Academic Internships – Community/Industry Partners

Thank you for your interest in becoming a partner with SF State and hosting student interns with your organization. When you post an internship (paid and unpaid) opportunity with your organization, many of our students will seek to obtain academic credit (we refer this as an academic internship). To ensure students’ safety, academic internship course policies have changed requiring that all academic internship placements comply with SF State (Senate Policy S17-278) and CSU (Executive Order 1064) risk management policies to create positive and safe off-campus learning experiences. The SF State administration has directed ICCE to support the implementation of Academic Senate Policy S17-278.

Academic Internships are a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application, training, and skills development in a professional setting. Academic internships give students opportunities to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide, train and evaluate talent.

Below you will find all the information you need to start hosting SF State students for academic internships.

For Community & Industry Partners

  • ICCE staff will reach out to you to obtain the LPSA once you successfully complete ULink registration. 
  • The LPSA is a formal agreement between SF State and your organization. The agreement specifies expectations for each party and formally indicates how issues of liability and worker’s compensation will be handled. Once signed, the LPSA may be renewed every 5 years by agreement of both parties. Additionally, as outlined in LPSA we will request a copy of your organization’s certificate of insurance (COI).
  • Once the LPSA and COI is submitted, your ULink profile will be active and your organization will be labeled as a “University Approved Partner”. With this status, you are able to host students across SF State, in all disciplines excluding clinical and student teaching. You are ready to post your opportunities!
  • Should you host a student who is asking to receive academic credit, the student will ask you to review and complete a Learning Plan with you.

HELP? For more information, please see FAQ’s below or contact Eunice Kim | for Early Field Work Programs, College of Business, and College of Science & Engineering. Michelle Chu | for College of Health & Social Sciences (HSS) and College of Liberal & Creative Arts (LCA). 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, we do encourage that you register for both ULink and Handshake. Handshake is SF State's career/jobsite platform, which students use to view and search for employment opportunities both on and off-campus. With a Handshake account, organizations also have the opportunity to post internship opportunities. ULink is different from Handshake in that it has the risk management components embedded into the system and organizations can approve and track intern hours, and have the opportunity to connect with SF State faculty & staff for potential research and service learning projects. When you post your internship opportunities, students may seek to earn academic credit for their internship with your organization. We refer to this as academic internships. These academic interns are interns that perform an internship alongside a class that requires the internship for course credit. There are a few simple forms involved in regards to risk management between SF State and the host site/organization, and once completed they serve the whole University. As an approved partner, your site will be placed on the ULink directory, which SF State students can view as they search for volunteer, internship, and community service learning sites. To begin the process, we ask organizations to register with ULink. However, we do encourage organizations to continue to post on Handshake as well for students will look at both platforms. Non-academic interns are students that are taking an internship completely because they are interested in the experience. These positions can be paid or voluntary, but they are completely separate from the University. These internships are not as stringent on specific learning outcomes and do not require a University agreement because the interns are not receiving academic credit.
Approved organizations/partners are "host learning placement sites" with a formal 5-year contract in place, called Learning Placement Site (LPS) Agreement. All LPS Agreements and a list of approved organizations can be found within ULink, SF State's official community engagement database. All SF State faculty and staff have access to this list by registering and creating a ULink profile.
Internships (or externship) is on-the-job experience at an on or off-campus work setting directly related to career interests and major field of study. It is a paid or volunteer work experience that is supervised; where students' learn about the demands and requirements of a profession and industry under the direction of intentional learning goals. Academic Internships earn academic credit while career Internships do not earn academic credit. Internships which are taken for academic credit require tuition payment in the same way as any course. There is no charge for internships not taken for academic credit. To ensure students’ safety, academic internship course policies have changed requiring that all academic internship placements comply with SF State (Senate Policy S17-278) and CSU (Executive Order 1064) risk management policies to create positive and safe off-campus learning experiences. All placements sites must be at University Approved Organizations.
  • Verifying internship hours completed; and,
  • Allowing interns to meet with their supervisors and receive feedback on their activities on a regular basis;
  • Providing a workplace orientation to the student including safety and emergency procedures;
  • Providing training and consistent guidance and supervision by a professional staff member;
  • Permitting, as needed, a SF State staff member to conduct a site visit prior to the student commencing internship work;
  • Ensuring a safe and appropriate learning environment; and,
  • Ensuring the internship position consists of pre-professional or professionally-related work assignments and tasks.
  • Additional requirements may apply, pending on the department/program that the student is enrolled in (e.g. evaluation form).
  • Academic internship duties may include assignments that support a business, but if that is the primary motivation for recruiting a student, then an unpaid internship is probably not right for you.
  • For-profit organizations can only offer unpaid internships that are in compliance with the FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, FACT SHEET #71 describes seven parameters which, when met, allow an internship to be unpaid.
  • At SF State, we are concerned with ensuring our students receive learning experiences relevant to their academic majors, and are placed in safe work environments. In order for students to earn academic credit, employers should design the internship as a learning experience and be prepared to dedicate staff resources to train, teach, mentor, and guide the intern. If you wish to recruit an intern purely to help your business you should provide compensation of minimum wage or above, per State regulations.
In order for a student to receive academic credit for their internship, the industry/community partner should be registered with ULink. It is then the responsibility of the student to connect with their course instructor and/or faculty advisor to request and receive course credit for this approved internship. The student should then present you a Learning Plan, which outlines course expectations as well as the job tasks that you are asking the intern to perform during their time with your organization. Additionally, when you post your opportunity onto ULink, this is how your organization's profile is linked to your student intern. Once linked, the student will be able to post their completed hours and you in turn will be able to review and approve the hours in your ULink profile. The course instructor will then be able to view the completed hours. With ULink, paper timesheets are a thing of the past!
Students interns gain experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development in a professional setting. A for-credit, an academic internship is an approved and supervised work experience that meets specific student learning goals related to an academic field of study. With community/industry partner employers as co-educators, students in academic internship courses engage in real-world professional experiences, allowing students to "learn by doing" and reflect upon that experience. Service learners are students enrolled in communiy service learning (CSL) courses and make connections between course topics and real-world issues. Service learning gives you a structured experience which you can use to evaluate, assess, and apply the knowledge you encounter in class while addressing community-defined needs. Service learning is a high impact learning practice that takes you beyond our campus and into Bay Area communities in partnership with community-based organizations and city agencies. It is also a way to strengthen your understanding of social justice, explore the causes of social problems, and examine your personal values and beliefs.