Internships

Creating quality internships: a guide for employers

Internships may be:

  • Two to nine months in duration
  • A part- or full-time commitment
  • Paid or unpaid opportunities
  • Connected or not connected to an educational program with academic credit

What are the requirements to be an “approved” internship site?

Very few colleges or universities have an institution-wide set of requirements for internships, such as the number of hours required, location, type of work, paid vs. unpaid, etc. At VCU, organizations are welcome to post an internship position to get the ball rolling to find potential candidates who will find a mutually beneficial experience at your organization.

An increasing number of college students seek academic credit for internships during their time in school, but the individual requirements for internships-for-credit are typically program- or major-based and can vary widely.

Main internship contacts

If you are a STUDENT seeking an internship, please call 804-828-1645 to schedule an appointment with a career adviser. 

VCU Career Services

Employer Contact:
Danielle Pearles, Interim Associate Director of Employer & Experiential Development, (804) 828-2216, ddpearles@vcu.edu

VCU School of Business Career Services

Contact:
Mike Eisenman, Director, (804) 827-1801, meisenman@vcu.edu

VCU School of Engineering Career Services

Contact:
Anita Taylor, Director, (804) 827-7028, ahtaylor2@vcu.edu

Program-specific internship contacts

Art Education

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internship focusing on K-12 classroom experience, nonprofit public education, event planning & programming, and studio/artistry work.
  • Contact: Dr. Sara Wilson McKay, Department Chair & Associate Professor, (804) 828-0471, swilsonmckay@vcu.edu

Department of African American Studies

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internships and full-time employment.
  • Contact: Dr. Shawn Utsey, Department Chair, (804) 828-1384, soutsey@vcu.edu

Department of English

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internship focusing on writing, editing, research, and teaching. Students prefer internships of up to 150 hours.  
  • Contact: Dale Smith, Coordinator of Undergraduate Advising, (804) 827-8320, rdsmith@vcu.edu

Department of Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internships.  
  • Contact: Dr. Janey R. Hutchinson, Department Chair, (804)828-8041, jhutch@vcu.edu

Department of History

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internship focusing on research projects, programs, and events.  
  • Contact: Dr. John Kneebone, Associate Professor, (804) 828-9706, jtkneebone@vcu.edu

Department of Graphic Design

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to graphic design students seeking internships focused on print design, branding, typography, web design, and package design.  
  • Contact: Anne Graves, Assistant Chair, (804) 828-1709, akgraves@vcu.edu

Department of Marketing

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to marketing students seeking internships.  
  • Contact: Dr. David Urban, Department Chair, (804) 828-8884, djurban@vcu.edu

Department of Photography and Film

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to film and photography students seeking internships focused on photography, multimedia, and video capture and production. Internships require supervision by a professional photographer.  
  • Contact: John Sheridan, Administrative Director, (804) 828-1695, sheridanjpb@vcu.edu

Department of Psychology

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to psychology students seeking internships.  
  • Contact: Dr. Linda Zyzniewsk, Undergraduate Director, (804) 828-8254, s2lezyn@vcu.edu

Robertson School of Media and Culture

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internship focusing on communications, public relations, and strategic communications.  
  • Contact: Maggie McDearmon, Career Development Advisor, (804) 828-1100, mcdearmonme@vcu.edu

School of Social Work

  • Area of Interest:   Connecting our community to students seeking internships focusing on clinical and macro practices of social work. Supervision and feedback are required for students in this program.
  • Contact: Muthoni Imungi, Ph.D., director of field education, (804) 828-9042, mimungi@vcu.edu

School of World Studies

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to world studies students seeking internships and full-time employment.  
  • Contact: Jon Waybright, Internship Coordinator, 804-399-8300, jwwaybright@vcu.edu

Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

  • Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internships focused on government agencies, public policy organizations, think tanks, legislative offices, and political campaigns.  
  • Contact: Shajuana Isom-Payne, Director of Student Success, (804) 827-2417, sipayne@vcu.edu

VCU Service-Learning

  • Area of Interest: Service learning classes require students to volunteer 20 hours over one semester to help an organization in the community. Service learning classes are required for most undergraduate degrees at VCU.  
  • Contact: Dr. Lynn Pelco, Program Director, (804)827-8215, lepelco@vcu.edu

VCU Student Organizations

  • Area of Interest: Volunteer projects that require large numbers of students or groups to complete.  
  • Contact: Beth Ward, Volunteer Services Coordinator, (804) 828-3648, bhward@vcu.edu

How do I enhance my internship position?

If you’d like to make your current internship experience at your organization one that is truly mutually beneficial for your organization and the intern, consider the following steps:

  • Write a plan for the internship. Consider what the intern can do for your organization and what your organization can teach the intern.
  • Set goals and policies for the internship position/program.
  • Spend time recruiting qualified applicants. Consider the institutions where the prospects you are seeking are studying, target those students, post at an appropriate time(s) of the year and allow time for the necessary recruiting steps.
  • Openly discuss expectations with applicants/potential interns.
  • Manage the intern’s work and development.
  • Conduct evaluations to improve your program both during the internship and at the end.

The Greater Richmond Chamber has an excellent guide on starting and enhancing an internship program.

 

Should I pay my interns?

There has been a lot of media attention about unpaid internships over the past few years and it can be difficult to follow the ins-and-outs of intern compensation. While it is good practice to pay an intern for work if possible, the rules differ between the private and public sectors.

For a full description of the current labor standards, visit the U.S Department of Labor website >>

According to the NACE website, the average hourly wage rate for a bachelor’s degree intern is $16.25. For master’s degree interns, the overall average is $22.58. The specifics of your industry and the student’s experience level will determine the exact amount you offer your intern.

Are there VCU guidelines regarding receiving credit for internships?

Internship guidelines are established by the department from which the student is seeking credit. Some departments award academic credit for internships and others do not. If academic credit is awarded, the student is required to register for the course and to pay the class registration fee. To learn more about internship requirements at VCU, contact Danielle Pearles at (804) 828-2216 or ddpearles@vcu.edu.