Internship Guidelines

Several departments in the college offer supervised internships for academic credit. Internships may be granted for pay and/or credit with a limit of up to 3 credits per internship and no more than 6 credits total allowed for internships consisting of off-campus work experiences that do not have the continued presence of a Cornell faculty member. The number of credits awarded should reflect the amount of knowledge gained per internship and/or follow the CALS guidelines for assigning credits.

The 6 credit allotment includes transfer credit and credit from other internships in other colleges at Cornell. The 6 credit limit does not apply, however, to secondary, post-secondary, and cooperative extension teaching internships in the discipline of Education. The awarding of credit will not be allowed in cases where a student brings to the college or to a professor a description of a past experience and requests credit.

Note that a maximum of 15 (pro-rated for transfer students) of the 120 credits required for the degree may be taken in internships, individual study courses, and undergraduate teaching or research. For internships not governed by an established internship course, the student must enroll in a 4960 course for the number of credits assigned.


To ensure a straightforward and equitable system to manage internships, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has set forth guidelines to serve as minimum requirements for a student to receive internship credit.

  • Credit can only be awarded during the semester in which the coursework was completed. For example, a student beginning an internship during the summer can enroll in a 4960 course in the Fall Semester ONLY if internship-related work is completed in the Fall Semester. If all internship-related work is completed in the summer, the student must enroll through the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions.
  • Credit will only be assigned or accepted in cases where a Cornell faculty member is directly involved in determining both the course content and in evaluating the student's work.
  • The internship should be purposeful, provide opportunities for reflection, present a continual challenge to the student, and incorporate active learning, with the student an active participant in all stages of the experience from planning to evaluation.
  • Before a student begins an internship, a learning contract must be written between the Cornell faculty internship advisor on campus, the supervisor at the location, and the student. This contract should state the conditions of the work assignments, the supervisor contact information, learning goals, number of credits, and methods of evaluation of the work. Check to see if your department has their own contract form, otherwise create one with your Cornell faculty internship advisor.
  • Students must keep their faculty internship advisor updated on the progress of the internship while away from campus.

Arrangements should be made with the offering department for assignment of a faculty mentor for planning the program of work, and for evaluating student performance. Individual departments may add more requirements to the internship based on specific needs such as time constraints, faculty workloads, and the relationship of the internship to the goals of the department.

Students must register using the CALS Special Studies form available online.