What is an internship?

A position is considered an internship when it provides a career-related learning opportunity. Internships can be opportunities to do projects and practical work assignments, to develop skills, gain experience, make connections, and become exposed to an industry. The specifics of the internship should be worked out prior to the start of the internship to avoid any confusion or disappointment.

Why do an internship?

Internships are an important and often invaluable step toward focusing career goals and preparing for life after college. Through internships, students gain practical work experience and develop skills and an understanding of different work cultures. Students also develop valuable contacts or mentors from internships and possibly obtain offers of full-time employment upon graduation. When applying for full-time positions, employers often expect students to have gained experience from internships, part-time jobs, and campus activities. In addition, there are certain fields where it is essential to gain hands-on experience in order to be competitive for future full-time employment opportunities.

How do I find an internship?

Barnard NACElink

Barnard Career Development posts internship, job, as well as volunteer opportunities through the online system NACElink.  It is important for students to complete their NACElink profiles and indicate any industry preferences as targeted emails are sent according to those interests to alert students about opportunities. Read about your rights and responsibilities as a job seeker and employee here.

On-Campus Recruitment (OCR)

Attend our career fairs, employer information sessions and interview on campus with top employers for some of the most competitive internships available.  To learn more, visit the On-Campus Recruitment section of our website.

Workshops and Counseling

Internship search workshops are held throughout each semester in the Career Development office to discuss strategies on how to search for internships and how to market experience to potential employers.  Please log-in to NACElink and check under the “Events” tab for the time and locations of these workshops.

It is also a good idea to meet with a Peer Career Advisor or make an appointment with a career counselor to learn more about Career Development resources and get help focusing your search.  Please call the Career Development front desk at (212) 854-2033 to make an appointment with a counselor. 

Newsletters and E-Mails

Career Development also provides information on the latest internship opportunities through our listings of “Hot Internships” on our homepage, our Facebook and Twitter pages, a weekly eNews e-mail, a monthly newsletter, and periodic e-mails about specific internship opportunities.  Students interested in public interest and nonprofit sector internships should subscribe to the New York City Civic Engagement Program Newsletter for weekly updates.


What is co-curricular credit?

Barnard College believes learning occurs in the classroom as well as outside of the classroom, through work and volunteer experiences. The purpose of an internship is to develop the skills necessitated to become a qualified, well-rounded and educated individual. To help assist in the development process, Career Development offers an internship program to help facilitate internship and co-curricular experiences.  Students may receive co-curricular credit, which documents their experience and may be used to satisfy provisions set by organizations that require academic credit in order to secure an internship.


Will I receive credit for an internship?  What if an internship requires that I receive credit?

Although Barnard does not award academic credit for internships alone, that does not prevent students from participating in an internship that requires credit.  A student can obtain a letter from Career Development stating that she will be participating in the internship under the Barnard College Internship Program and will receive co-curricular credit for the internship.

If your internship is unpaid, you should be familiar with the U.S. guidelines regarding unpaid internships for for-profit entities.  Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, interns are entitled to receive at least minimum wage unless the position may be categorized as a Trainee/Learner position. The U.S. Department of Labor has established a six-part test for “for-profit” organizations to determine whether a position qualifies as a Trainee/Learner position and may be unpaid. 

     1.  The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;

     2.  The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;

     3.  The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under 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 its operations may actually be impeded;

     5.  The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and

     6.  The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

In order to receive a co-curricular credit letter, students must download, complete, and submit the co-curricular credit letter request form to Career Development.  This letter is sufficient for most internship sponsors. Please allow three business days to process the letter.

Co-Curricular Credit Letter Request Form

Arrangements may sometimes be made to receive academic credit through combining an internship with an academic class or a course of independent study.  Please speak with a faculty advisor about creating independent study courses with internship components.

Is funding available for unpaid internship positions?

Students engaged in unpaid internships are eligible to apply for an Alumnae and Donor Sponsored Internship Grant.  Please consult the funding opportunities section of our website for information on funding resources for your internship.