What is an Internship?
An internship allows students to participate in on-the-job training while receiving academic credit toward graduation. Internships come in a variety of different forms and meet a range of academic goals; however, please review the following guidelines to ensure your position can be considered an internship.
- Internships can be paid or unpaid (see note below)
- Internships need to be approved by a faculty advisor to qualify for academic credit
- Internships generally align with the University's semester system (Fall, Spring, Summer Terms) but can be flexible if needed
- Students need to work on projects or research directly relating to their major or field of study
- Direct supervision for the student is required
- All internships taken for credit must be reported to Internship Services
- Paid internships need to meet the minimum wage standards for the state of employment.
- Stipends, scholarships, and/or travel reimbursement may also be offered.
- Students are required to have university health insurance OR proof they are covered by an alternate policy.
- Worker’s Compensation is provided by the organization providing the paycheck. If the individual is on the UM payroll at the time of an accident, the Montana University System (MUS) Self-Funded Worker’s Compensation applies.
- The University of Montana does not provide Worker’s Compensation coverage for unpaid interns. According to Montana Supreme Court ruling, it is at the employer’s discretion whether they choose to provide such coverage to unpaid (volunteer) interns.
- Interns' Professional Liability is covered by UM provided they receive academic credits that satisfy course requirements and provided the internship experience is University approved and supervised. Bottom line: non-enrollment in academic credit for an internship means non-coverage.
Federal Guidelines for Unpaid Internships
Legally, all unpaid internships must meet the following criteria. If you are unsure if your position meets these requirements, please contact us!
- The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in an educational environment
- The internship is for the benefit of the student
- The interns or students do not displace regular employees and work under their close supervision
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from and may in fact be impeded by the intern
- The interns are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period
- The employer and the interns understand that the interns are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training
For a comprehensive document of federal guidelines, please see the Federal Guidelines PDF.