Internships for Academic Credit (IACs)

IAC credit

What are internships for academic credit (IACs)?

At SJSU an internship is defined as “a paid or unpaid, closely monitored, highly structured, strategic, well defined, project-related program that provides professional work experience outside of the classroom environment. An internship merges academic, personal development and career exploration in one.”

At SJSU an internship for academic credit (IAC) is an internship for which a student receives course credit. 

What is the SJSU policy on IACs?

The SJSU policy on IACs is laid out in S16-14. This policy, written in compliance with EO1064, stipulates that departments and/or colleges running internships for academic credit must secure a University Organization Agreement (UOA) from the organization where the internship is taking place (if the internship is at a non-SJSU organization); and that students doing IACs need to complete both a Learning Plan and the Participation Guidelines.

What are the circumstances under which a  University Organization Agreement (UOA)UOA is needed?

A UOA is needed any time any SJSU student is doing an internship with an off-campus organization and is getting academic credit (i.e. units) for that internship.

What are the circumstances under which a UOA is not needed?

A UOA is not needed under the following circumstances only:

  • A student is doing an internship but is not enrolled in any course or units associated with that internship. In other words, the internship is not for academic credit of any sort. (The UOA is needed only with credit-bearing internships.)
  • The IAC is with an SJSU department or organization. (SJSU does not need to make an agreement with itself.)
  • The IAC is classified as a “teacher preparation placement” or a “clinical placement” like “nursing, counseling, physical therapy or occupational therapy." (These types of placements are exempted from the UOA because they have other types of liability agreements in place.)

In all other cases, an active UOA is required for each organization hosting an SJSU IAC.


SJSU departments use different approaches — or a combination of approaches — towards placing students in IACs. In some departments, students are responsible for finding and securing their own internships. Other departments have arrangements with specific organizations and place their students in preselected sites.

The IAC instructor (in cooperation with other departmental personnel, as determined by that department) determines what internships may count for course credit.


Both the learning plan (LP) and the participation guidelines (PG) are required for all IAC students.

Learning Plan (LP)

The Learning Plan is an agreement between the student and the instructor of record for the internship units. The LP ensures that the student has clear and achievable learning objectives and helps all parties see the connections between the internship and the student’s foundational coursework within the department.

All SJSU Learning Plans must contain the basic components listed below.  Beyond that, departments may add additional components and/or format the LP as they like.

  1. Student’s name and contact information
  2. Student’s emergency contact information
  3. Name of the internship organization
  4. Name and contact information of primary contact person at the organization
  5. Brief description of the student’s proposed internship duties
  6. Student’s learning objectives
  7. Number of internship hours that the student commits to completing
  8. Start/end dates
  9. Student signature
  10. Faculty signature
  11. Signature of student’s supervisor at the organization (strongly recommended)

Download a Learning Plan Template.

Participation Guidelines (PG)

The Participation Guidelines (PG) page apprises students of their rights and responsibilities while engaged in their IAC, and includes information on professional conduct, health and safety, and what to do in case of harassment, discrimination, injury, and/or illness.

The PG page is effectively a waiver of liability. When properly signed by the participating student, the PG page indemnifies both the internship organization and SJSU from liability.

All SJSU Learning Plans must include the Participation Guidelines as the final page.

The PG page cannot be changed or modified in any way; rather, it must be an exact copy of the SJSU Participation Guidelines template.

Procedures for Learning Plan & Participation Guidelines

  1. The internship course or program instructor gives a copy of LP and PG to each student to complete, whether electronic or hard copy (instructor’s choice).
  2. The student completes the LP & PG and returns them to the instructor.
  3. The instructor reviews the LP and PG to ensure that they are complete and correct. If they are not, then they should be returned to the student to revise.
  4. Once satisfactorily completed, the instructor and the student both retain copies of the LP & PG, whether electronic or hard copy.
  5. The LP and PG are kept by the instructor for five years, after which time they can be disposed of according to SJSU’s information security guidelines.