Journalism in the Public Interest

Reporting Recipe: How to Add Information About Internships for Academic Credit At Your School
by Blair Hickman
ProPublica, Jan. 21, 2014, 5:37 pm

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Thanks for your interest helping ProPublica investigate the cost and quality of internships for academic credit! To add your school or major to our database, we need certain information, outlined below. These instructions are meant to step you through the research and verification process.

Once you’ve collected all the relevant information, you’ll report your results to our editors here (completing this form shouldn't take more than 20 minutes). Information about internship courses only will be reported here (completing this form shouldn't take more than 10 minutes.) 

You may find it easiest to use this page to record the answers, then fill out the final report online. Once our editors receive your answers, we'll review the data and publish it in our database.

If you have any questions, feel free to join and ask our Facebook group or email

To report your results, you will need to:

1.  Find out what academic calendar year the school uses. Especially if you are reporting on a school you did not attend, make sure to find out how they structure their academic calendar. To calculate the tuition cost of an internship, we need to know the school’sterm system.

✎ How is the school’s calendar divided?







2. Find the department or college that administers internships for the major you are researching The easiest way to find the right department is  to check the college or university’s web site for a listing of undergraduate degrees offered by major. For example, the University of Texas lists under “areas of study” on its web site.

     ✎ Make note of:

-Full name of the degree offered for the major field of study

-The college or department that offers it


3. Identify the internship coordinator for that department or major.

Call the college or department to obtain the name and contact information for the internship coordinator for your department. Some schools will have department staff listed on their website. Others may just have a general information number you can call. We’ll be asking you to attribute your information, so make sure to take down relevant contact information.

✎ Make note of:

- The name, e-mail address and phone number of the coordinator

- What his or her title is

4. Interview the internship coordinator about the department’s internship policies and available internship courses. Sometimes this information will be posted online internship policy, but we strongly recommend calling the internship coordinator to verify. At many colleges, the information is buried in different places on the website, or may be outdated.

✎Please document the coordinator’s responses to all of the following questions and any additional comments they make.

Does this department require an internship for graduation?



Does this department require internships to be unpaid?



Does this department ban unpaid internships?



Does either the department, or the university, offer stipends or financial aid to students in unpaid internships?



Does either the department, or the university, offer zero-credit, half-credit, transcript notation or some other method of getting credit for an internship without paying for a full class?



Where online can I find the most detailed description of the internship policy?

-Note the URL


Finally, ask the internship coordinator what internship courses are available to students.

✎For each individual course, make note of:

-Course number and name

-Minimum and maximum number of credits a student can earn for one term of this course

-Minimum number of hours a student must work per term to get credit for this course

If you get stuck, you can always post in the Facebook group or email me directly at

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