Internships

Career Center Internship Guidelines

Definition of MSU Career Center Internship

An MSU Career Center Internship is a full-time, paid or unpaid*, practical work experience during an academic period directly related to a student's professional interest and/or major.

Type of Internship

Professional Practice I (EXL 3100) & II (EXL 3200) – 60 + semester hours completed with a 2.75 GPA, EXL 3100 is required to complete EXL 3200.

Congressional, Disney & Career Center Internship (EXL 0190) – These have no requirements other than to be in good standing with the university. Freshman students must complete two semesters at MSU and transfer students must complete at least one semester at MSU before qualifying for an internship.

Benefits to Student

  1. Relevant work experience
  2. Career Shadowing
  3. Transcript documentation
  4. Maintain full-time student status
  5. More direct involvement and support from the Career Center
  6. Paid in most cases

Employer Qualifications for Participation and Requirements

Employer must register with the Career Center (Connections) and agree to the rules and regulations of a participating employer.

Employers must register with the Career Center prior to participating in the Internship Program.

Job assignments must be related to the students' major field of study. Diversification is encouraged to afford the student a range of training and experience. The technical level and degree of complexity should be increased as the student demonstrates competency and progresses through the program.

Each internship student must be evaluated by the employer on the form provided by the MSU Career Center. The completed evaluation form should be discussed with the student and must be returned to the Career Center within the specified time period.

Employers are expected to identify internship student's needs well in advance of the projected begin work date. Registered employers may forward anticipated needs for internship students by posting job request(s) at Career Center Connections, by email, by phone, or by letter.

Internship Guidelines

  • Time Frame: Fall, Spring, Summer, Spring & Summer or Summer & Fall
  • Number of hours per week – Full time employee – 32 to 40 hours/week
  • Students must work at least 2/3 of the semester
    • Fall or Spring – 19 weeks so must work at least 14 weeks
    • Summer – 12 weeks so must work at least 8 weeks
  • Paid or non-paid
  • Multiple internships – Students can participate in an unlimited number of internships throughout the course of the college experience as long as it doesn't interfere with the successful completion of the academic program.

Documentation required:

  • Employer registration in Connections
  • Employer evaluation of Student
  • Student registration in internship class
  • Student Employment Documentation – To remain in the internship class the student must complete the Internship Employment Confirmation form and submit a copy to the coordinator of the offer letter or email from employer.
  • Student Evaluation of the Employer

Transfer from Internship to Co-op

Allow students to convert from MSU Career Center internship to co-op status if a co-op commitment is desired on part of the student and employer after first semester of internship. (Note: Student would generally remain with same employer as with co-op.)

Only one semester of an MSU Career Center internship could count toward completion of three-semester Co-op Program.

Prerequisite to convert to CP 2203 (second semester of co-op) would be MSU Career Center Internship course (either PPI or an EXL class).


*All unpaid internships sponsored by for-profit employers must meet certain criteria issued by the Department of Labor (2010). These can be found on the Cooperative Education website (www.coop.msstate.edu) or for more details check the US Department of Labor.

The DOL Guidelines for Unpaid Internships

In April 2010 the US Department of Labor issued some new guidelines for unpaid internships sponsored by for-profit employers. The DOL criteria are listed below:

  1. The internship, even though it includes the operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an education environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under the close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion the operations may be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

-Department of Labor, 2010

Tips for a Successful Internship

#1 Start Networking Early

It’s important to make everyone you know including family, friends, faculty, and previous employers aware that you are looking for an internship. Only a fraction of available internship opportunities are posted with the Career Center. You may choose to schedule informational interviews with key members of your network to gather information and discuss your interests in finding an internship.

#2 Look for Internship Listings on Internship Databases or at Company Websites

There are a number of databases designed specifically for searching for currently posted internships. Several resources can be accessed here through the co-op site:

  1. Connections
  2. Internship King
  3. Internships.com
  4. Careerbuilder.com

Many companies have special sections for internship and co-op applicants on their employment website. If you are interested in a specific company, visit that company’s website directly to determine if they offer internships related to your career goals. Usually things like: locations, a description of the internship assignment, requirements, and instructions on how to apply are included as well.

#3 Identify Unadvertised Internship Opportunities

Identify organizations of interest and contact them by prospecting to see if they hire interns or would consider hiring an intern to assist with important projects or carry out the day to day operations of the business. Check the newspaper, the local Chamber of Commerce, or look through local phone books to identify businesses of interest.

#4 Be Persistent

Most internships are highly sought after and application processes are quite competitive.The key to landing the perfect opportunity is persistence.  Keep networking and applying to internships of interest as you find them until you have received a definite internship offer. Be sure to follow up with employers after sending your resume to them. Students often make the mistake of thinking that once they have applied to two or three internships, they’re done.  Until you’ve gotten an offer from an employer, continue to apply to new internships as you find them.

#5 Prepare to Interview

The application process for most internships requires an interview. Interviews may be done over the phone, person-to-person, or both depending on the location of the internship. Start working with your Coordinator early to learn strategic interviewing skills including how to dress, handling tough questions, and ways to engage the interviewer. You should also prepare to follow the interview with a thank you note.

#6 Report Your Hire

Once you have been offered an internship opportunity, contact your internship coordinator to report your hire. If you want to maintain fulltime student status during fall and spring semesters or want to receive credit on your transcript for your internship, you must visit the co-op office to complete internship paperwork and register for the appropriate internship course.


More information about the internship search can be found at the career center.

Congressional Internships

Congressional Internships

Each semester our State of Mississippi Senators and Congressmen hire students for internships in their offices. This is a great way to gain experience, enhance your communication skills, network, and build your resume. It also provides you with an opportunity to be right in the center of all the action in Washington D.C. Each Senator and Congressman has a slightly different application process. Feel free to apply to all that you are interested in. These offices will also hire graduates who may be between undergraduate school and graduate or professional school and want to experience a semester or two in Washington. Below are links to the pages for each individuals internship web site.

Thad Cochran
Senator Thad Cochran
Roger Wicker
Senator Roger Wicker
Gregg Harper
Congressman Gregg Harper
Bennie Thompson
Congressman Bennie Thompson
Steven Palazzo
Congressman Steven Palazzo