What is an internship?
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
Why should I do an internship?
An internship can be a fantastic opportunity to develop your technical and transferrable skills in a professional environment, build your resume, develop professional connections, and even get a job offer. But don't take our word for it: listen to your fellow students.
In a survey administered to USM student interns in Fall 2015, they told us just how amazing their experiences were. For example, Joshua Jacques, who interned with IDEXX Laboratories said: "I have gained many new skills through this internship experience and have also polished off some skills that I had that may have needed work. Having a positive environment really helped with this experience."
The main purpose of an internship is to help students transition from being in school to being a professional - whether that includes graduate school, paid work in the student’s chosen field, and/or volunteer work. Internships provide students with an opportunity to gain experience in a field of their choosing and an opportunity to confirm their interest in a particular career or even a specific company. Depending on circumstances, the internship may be paid or unpaid. During the internship, students often create a network of new contacts while gaining school credit. As you explore your internship opportunities, keep in mind that many internships have requirements and may vary in academic credit offered. Be sure to contact your academic department for these details.
An academic internship includes a learning plan that is structured into the internship, including objectives, reflection and assessment. The experience balances the goals of the student intern with the work the business or other organization needs. Academic Internships are normally part of an educational program and involve the award of academic credit. At USM, academic internships are run through our departments, and student intern placements occur in the context of an internship course.
How do I get credit? To explore all undergraduate academic internship courses within departments, visit Internship Opportunities within Majors. These are similar to a regular course and the cost per credit is the same.
If your major does not have an academic internship course listed, there are two options:
1. You may contact your Career Advisor and they will work with your department to explore options for credit within your major, and if none exist, our office may be able to provide a course for internship credit, working closely in conjunction with the departmental faculty:
- College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences - Alexandra Platts at firstname.lastname@example.org
- College of Management and Human Service - Norrie Crocker at email@example.com
- College of Science, Technology and Health - Stacy Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. You may complete your internship as a non-academic internship (see below)
A non-academic internship also involves learning, but this learning is not integrated into an academic course or other university learning experience. You may accept an internship at a company without enrolling in an internship course if you choose. Students on F-1 Visas must meet specific eligibility requirements in order to complete an internship. See important information on eligibility if you are studying in the US on an F-1 visa.
Where can I complete my internship?
If you need help with your internship search, USM provides a very helpful resource called USMCareerConnections, our online internships posting board. Current students can log in to the system by first logging in to your USM MyCampus Portal and then clicking the blue cube icon on the upper left in the "launchpad." For your convenience, you may click here for a list of recently posted internship opportunities.
The internship search is much like a job search, and it is important to understand the fundamentals of resumes, cover letters, interviewing, professional communication, and more. Our office has access to a number of career videos called "Career Spots" which you may find useful: click here to access.
Lewiston Auburn College Students
If you are a student at LAC, please navigate to: https://usm.maine.edu/lacinternships for all pertinent information. LAC has a fantastic internship program that is highly structured, following completion of courses 269 and 413. If you have additional questions after reading through the webpage, please contact Sandi Croft, Lewiston Auburn College Internship Coordinator.
USM Career Exploration (MEIF Funded) Internship Program
The Career and Employment Hub has a new program that takes applications from both students and employers and makes matches for well paid, semester-long internships, mostly in the STEM (CSTH) disciplines. This is an opportunity to build your resume, earn money, develop professional skills and professional contacts, and work towards the economic development for the state of Maine. To learn more about this great opportunity and see details about application, please click here.
Out of State Authorization Waiver Request
State laws require permission for out-of-state students to participate in on-site educational experiences. Community Engagement and Career Development can assist you with the authorization. For any USM student interested in completing an internship out of the State of Maine, please have the student complete the State Authorization Form and send to email@example.com for forwarding to the UMS state authorization staff member. NOTE: prior authorization can take 8-12 weeks, so plan ahead.
Numerous states participate in reciprocity agreements which do not require additional waivers for out of state internship or other placements. See participating states here. If the state in which you intend to do your placement is a SARA state, you do not need to submit a waiver form. If you would like to speak with someone about your out of state internship experience, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applying to an internship is often similar to applying to a job. Our office is here to help you with this process, to make sure you have an effective resume, cover letter if necessary, and that you are ready for your interview if you have one. Please go to our Career Tools Page for more information and resources
Who to Contact?
The following contacts are internship coordinators at USM in specific departments or schools. Most departments do not have a dedicated internship coordinator, in which case you can contact email@example.com. You may also find a list of internship courses and departmental contacts for those courses here.
Art: Kim Grant
Business: Melissa Burns
Communications: Russell Kivatisky
Criminology: Dusan Bjelic
Education: Linda Evans
Food Studies: Amy Carrington
Lewiston Auburn College: Sandi Croft
Media Studies: Dennis Gilbert
Nursing: Krista Meinersmann
Political Science: Robert Klotz