Registering an Internship for Credit

Academic Internships must be approved by the Internship Program Director prior to being registered for credit.  

Registration Deadlines:

Fall or Spring terms - The last day to register an internship for credit is the Add/Drop deadline for that semester. A one-week extension may be granted by the Internship Program for those students who need more time to finalize arrangements for an internship “in process”.

January/Interim term - The last day of the Spring term pre-registration period (usually in early December).

Summer term - The last day to register an internship is May 17th, but you may extend the deadline as late as June 1st with permission of the Internship Program.

Required documentation

  1. Fill out the Internship Learning Contract online and submit the form.
    • Once submitted, a printable version of your Learning Contract will be emailed to you within one business day.
    • Gather necessary signatures and return it to the Internship Program for final approval from the Internship Program Director.
    Remember to include:
    • Position Description (if there is none, use the template located on our website)
    • Supervisor’s Business Card/Letterhead (something with contact information in print)
  2. ADD/DROP form – The Internship Program Director will sign this once all paperwork is complete. You can then take take it to the Registrar's office.

    Please note: All students registering an internship for academic credit will be required to complete a brief (15 minute) online orientation. Once your forms have been submitted and approved you will receive an email with information on how to access the online orientation course. 

    January/Summer Additional Documentation Required by the Registrar
    3. January/Summer Registration Form (signed by you, faculty sponsor, and Internship Program)
    4. If your internship is taking place outside of the Twin Cities your parents will need to complete the Parent Waiver form located on the second page of the registration form.

Hours Required for Credit

The minimum number of hours worked per week at the internship site in relation to registered credits is as follows:
Fall-Spring-Summer Internships    (Internships must last a minimum of a ten-week period)
4 credits = A minimum of 140 hours per semester or 10-12 hours per week
3 credits = A minimum of 105 hours per semester or 8-9 hours per week
2 credits = A minimum of 75 hours per semester or 5-7 hours per week
1 credit = A minimum of 45 hours per semester or 3-4 hours per week

January Internships   (Minimum of three weeks)
2 credits = 120 hours per semester or approx. 40 hours per week
1 credit = 60 hours per semester or approx. 20 hours per week

View Macalester's academic calendar

Registration Guidelines for Academic Internships

(from the 2012-2013 Macalester College Catalog):

  • No more than twenty-four semester credits earned in independent study courses (tutorials, independent projects, internships, preceptorships, honors independents) may be applied toward the number of semester credits required for graduation.
  • Students may not register in a single term for more than six semester hours of internship credit which take place outside of the Twin Cities area, or for more than four semester hours of credit for a single internship in the Twin Cities.
  • The Learning Contract:
    • Must be completed with supporting documentation for each separate internship experience
    • It must be reviewed/signed by the faculty sponsor and Internship Program Director before it may be registered for credit.
  • Students who may not register an internship for academic credit:
    • first year students
    • students on academic probation
    • students with in-completes (unless they have the permission of the instructor who assigned the incomplete)


To drop or withdraw from an internship after the Add/Drop deadline has passed, students must obtain the faculty sponsor’s signature and the signature of the Internship Program Director. (Refer to the College Catalog section on Dropping and Withdrawing From Courses for more detailed information.)

special guidelines for International students

If you are an international student on an F-1 visa status and wish to work off-campus (including a paid internship), you need authorization by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) before you can work. These are your options:Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Authorization based on severe, unforeseen economic hardship, or Optional Practical Training (OPT).

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
    • CPT is an authorization for a paid internship for which you are receiving credit.
    • CPT is available during your 4 years at Mac, NOT AFTER, and is for a specific site.
    • There is no limit to part-time (less than 20 hours/week) CPT. However, a student who does 12 months of full-time CPT forfeits all his/her OPT time (see below).
    • CPT should be done in coordination with the Internship Program, an academic supervisor, and the work site.
  • Authorization based on severe, unforeseen economic hardship
    • In the case of severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances, you may apply for INS permission that allows you to work for any employer.
    • The INS considers severe economic hardship to be situations that are unforeseen and beyond your control.
    • INS grants this authorization if you can prove that your source of funding has changed drastically and unexpectedly since you entered the U.S.
    • The INS authorizes this type of employment for one year at a time. However, it may be renewed if circumstances persist, provided you maintain legal F-1 status and a good academic standing.
    • You must continue to be enrolled as a full-time student, and you can only work part-time. You can work full time during school breaks (summer and January).
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
    • As an F-1 visa holder, you can apply for OPT as soon as 9 months have passed since you have become a full-time student at Macalester.
    • Your total OPT time is 12 months of full-time employment, and any work you do under OPT authorization before you graduate will be deducted from this total.
    • You can use OPT authorization once or multiple times as long as you are under the limit.
    • An offer of employment is not required to apply for OPT.

International students completing a paid summer internship are eligible for a 1-credit tuition fee waiver (tuition for summer 2012 normally costs $1,306 per credit). This waiver is intended to help students who are required by an outside entity (either the Dept. of Homeland Security or a host organization/company) to register for credit in order to complete their paid/unpaid summer internship. Contact Mike Porter at or 651.696.6251 for details.

Paid, off-campus internships are considered Curricular Practical Training (CPT). In order to start your internship, you need a CPT authorization from the U.S. Government. This checklist will enable you to track your progress toward a lawful and rewarding paid internship:

  • Pick up a registration packet from the Internship Program Office (first floor of Kagin Commons).
  • Complete your Learning Contract FULLY, including all signatures.
  • Turn in the Learning Contract, internship position description, and the Student Internship Agreement form to the Internship Program Office. They will give you a copy of the Learning Contract for visa verification.
  • Take your complete Add/Drop slip to the Registrar's Office.
  • Take a copy of your Learning Contract, your I-20, and your passport/ID to Aaron Colhapp in International Student Programs for CPT application. As soon as the complete papers are in, authorization will be completed in approximately 24 hours.

For INS applications and all other legal questions, contact Aaron Colhapp, Director of International Student Programs, at 651.696.6078 or The International Center is located in Kagin Commons on the side nearest the IGC.