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Undergraduate Internships

student-computerWhile internships are not required, many students find them to be a valuable learning experience. Internships may be done for Economics credit if prior arrangements have been made with a faculty member.

Finding an internship takes time and effort. The economics program does not arrange internships for students. Instead, you must find out about possible internships and then bring a proposal to the supervising faculty member. The Career Planning and Placement Center has information about employers who are looking for interns. We post opportunities of potential interest to Economics majors on the major electronic mailing list. You should also check the binders in the placement center for details of on-going programs. Check early: some require you to apply, often by a specific deadline.

You may also create your own internship by contacting companies or government agencies to see if they would be willing to take you on as an intern. Sometimes a company or agency may have a special project on which they need temporary help. The more informed you are about what you as an intern could do for the company, the more likely you are to be successful. Personal contacts should be utilized as people are more likely to create internships for someone they know. The Economics Program will not approve internships in which the student is working under the supervision of a family member.

What distinguishes an internship from a summer job? An internship has a strong educational component. Some internship providers send their interns through a regular company training program; in other cases, the intern's supervisor spends a portion of his time teaching the intern about the job. Your responsibilities should be similar to those of employees who are college graduates, not to those employed as summer replacements for workers with less education, and should make use of what you have learned at OSU. Jobs that involve writing about economics, doing analysis of government or corporate policy, collecting and interpreting data in a marketing survey, or learning about particular markets (most commonly, financial markets) in greater depth are possible internship activities that would be approved. It is up to you to convince the faculty supervisor that what you will be doing is worth ECON credit.

You and your faculty supervisor must meet and agree on exactly what additional work you must do to meet the requirements for the internship. Carrying out your on-the-job duties is not sufficient; your faculty supervisor will want some other evidence of your activities and what you have learned as a result of the internship. For example, the faculty supervisor may want you to write a paper or a project report. In other cases, a journal detailing your activities, what you have learned, and how the experience relates to your economics major may be required. Quite typically, the faculty supervisor will want copies of any reports or other written materials you produce as an intern unless release of the information would violate the employer's confidentiality requirements. The faculty supervisor will also expect a letter of evaluation from your internship supervisor upon your completion of the program or the end of a term (for multi-term internships). No grade will be issued without such a letter. All internships are graded pass/no-pass.

Economics internships have a course number of ECON 410. The CRN number varies from term to term. The number of credit hours you will receive for the internship is something that you and the faculty supervisor must negotiate. Credit usually depends on the type of work you will be doing, whether or not you will be paid, and how much you will be working. As a rough approximation, one 30 hour work week of fairly high level work equals one hour of credit. Up to 16 hours of credit is possible; most are for less.


If you have an independent study or other credits from course numbers 401-410, fewer internship hours may be used to satisfy the requirements. You may get more than 4 hours of internship credit but you may not use them to fulfill the minimum requirements for the major; you will have to take other courses too.

After you have found an internship and a faculty supervisor, you will need to do some paperwork and register for internship credits before the term begins.  Here you will find the Internship Cover Page and the Internship Agreement.