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Learn About Internships

Find further job/scholarship information:

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What is the purpose of an internship?

Internships integrate knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development in a professional setting. Internships also provide hands-on, industry experience, and the opportunity to make professional connections with key stakeholders in their prospective career fields. With an internship, students can:

  • Develop an understanding of the type of working environment, field, and industry that align with your short- and long-term career goals.
  • Obtain job-related skills and experiences that will enhance your qualifications for future opportunities.

Internship details

  • Length
    • During an academic semester or summer; at least 6 weeks
  • Hours
    • 8 – 15 hours/week (Full-time internships offered during the summer)
  • Academic Credit
    • Please speak with your organizational supervisor / Human Resources department. USC offers multiple courses for internships and the MDA 250 course is open to students in all majors. You must already have secured an internship to obtain D-clearance.
  • Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) for Internships
    • Organizations or employers, and their hiring managers, sometimes ask interns to sign a non-compete agreement prior to starting their internship.  This type of agreement can restrict student actions after the internship is completed (for instance, it may prevent an intern from working for a competitor for a specific amount of time, not permanently).  Students, in addition to employers and organizations, should be aware that a non-compete agreement is not enforceable in the State of California. Under the California Business and Professions Codes, Section 16600, the law prohibits an employer from restricting anyone who is engaged in legal practice or trade.  If you are interning in a different state, please review the specific state business codes regarding non-compete agreements.
    • In addition, organizations and employers could require an intern to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before participating in their internship.  This agreement is tied to propriety information (such as new products, organizational resources, or trade secrets) in order to protect the organizational or employer assets. Interns and employees may still disclose issues that arise at the workplace such as harassment, discrimination and abuse.  Students can still speak out about such concerns according to the Silence No More Act which is in effect commencing January 1, 2022.
    • For more information, please review the additional resource: Understanding Noncompete Agreements

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VIRTUAL INTERNSHIPS

Have you considered completing a domestic or international internship from home?  Learn what students had to say about Virtual Internships. Check out virtual internship opportunities below.

  • Purpose
    • Accomplish project-based responsibilities similar to an in-person internship
    • Gain experience without being tied to a specific geographic location
  • Benefits
    • Greater flexibility for other obligations, such as classes or part-time jobs
    • Able to communicate utilizing technology, such as emails, video chats, phones, and instant messaging
    • Attain practical resume experience of virtual platforms, such as Google Hangouts, Slack, and Zoom
    • Promote a sustainable lifestyle by saving money on gasoline, parking, and travel time
    • Strengthen your communication and time-management skills with regular check-ins with colleagues and supervisors
    • Work anywhere with internet access and with no need to relocate
  • COVID-19 Internship Guidelines
    • Review the Career Center’s COVID-19 Internship Guidelines for guidance.
    • If a student participates in a virtual or hybrid internship (part virtual/part in-person), then compliance with current national, state, local, and campus COVID-19 directives, including CDC Guidelines, is required by both the student and the organization. Organizations must prioritize the health and safety of their interns. Students should consult the USC COVID-19 Resource Center.

Virtual Internship Opportunities

Certain fields, such as design, information technology, journalism, and research, are more likely to offer virtual internships but more organizations are considering alternative work environments. The following external sites provide a series of virtual, project-based internship opportunities:

 

Additional Resources & Tools

The USC Career Center is a member of the Career and Internship Connections (CIC). Established in 1998, the CIC is …

Whether you have lived, interned, studied, or volunteered abroad, you have demonstrated these skills:

Adaptability Appreciation for diversity and other …

We offer two monetary awards to undergraduate students who secure unpaid internships:

First-Generation Scholarship – Funding for students who are the first …

Consider reviewing these videos to implement key strategies as you prepare to apply for an internship:

Getting Started Applying for …

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