Undergraduate Credit Options for Summer Internships

Undergraduate Credit for Internship Experiences

As summer planning begins, you may find yourself with a fantastic internship opportunity but are in need of academic credit for the experience. This isn’t uncommon, as many employers require students to receive academic credit for their internships as a way to have the university endorse the experience. Unfortunately, while Duke University encourages undergraduate students to pursue experiential learning such as internships, it does not grant academic credit for these experiences. However, do not despair! Although Duke doesn’t give credit for internships alone, there are a few options available that will provide you with the credit that you need:

  • Credit by Independent Study:  If you find yourself in a situation where you need academic credit for your internship, you can petition your academic department for a summer independent study project.  Independent study projects provide the student with academic credit by completing a faculty-supervised (internship-related) project concurrently with your internship. The credit you receive is technically for the work that you have completed on the project; however, the majority of employers will accept the credit since the project was completed in relation to the internship.  Independent studies must be initiated by the student so you are advised to start the process early as it may require several steps before it is finalized. A special note to add is that not every academic department offers independent study projects and the steps to arrange the project may vary by department. Students are encouraged to speak with their academic advisor or program coordinator to learn whether this option is available to them and the specific steps required to arrange the project. (See additional information at https://trinity.duke.edu/undergraduate/academic-policies/independent-study and https://trinity.duke.edu/undergraduate/academic-policies/credit-for-internships)
  • Enrollment in Writing 270:  If your academic department doesn’t provide independent study credit or if you don’t have the time to arrange a project, you may want to consider enrolling in Writing 270 for the summer. Designed specifically to provide undergraduate students with internship credit, this virtual course will satisfy employers’ credit requirements while teaching you to reflect and present your internship story through a variety of platforms (social media, blogs, etc.). Interested students should contact Jessica Corey in the Thompson Writing Program for additional details and to obtain permission to register for the course. This is a popular option among students so you are advised to register early as the sections tend to fill quickly.
  • Transfer Credit:  One final option for students who are in need of internship credit is transfer credit.  Students who are not able to arrange an independent study or enroll in Writing 270, can elect to earn credit from a college or university outside of Duke. There are many institutions who have summer internship credit programs which can be used to satisfy employer requirements. If you are interested in pursuing this option, you must notify your Duke academic advisor prior to beginning the application process at the other institution. Your advisor will help you navigate the required steps for you to transfer the credit back to Duke. In addition, when approaching the non-Duke institution, it is imperative that you state that you’re seeking credit as a transient student. This will prevent the institution from enrolling you as a continuing student and disrupting your financial aid and academic progress at Duke.  (See additional information at https://registrar.duke.edu/student-records-resources/transfer-credit)  

Students who wish to further discuss these credit-earning options for internships are encouraged to speak with their academic advisor or schedule an appointment with a career advisor within the Career Center.  Career advising appointments can be scheduled by students via their Handshake account.

By Leigh Ann Muth-Waring (she/hers)
Leigh Ann Muth-Waring (she/hers) Assistant Director, Employer Relations