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Internship Guide for Employers

» Internship Guide for Employers

Need to find better job applicants? Internships are a cost-effective way for employers to pre-screen, evaluate, train, recruit, and potentially hire talent! Your participation helps students and faculty understand what’s important in your industry today and what skills are most valued, so we can better teach students to make an immediate contribution to your organization. Additionally, you’ll be promoting an environment that encourages learning and cooperation.

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A student can perform many tasks, but the primary purpose of an internship is to provide a beneficial learning environment for that student. To create a strong internship opportunity, ask yourself:

  • Is the work meaningful and appropriate for a college student? Hiring a student to exclusively perform busy work (cold calling, data entry, filing, answering phones, faxing, running errands, etc.) is inappropriate and will not be approved. Hiring an intern to alleviate some of your busy work is acceptable, as long as it’s balanced with meaningful responsibilities.
  • Will there be sufficient learning opportunities?
  • Will someone be available for on-site supervision?
  • Can you provide appropriate resources for the student to meet requirements?

Our Academic Internship Design Worksheet can serve as a guide when creating your internship. This form will not be turned in, but is very helpful in establishing projected learning outcomes that will align with what they are studying and doing within their internship.

Additionally, NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) outlines best practices for internships that may be helpful in the development of your internship program.

If You Do Decide to Hire an Intern, You'll Need to Follow the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), internship assignments should not replace the work of a regular employee, should be project-based, and provide a meaningful work/learning experience. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are criteria that must be met for a “for-profit” or private sector internship to be offered as unpaid.


While not mandatory, offering compensation makes your internship a more attractive opportunity. This is especially attractive during summer internships when undergraduate tuition, not covered by financial aid, is charged for credits earned. Compensation should be offered to the intern for parking, transportation costs, and other errands related to work assignments.

  • Typical intern pay can range from minimum wage to $24/hour
  • Students hired via an independent contract are to be paid and do not qualify as an unpaid intern
  • Chapman is one of a select group of schools that allows students to pursue academic credit for both unpaid and paid internships.

Insurance Coverage

Chapman University offers general liability insurance to credit-earning interns only. Please consult with your insurance carrier to make sure interns, paid or unpaid, are covered under your workers’ compensation policy to ensure a safe work environment.

Download Chapman University's Insurance Letter for Internship Sites»

Thinking about Hiring a Chapman University Intern?

It’s true: Every employer is unique. In order for an internship to be successful, it must serve both the needs of the intern and the priorities of your organization. Customize your internship to accomplish both!

Remember, some interns are new to formal work settings and may not be familiar with policies about conduct, breaks, attendance, and days off. Plan time to familiarize the intern with your organization’s policies right up front. Arrange feedback meetings where progress and ideas can be discussed.

Credit-Earning Internship Registration

Internships at Chapman University are not pre-approved; rather, it is up to the student to register their internship for academic credit after they have received the internship offer.

In the event that the student would like to register for academic credit, a few guidelines we have are:

  • Unpaid internships must follow the guidelines outlined in the “primary beneficiary test” per the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Feedback, guidance, and mentorship are to be provided to the student on a regular basis.
You as the employer, will be expected to:
  • Sign an agreement with Chapman University
  • Complete an evaluation of student performance, and
  • Sign-off on the student’s timesheet at the end of the semester to ensure registration and grade assignment.

Chapman University does allow students to receive pay in addition to academic credit. In fact, we would consider compensating interns a best practice for internships.

Intern Learning Agreement

Internship registration requires all parties involved (the student, the Internship Site Supervisor, a Chapman Internship Faculty Advisor, and our Career and Professional Development) to sign a written agreement defining the intern’s tasks, hours, and expectations. The Internship Site Supervisor is the on-site individual who supervises the intern and assigns projects and work. The selected Faculty Internship Advisor works with the student to establish learning objectives and assignments. Once hired, the intern will provide you with a copy of the signed agreement.

There is no standard length of time for an internship. The required hours for credit-bearing internships varies from a minimum of 20 hours for ½ credit to 120 hours for 3 credits and beyond. About half-way through the internship, Chapman University’s Career and Professional Development Internship Coordinator will email the designated Site Supervisor an Intern Performance Evaluation to complete. Toward the end of the internship, the intern will ask you to review a Chapman Internship Timesheet to confirm hours completed.

Registration Verification Letter

Some Human Resources teams may require a letter to verify that the student has the ability to register or has already completed registration. If this is applicable for your organization, the student can request this letter from Chapman's office of Career and Professional Development.

Supervising: What You Need to Know

To get off to a good start, the work agreement, including the number of work hours, should be reviewed at the beginning of service. Here are some recommendations:

  • Prepare: Set-up a dedicated workspace, plan an orientation meeting agenda, and a work plan for your intern. Be sure to include all staff that will be involved in the intern’s projects and key members of your team.
  • Mentor: Many supervisors offer meetings or lunches throughout the internship to review strengths and discuss workplace culture and expectations. This experience should benefit both you and the intern. It’s exciting to see students learn and grow. You might even find yourself championing your intern’s success!
  • Track: We recommend having the intern use a timesheet similar to the ones your regular staff uses. Students earning academic credits will provide a Chapman University Internship Timesheet for you to review and approve at the
    end of the internship.
  • Evaluate: If an intern has registered your internship to receive academic credits, Chapman University’s Internship Program team will email a performance survey mid-way through the internship for you to evaluate the intern’s performance. Share your ratings with the student to provide constructive feedback.
  • Reach Out: If you feel the internship tasks and expectations are not being met, contact Chapman's Career and Professional Development team.
  • Be Ready: It’s a good idea to ask the intern for his or her emergency contact information. If there’s an emergency involving an intern during the weekend or evening hours and his or her emergency contact cannot be reached, contact the Chapman University Public Safety Office at (714) 997-6763.

Ready to Post Your Internship Opportunity?

Post your opportunity on our Chapman's exclusive career portal, Handshake. If you need assistance, our Employer Relations team is here to support you.

Your Internship Liaison

In addition to assisting students with their academic registration processes, Chapman University's Internship Coordinator is also here to support employers with building new and enhancing existing internship programs.

(714) 744 -7688


The unpaid internship myth

Did you know? Chapman is one of a select group of schools that allows students to pursue academic credit for both unpaid and paid internships.

Career & Professional Development


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Please note that we are closed:
December 20 - January 1, 2020
January 20, 2020
March 27, 2020
May 25, 2020
July 3 - 6, 2020

Coronavirus Updates

For updates regarding internship courses and career services, visit the Career Coronavirus Updates Page.
Additional information about how Chapman is responding to the Coronavirus is available on Chapman’s Coronavirus Resource Page.
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