculty member (who must take on the course in addition to her or his regular teaching responsibilities), must be approved and sponsored by an academic department, and must include structured reading, regular discussions, and an examination, paper, or other written exercise as the basis for a final grade. A Readings and Research course will ordinarily be a part of a student's regular academic program during a fall or spring semester, but in some cases, may be arranged through the Boston College Summer Session. It may focus on either a concurrent internship experience or one that has already been completed (e.g., during the previous summer). Readings and Research courses thus provide the opportunity to structure academic analysis around a professional work experience and, when conscientiously pursued, can be very rewarding, both academically and professionally.
Of course, internships can also provide interesting experiences that form the basis of research papers in more standard course offerings, and frequently organizations which offer internship opportunities that require academic credit will accept a statement that the internship experience will be acknowledged through the development of such a research paper."
In Other Words
Readings and Research courses are the ones near the end of the undergraduate course listings—the ENGL4599 courses. This option provides the opportunity for a student to do guided readings under the supervision of a professor. The student must pitch the idea to a full-time professor; if the professor agrees, the student signs up for an ENGL4599 course using an Override form.
In the cases of three-credit internships, students follow a similar procedure: they find a professor they would like to work with, explain the internship, and find some academic complement to their work. Then the student would work with the professor and figure out when they would meet, what material will be covered at those meetings, and how the student will be graded.
The more typical and streamlined course is the one-credit internship.
Here's how they work
- The Career Center has resources to help you find an internship.
- Once you have the internship you can apply for English credit. Go to Stokes S493 for an "Internship Approval Form" or print one out using the link below. This form requires the signature of your supervisor.
- Note: As an English major, you don't have to do something particularly literary (e.g. work at a publishing house). In general, we try not to get in the way of a student's desire to get some practical experience—we're pretty flexible. Once you have this form signed by a supervisor, bring or fax 617-552-4220 to Trese Ainsworth in Stokes S493 for a signature and assigned course number.
- You must then take the form to your dean's office in Gasson 109 and complete a drop/add form.
- The internship grade is a Pass/Fail. At the end of the semester we'll need verification from your supervisor that you actually did the work. Please have your internship supervisor write a brief letter to Trese Ainsworth—on company letterhead—verifying that you did in fact do the work you were contracted to do (this is noted on the approval form your supervisor signs). This letter is not a recommendation and it need not be lengthy, just a quick confirmation. Have this individual mail/fax this letter to the English department.
- Once this letter has been received, your passing grade is submitted to the Registrar's Office. You will receive one academic credit for your internship for a Pass grade.
- ONE internship credit may count toward the 120 credits required to graduate.
- Students may use the one credit option as many semesters as they choose, but only once per semester.
The Boston College Career Center makes this pitch about internships:
"In general then, internships can be easily integrated into the Boston College undergraduate program even though they never qualify for academic credit without additional academic work. On the other hand, the question of credit is really a secondary one. Internships should be pursued because they represent valuable educational experiences, whether or not they are formally acknowledged on a transcript."