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Internship Policy

The Internship Program at Howard University is designed to provide students with practical real world career-related experience within a professional setting. It offers an opportunity for students to apply knowledge and theories learned in the classroom to the world of work. The Internship Program also allows students to explore professions, develop career-related skills and abilities while gaining valuable work experience. Employers who seek to partner with the Howard University to provide internships for Howard students must register with the Career Services Office and create a profile via our online Career Management System – Handshake. 

What Is An Internship?

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has defined an internship as follows:

An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.

Criteria For An Experience To Be Defined As An Internship

To ensure that an experience—whether it is a traditional internship or one conducted remotely or virtually—is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship in accordance with NACE definition, all the following criteria must be met: 

  1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework. 
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.  
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals. 

If these criteria are followed, it is the opinion of NACE and Howard University that the experience can be considered a legitimate internship. Interns classified as employees would in most cases be considered nonexempt employees who must be paid at least minimum wage and overtime pay.


While not every organization has the ability to provide payment and/or for credit internships the experience gained will strengthen their work history. Academic Credit received for an internship will take a student one step closer toward graduation and compensation helps cover the costs associated with carrying out an internship.

Unpaid Internships

Federal guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Labor has outlined the following six criteria for unpaid internships to authenticate that an internship does not represent an employment relationship.  If any of these criteria are not met, the intern must be paid. 

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

Academic Credit For Internships

Academic credit, while it legitimizes an unpaid experience, should not replace compensation for work carried out during an internship. Please note that the decision to award academic credit is made by a student’s respective academic department at Howard University and the internship experience must fit the above criteria and be related to the student's field of study.


Hours of Operations
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Monday - Friday

Office of Career Services
C.B. Powell Building, Suite 212  
525 Bryant Street, NW
Washington, DC. 20059