Qualified, degree-seeking students may enroll in credit-bearing, paid or unpaid Internship work assignments with a significant academic component under the guidance of an American University instructor. Instructor and teaching unit approvals are required for internships. An important component of any internship is the availability of an internship placement opportunity that will provide sufficient substantive work to merit academic credit. The work for the internship must meet the requirements defined below.
To enroll, students must be making satisfactory academic progress in their major and must have completed 30 earned credit hours at the University or, as a transfer student, at least one semester (with a minimum of 12 earned credit hours). Academic units or teaching units may specify additional requirements before enrolling students in internships.
The table below illustrates the earned credits associated with the required minimum interned hours. While the table includes the average weekly interned hours associated with earned credits, students, with the permission of their instructors, may vary their scheduled hours as long as they meet the total minimum requirement by the end of the semester or term. Students who elect to work in excess of the minimum for fewer academic credit hours should consult their academic advisor.
Earned Credits/Minimum Hours Interned
Minimum total hours interned required by end of term
Average number of hours interned weekly over 14 weeks
The maximum number of internship credit hours that may count toward a major is six credit hours. Academic units may require fewer than six credit hours to count toward the major. Students may take up to a maximum of 12 internship credit hours that count toward the 120 credit hours of their degree program. To receive academic credit, the work for the internship must be more substantive than administrative, with non-administrative work comprising in general at least 85% of the work performed. The instructor must provide the student an academic syllabus, with clear learning outcomes for the internship, communicate regularly with the student, and require academic assignments designed to provide an academic foundation and support for the internship. The instructor is responsible for the assessment of the student's performance which may include an assessment by the workplace supervisor. If the workplace supervisor provides an assessment of the student's performance, that assessment can count for no more than half the final course grade. The academic component of the course must be valued as at least half of the final course grade.
All students are encouraged to work with an advisor in the Career Center. For additional information about internships, call or visit the Career Center, Butler Pavilion 5th floor, 202-885-1804. Information is also available at: www.american.edu/careercenter.
Students must submit a completed and approved Internship Registration Form, along with the Internship Consent and Release Form to the Office of the University Registrar. Forms are available at: www.american.edu/provost/registrar/pdf/list.cfm.
Students in good academic standing generally may register for two types of independent study. In an Independent Reading course, a student will read a body of material with a minimum of formal instruction. In an Independent Research project, the student will research a topic agreed upon by the student and the instructor. Individual academic units may have restrictions on this policy.
Before processing registration for these courses, the student and the supervising faculty member must agree upon and document the title, objective, scope, and credit value (1-6) of the project to be pursued. The department chair or program director must approve the project and faculty member's involvement. In particular, he or she must attest that the project does not duplicate a course already offered in the semester's schedule which would be available to the student.
Independent study may not be used as credit toward the College Writing or University Mathematics requirements, or toward General Education. Independent study that substitutes for a major requirement must be approved by the teaching unit chair or equivalent. For selected courses, a temporary grade of IP (course in progress) may be assigned, at the discretion of the instructor, at the conclusion of the semester of registration.