Recommended By
Academic Senate
Judy K. Sakaki, President
Issue Date
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Current Issue Date
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Effective Date
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Contact Office
Academic Programs
Policy number
  1. Background
    1. On September 9, 2011, the California State University Office of the Chancellor issued Executive Order 1064 (EO 1064) concerning Student Internships. EO 1064 states “each campus is required to develop, implement, maintain and publish a student internship policy governing internships where the university makes the placement.”
  2. Purpose
    1. This policy establishes a policy for campus student internships and delegates responsibility for implementation to the Associate Vice President for Programs.
  3. Internships and Risk Management
    1. EO 1064 defines an internship as a formal agreement which:
      Integrates the student’s academic study with practical experience in a cooperating organization. It is an [on campus or] off-campus activity designed to serve educational purposes by offering experience in a service learning, business, non-profit, or government setting. For the purpose of this executive order “internship” does not include teacher preparation placements or clinical placements such as for nursing, counseling, physical therapy or occupational therapy. The internship Site is the organization at which the internship takes place.
    2. Service-learning and the Community Involvement Program (CIP) are excluded from this policy for Sonoma State and, for the purposes of risk management, are handled through a separate insurance policy.
    3. This policy will be applied to all academic internships at Sonoma State University. Academic internships must earn academic credit. An internship is an on-the-job experience at an on- or off-campus work setting directly related to career interests and major field of study. It is a paid or unpaid work experience that is supervised, in which students learn about the demands and requirements of a profession and industry under the direction of intentional learning goals. Salaried financial compensation for internship activities, if applicable, must be no less than minimum wage. Internships with for-profit businesses must be paid except when they meet all criteria set by the US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. Internships taken for academic credit require tuition payment in the same way as any course. Enrollment of students in internship courses and internship experiences not compliant with this Internship Policy could result in university and faculty liability.
    4. Non-credit bearing experiences are not subject to this policy, and Sonoma State’s Career Center and related programs in the Division of Student Affairs will act as facilitators for providing information on these experiences to students and alumni; however, the University will assume no responsibility for these non-credit bearing experiences. Students may pursue them on their own and they will not receive academic credit.
    5. The Center for Community Engagement (CCE), in consultation with faculty and the Campus Risk Manager, will develop procedures, minimum requirements, and applicable form templates, consistent with existing policies and best practices, for the following internship components: internship procedures, minimum requirements, and templates and these items will be reviewed and approved by EPC on an annual basis. CCE will report to EPC on an annual basis.
      1. Site Evaluation/Visit
        1. A Safety Evaluation must be completed by the CCE prior to students beginning internships at a site. The Safety Evaluation will be updated every five years at the time the University-Agency Agreement is renewed.
        2. A University-Agency Agreement, which includes proof of liability insurance, must be initiated by the CCE at the time the organization registers to host internships but does not have to be completed before students begin internship experiences.
        3. If necessary, the CCE will conduct all virtual site visits and Sonoma County in-person site visits when required due to Safety Evaluation responses and will work with supporting faculty to address in-person site visit needs for organizations outside the County or in out-of-state or international locations. The institution will develop processes to deal with faculty concerns related to the site evaluation process.
  4. Faculty Responsibilities
    1. Faculty are responsible for developing Learning Contracts (LCs) with students and the internship site prior to the placement of individual students at the site. The LCs must include assessment of the appropriateness of the internship site as a placement for the individual student and should include evaluation of the potential for the internship site to provide an educationally appropriate experience that relates to the student’s academic pursuits  at  SSU. LCs  must also include the CSU Release of Liability form signed by the student.
    2. Faculty should verify through the LC that internships take place outside the traditional classroom and that the practical learning component of an internship assignment shall total at least 45 hours on-site, per unit of credit, in accordance with the CSU Course Classification (CS code) of 36. A department may decide to require additional hours of the student’s time in any given internship for reflection, processing, and academic integration.
    3. No more than 12 units of internship credit shall be among the units applied toward the Bachelor's Degree, with no more than 8 units applied in a department.
    4. Faculty are responsible for providing oversight for internships. This responsibility includes verifying that the internship is undertaken only by students with sufficient academic background to benefit from the experiences (departments may determine policies related to minimum GPA, class status, major, etc.). This also includes designating mechanisms that guarantee oversight of the internship experience during the semester and evaluating progress on learning goals described in the LC and collecting and reviewing evaluations by the students and on-site supervisors. Faculty are responsible for sharing with the CCE any concerns they have about the educational appropriateness or safety of the site that is gathered from these evaluations. CCE will then address any concerns.
    5. The LCs will also verify that internships will be completed during the semester in which the student is enrolled, following standard academic regulations for course enrollments (add/drops, incompletes, and course withdrawals). Academic departments may develop departmental policies that contain any additional internship criteria deemed relevant to the educational experience, including whether internships are required for a given major, the maximum number of internship credits that may be applied towards a major, and limits on repetition of internship units (see Guidelines for Departmental Internship Policies for other suggested policies).
    6. Faculty are responsible for ensuring that if a qualified intern with a verified disability identifies the need for an accommodation. The site, in collaboration with SSU Disability Services for Students (DSS) and the faculty member, should provide an accommodation that will allow the individual equal access to perform the essential functions of the position.
    7.  Faculty and staff who develop internships shall coordinate their plans with the appropriate department chair or school personnel and complete a Learning Contract in coordination with the student and the supervisor from a site approved in part A above.
  5. Student Responsibilities
    1. Students enrolled in internships must abide by the SSU Student Code of Conduct. They must also abide by the SSU Internship Policy and by departmental internship policies. Students must sign the CSU Release of Liability form.
  6. Document Retention
    1. SSU will retain documents related to each internship site and internship experience consistent with system-wide and campus document retention guidelines (see Executive Order 1031)