GEN ST350: Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to enroll in GEN ST 350?
An important question for all students to ask themselves is whether or not they actually want or need to earn credit for their internship experience. In order to be defined as an internship, an experience must involve both work in the field and a focus on learning. While some internships also involve earning academic credit, this is not a requirement. Earning GEN ST 350 credits at the UW may, or may not, benefit your advancement toward a degree -- it is best to check in with an academic advisor in your major department. A student can still record an internship experience on his or her resume without having earned academic credit.
Is academic credit legally required for an unpaid internship?
Some employers may require a student to earn academic credit for an internship. This requirement is fully within their right, but may also be worth checking in with them about if earning academic credit will not be beneficial toward earning your degree. The employer may just be looking for confirmation of student status that could be demonstrated in another way. The employer may also think that these credits will be beneficial to the student -- if this is not the case and you will be paying for credits that will not advance your degree, you may want to let the employer know. Some employers are also just trying to maintain legal employment practices. While it is not legally required for an unpaid intern to earn academic credit, the Department of Labor does have guidelines to determine whether an intern is considered an "employee." Employers are supposed to make sure that what they are asking the "Intern" to do is a legitimate learning experience, and not just a way to get free labor without paying benefits, taxes, etc. If they can not match these criteria then the "employee" and "employer" are subject to the monetary provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. That means that the interns are entitled to minimum wage and overtime compensation. The guidelines for legally employing an unpaid intern are as follows:
1. The training, even though it includes actual operations of the facilities of the employers, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school.
2. The training is for the benefit of the student.
3. The student does not displace a regular employee, but works under the close observation of a regular employee or supervisor.
4. The employer provides the training and derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the student; and on occasion, the operations may actually be impeded by the training.
5. The student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
6. The employer and the student understand that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent training.
If an employer would like to know more about these legal guidelines, you could refer them to the following articles:
How do I register?
The two page application for General Studies 350 can be found both on our website and in MGH 120. Your site supervisor and faculty sponsor must sign your application before you can be registered. Upon turning in your application to MGH 120, the Carlson Center will register you and the course should appear on your MyUW within 1-5 days.
How many credits can I register for?
The number of credits you are eligible to receive is dictated by the amount of hours you will be on-site over the duration of the quarter. Generally, three hours per week on-site will grant one credit worth of eligibility, up to a maximum of six for any registration. For example, a student working 10 hours per week at their internship could register for up to 3 credits. Students may register for less credits than the maximum number. Students may choose to request a lower amount of credits than the maximum amount that they are eligible to receive.
What am I earning credit for?
Students enrolled in this course are receiving credit for the academic project they complete, not the internship itself. Completion of the internship is not sufficient to earn credit under General Studies 350.
How many total GEN ST 350 credits can I earn?
A student can register for a maximum of 6 GEN ST 350 credits during one quarter. No more than 18 credits of GEN ST 350 can be applied towards graduation requirements, and no more than 12 credits may be earned at a single internship site.
How will GEN ST 350 affect my tuition costs? Does it count towards full-time student status for Financial Aid qualifications?
This course will affect your tuition costs, financial aid eligibility, and scholarship status in the same manner than any other University of Washington credits would. Please consult the Quarterly Tuition Rates made available by the Office of Student Fiscal Services for more detailed information regarding any possible tuition costs that may accompany your GEN ST 350 registration.
I don’t know any professors at the UW. How do I find an academic sponsor? Can a TA be my sponsor?
The Carlson Center recommends that students work with a faculty member whose academic background is in some way connected to their internship work experience. If you do not know or have relationships with any such faculty members, departmental advisors should be able to refer you to faculty who are willing to work with students pursuing independent study options. It may be intimidating to approach faculty members that you do not have a relationship with, but consider it an opportunity to get to know new a professor. Graduate students, including teaching assistants, are not eligible to be academic sponsors.
What types of credits can I get for GEN ST 350? What requirements does it fulfill?
GEN ST 350 does not fill any specific requirements. Up to 18 credits of the course may be applied towards the 180 total credits that must be accumulated to graduate.
How do I know if my internship is eligible for GEN ST 350? Can I receive credit for my part-time job?
Most internships, paid or otherwise, are eligible for the GEN ST 350 course as long as the academic work is suitable. You cannot receive credit for a part time job you are working, but you may want to investigate how you might arrange an internship at your workplace, completing a different set of tasks or projects than those that are in your current job.
Can I register for the same internship for my department credits and GEN ST 350?
Generally a single internship may only be registered for one credit-bearing course. However, it may be possible to make exceptions if the number of hours on site will be quite high throughout the quarter. You may have the same academic sponsor for both courses but you must either double the length of your academic project or complete one academic project for each course.
Is there any way I can register with GEN ST 350 for an internship I have already completed?
No. The GEN ST 350 course is intended to grant students credit for academic work done concurrently with an internship experience, not the internship itself, so retroactive credit is not possible.
What are the deadlines? How late can I register for GEN ST 350?
This course follows all University of Washington registration deadlines. It can be added to your schedule by turning a completed application in to the Carlson Center up through the end of the first week of the academic quarter for no additional fee. The absolute last day to add the course is three weeks after the beginning of the quarter. Beginning Autumn Quarter 2009, THERE WILL BE NO LATE ADDS.
How do I get my grade at the end of the quarter?
It is the responsibility of the faculty sponsor to submit the student's grade to Academic Records. The faculty sponsor will not submit the student's grade until a satisfactory academic project is completed and the site supervisor has confirmed satisfactory internship performance.
I have an X credit for GEN ST 350 and it’s holding up my financial aid. What do I do?
Contact your faculty sponsor to see what is holding up your grade. If having an Incomplete or 'X' credit will affect your financial aid, make sure that you are monitoring your grade well before the financial aid deadline.
How can I earn GEN ST 350 credit if I am doing an internship abroad?
This is a common request so contact the Carlson Center and explain your plan. You must fill out the general application completely and check the “study abroad” box. You must submit this application before you leave.
Do you have funding opportunities for unpaid internships?
Students in Service is a part time Americorps program that provides scholarships for volunteers and interns in the public sector. See their webpage for details: http://depts.washington.edu/leader/studentsinservice/index.htm