Internship Policies for Undergraduates

Internships are offered in some departments and programs during certain terms, and also through the Office of Career and Professional Development, only during the summer. A comprehensive explanation of the undergraduate policy is below.

What departments or programs offer internship credits? Review the catalog course listing for these departments to find specific courses (usually number in 450s or 460s). If you have questions about getting credit as an internship, speak with faculty in the appropriate department.

  • Accounting: ACCT 454: Internship (4) - summer and winter terms
  • Art and Art History: sumer only
    • ARTH 453: Internship in Arts Management (3)
    • ARTS 453: Internship in Studio Art (3)
  • Career and Professional Development: CPD 451: Career and Professional Development Summer Internship (1) - summer only. Additional summer CPD information is below.
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Science: CBSC 453: Internship (3) - all terms, including summer
  • English: ENGL 453: Internship in Literary Editing with Shenandoah (3) - all terms, including summer
  • German: GERM 451, 453, 456: Internship Abroad (1,3,6) - summer only
  • History: HIST 453, 456: Internship in History (3,6) - all terms, including summer
  • Interdisciplinary: INTR 453: International Internship (3) - summer only
  • Journalism and Mass Communication: summer only
    • JOUR 451, 452, 453: News Internship (1,2,3)
    • JOUR 461, 462, 463: Communications Internship (1,2,3)
  • Neuroscience: NEUR 453: Neuroscience Internship (3) - summer only
  • Politics: POL 453, 456: Internship (3,6) - all terms, including summer
  • Poverty and Human Capability Studies: POV 450, 453: Shepherd Summer Internship (0,3) - summer only
  • Romance Languages: FREN 451, 452, 453: Internship Abroad (1,2,3) - summer only
  • Theater, Dance, and Film Studies: THTR 453: Internship (3) - summer only
  • Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: WGSS 451: Internship (1) - all terms, including summer

Are you doing a different summer internship, for which you hope for credit?  If an academic department or program does not offer a summer internship listing, you may be able to register for CPD 451: Career and Professional Development Summer Internship (1), overseen by the CPD staff, to accommodate qualifying experiential-learning (EXP) internships.

Internships may be paid or unpaid. Students must work a minimum of 140 hours over no fewer than four weeks. Specific requirements for earning CPD 451 credit are available through the CPD Canvas Course. Qualifying internships include but are not limited to

  • external, on-site, or remote professional internships;
  • on-campus summer research (provided the designated FDR EXP course is not available through the academic department); or
  • qualifying volunteer opportunities.

CPD 451 credit -- one per summer, up to three toward degree requirements -- is not awarded to students already enrolled in an academic EXP course for the same experience, and it may not be awarded retroactively.  Discipline-specific summer research, practica, or internship courses are listed in the catalog.

The application instructions and timeline for CPD 451 will be posted in the CPD Canvas Course by the end of Winter Term. Email with questions.

Complete Undergraduate Internship Policy

Washington and Lee awards degree credit "for education, not experience." Credits are awarded only for internships that contribute toward learning, as specified by departments and programs listing all internship experiences as a 450- or 460-level course. Departments and programs are responsible for approving each internship in advance, designating faculty supervisors, requiring appropriate graded work securing evaluations from work supervisors, ascertaining that the student worked sufficient hours assigning a grade for the course, and retaining records on each individual's performance for evaluation purposes. Where credit is appropriate for an internship, it does not depend on whether or not there is a salary or stipend.

Credits may be awarded to students for internships as follows: up to nine credits for winter or fall term; up to four credits for spring term; and up to three credits for summer experiences. A maximum of nine credits of internship may be used to meet degree requirements.

Not all summer-work experiences qualify for degree credit. The value of summer work lies in experience and networking. The requirement of some employers that students must receive academic credit in order to be considered for employment has absolutely no bearing on the academic department or program's decision regarding degree-credit approval. The decision to award degree credit will be based on the educational merits of the internship experience as determined by university faculty or qualified staff.

Clearly, some instances of summer experience may qualify for degree credit based on subsequent work in a fall term supervised by a department or program. Faculty or qualified staff should be involved in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the internship. Summer transcripting -- only of off-campus, C&D-approved summer courses -- is permitted.   Students seeking credit outside of an academic department are encouraged to apply for the one-credit, experiential-learning internship overseen by the Career and Professional Development Office and listed as CPD 451.

The student will register for the internship in the summer term. The degree credit awarded and conditions of the summer-term academic work, and any additional work required during subsequent terms at W&L, will be determined by the sponsoring department or program and faculty or staff member.