Elon University requires students to complete at least two out of five Experiential Learning Requirements: study abroad, research, service-learning, leadership or an internship.
Internships are included under this requirement because the university believes they allow students to experience the working world and develop professional skills. While Elon has made internships a priority, only two out of the six schools require students to complete one.
The School of Communications and the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business have mandatory internship requirements. The School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences, the other two undergraduate schools, do not. Elon also has two graduate schools without internship requirements — the School of Health Sciences and the School of Law.
“One of the best ways to prepare for life after the university is to have an internship,” Executive Vice President Steven House said.
According to House, Elon’s School of Law and School of Health Sciences both include graduate programs that require different experiential learning requirements. House explained that rather than giving students mandatory internships, Elon graduate schools are focused on career-specific learning through clinical rotations, shadows and apprenticeships.
“They have what they call preceptors and apprenticeships,” House said. “The reason they do it is to model it on [teaching] our undergraduates where it’s engaged and experiential.”
Though the College of Arts and Sciences does not require internships for all of their majors, the school still offers internship elective credits. “Most all of the 50 majors or so in CAS allow students to have an internship for credit, so students can do an internship when they choose and it is encouraged by faculty,” Debby Wall, the director of internships for the Elon College of Arts and Sciences, said.
Despite not having mandatory requirements, Wall said students in the College of Arts and Sciences often complete more internships than any other school.
These essential learning experiences, while significant, can come with costs. Internship credits act the same as a regular university credit. If students can fit these credits under the number of allotted credit hours during the year, they are included in tuition. However, if students go above their 18-credit cap, or if they choose to complete internships over the summer, students must pay per credit hour.
Summer credits cost $550 per credit and semester credits cost $1,149 per credit. Students have the option to participate in internships outside of university regulations, but they will not count toward ELR requirements.
On Tuesday Sept. 17, the Student Professional Development Center held a Job and Internship Expo on campus, offering students a place to talk with professionals and explore prospective career options. The expo focused on exposing students to a number of internships, co-ops and professional career opportunities.
Companies like ESPN, LabCorp, Politico and local companies attended the expo, giving students of all majors a chance to speak with professionals. The variety of companies allowed students to speak with both larger corporations and smaller start-ups, adding diversity to the event.
On Thursday, Oct. 31, the SPDC will host a Graduate and Professional School Fair in Moseley Center to help students learn more about specific graduate programs. Representatives from graduate schools such as Wake Forest University, Drexel University and High Point University will be in attendance.