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San Diego State University

Career Services

Student Internship Overview

Internships are a way to gain relevant work experience, get your "foot in the door", and develop your professional network. Learn more about internships here, then talk to a career counselor or department internship contact.

 Did you know?

9 out of 10 employers prefer potential hires to have at least 1 internship experience
Career Services offers three Internship Workshops that inform and empower students interested in getting an internship. View all of the Spring 2018 workshop days and times.
Can't make it to a workshop?  View the
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 About internships

Internship Search Tips from the Campus Internship Coordinator

First, search for internships in four ways:
1) Search Aztec Career Connection for internships
and use the How-To Guide for search tips

2) Contact your major's Department Internship Contact to see if he/she has any internship leads

3) Go to the Internship Resources page to access internship search websites

4) Access GoinGlobal through your Aztec Career Connection account to find international and domestic internships

Second, develop your resume by coming in for a Fast 15 Walk-In to meet with a Career Counselor to get feedback on your resume.  Fast 15 Walk-Ins happen everyday as follows: Monday-Thursday 1-2:45pm and Friday 10-11:45am.  *Please note that Career Services is open all year long.

Third, practice interviewing by use Big Interview through your Aztec Career Connection account.  Big Interview is a mock interview system that you can use from any computer with a camera and microphone.  You set up the interview type and the computer records you so that you are able to watch yourself and get tips from the program.  Additionally, you can email your interview to a Career Conselor or mentor to get feedback. 

Fourth, attend Career Services workshops and event to develop your career readiness and network with employers. View the Career Services Workshops & Events Schedule webpage to see what workshops and events are coming up.

Fifth, if you are an international student, you will need to meet with an International Student Center (ISC) advisor to find the process you will need to complete in order to do a paid internship.  You can visit the ISC website at

Good luck with your internship search!

Heather LaPerle

What is an internship?

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

Internships vary according to tasks, work time, and compensation. Standard internships usually require 10 to 15 hours peer week during the semester, and up to 40 hours per week in summer. Compensation possibilities can include hourly pay, class credit, or a stipend.

It is recommended that students, employers, and faculty/staff refer to the Internship Definition & Characteristics Matrix in order to learn more about the characterists of internship expereinces.  Additionally, the Internship Definition & Characteristics Matrix has information about what SDSU requires, recommends, and finds not applicable to the three categories of internships: paid, paid for academic credit, and unpaid for academic credit.

Key parts of a successful internship

  • Site Supervisor/Mentor- a designated person to go to for help and feedback
  • Training/Orientation
  • Opportunity for all interns to meet periodically
  • Defined internship project
  • Opportunity to develop professional connections

Benefits of an internship

Internships are valuable, regardless of compensation. Internships are a great way to:

  • Explore career interests and gain valuable experience
  • Gain experience that will attract future employers
  • Apply academic knowledge to a work setting
  • Practice communication and teamwork skills
  • Meet new people and practice networking
  • Experience a career before graduating
  • Build resumé and obtain potential work-related references
  • Investigate potential employers’ organizations
  • Develop self-confidence, time management, critical thinking, and decision-making skills

Intern responsibilities

  • Serve as a representative of San Diego State University and, as such, have influence regarding the employer's decision to host SDSU students in the future
  • Approach internships in a professional manner that is guided by courtesy, a desire to learn, and a willingness to receive feedback for improvement
  • Act in a responsible and appropriate manner in accordance with the rules and regulations of the organization