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Unpaid Internships For Academic Credit

Establishing a For Credit Unpaid Internship:

  • Step 1: Review Program Requirements and the Internship Handbook

    In addition to reviewing the program requirements below, please review the Community Partner Internship Handbook for tips and suggestions when creating your internship opportunity. 

    Program requirements include:

    • Ensuring the internship position is related to an academic field of study available at CSUSM
    • Ensuring the internship position consists of pre-professional or professionally-related work assignments and tasks (note: administrative tasks must not exceed 20% of the internship).
    • Ensuring a safe and appropriate learning environment
    • Permitting, as needed, a CSUSM faculty/staff member to conduct a site visit prior to the student commencing internship work
    • Learn and be familiar with federal student privacy laws (FERPA) and adhere to it accordingly
    • Providing training and consistent guidance and supervision by a professional staff member
    • Providing a workplace orientation to the student including safety and emergency procedures
    • Allowing interns to meet with their supervisors and receive feedback on their activities on a regular basis
    • Verifying internship hours completed
    • Completing a partner experience survey


    If you will be offering an unpaid internship, review the Internship Programs and the Fair Labor Standards Act to ensure your internship opportunity meets the criteria for an allowable unpaid internship. Credit for internships is administered solely by the university. Students interested in obtaining credit must enroll in an internship course and obtain approval from their major department to confirm the appropriateness of the internship. 

  • Step 2: Submit an Application

    Complete the Academic Internship Partner Application form online.  To process your application in a timely manner, please ensure to answer all questions thoroughly. Please note your “Main Contact” information will be listed in the database for our students and faculty to view as the point of contact for your organization. If your application is on behalf of a pre-selected student, please indicate in the application. 

    Your application will be reviewed within 7-9 business days.

  • Step 3: Finalizing your University Community Partnership

    The application will be reviewed and upon approval,  a University Community Partnership Agreement will be sent via Adobe Sign to the legal signer provided to review and sign. The agreement will be valid for 5 years. Your organization and internship information will be uploaded to the Academic Internship database for our students  and faculty to review upon receiving your signed agreement.  

    The purpose of the University Community Partnership agreement is twofold:

    1. It provides guidelines that allow for safe and positive learning environments where the risk and liability have been minimized for all parties; and
    2. It provides necessary information to list your organization in our internship database where interested students search for internship opportunities. 

    * For reference: Draft University Community Partnership Agreement

Apply Here!