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Info for Internship Supervisors

SPExS Program Excellence in Internships

Since 1947, American University's Washington Semester Program, the cornerstone of the School of Professional and Extended Studies (SPExS), has leveraged the resources of Washington, D.C. to teach students though hands-on experience. More than 200 colleges and universities are associated with SPExS, and each semester over 400 students from across the country and around the world come to American University for programs that feature seminars with key leaders, an intensive research project, and internships in the Washington area. The SPExS internship experience is a highlight for our students and we depend on involvement from Washington, DC organizations. Our SPExS interns are savvy and energetic university students. Students hail from institutions that include small private schools and large public institutions from across the US and around the world. A growing number of SPExS students are international. Many internship sites appreciate the benefits that international students offer-–including multi-lingual skills, cross-cultural competencies, international experiences, and more. All international students in SPExS have the proper authorization to intern legally on their US State Department issued visas. Details on AU International Student and Scholar Services, including our support for international students, are here: http://www.american.edu/ocl/isss/index.cfm 

While most internships are unpaid, sometimes organizations choose to pay students for work performed in internships. International students must receive approval to receive compensation. More details on compensation for international students are here: http://www.american.edu/ocl/isss/employment.cfm

Student Availability Year Round

If you need significant assistance from our students, you might consider working with two or more interns each Fall, Spring, and/or Summer. Here is the calendar and availability of our interns:

·  Fall and Spring SPExS and Mentorship
Fall: late August – December. Spring: January – late April. Two days per week. Internship days vary by program/section.  

·  Fall and Spring Graduate Gateway Students
Fall: late August – December. Spring: January – late April.Three days per week.  Internship days vary by program/section.  

·  Summer
mid June - August
Four and one half days per week

Requires Interns to Work Hard

Many SPExS interns enroll in our program in the spirit of AU's motto: "ideas in action, action into service." Further, WSP interns are motivated to perform their best work in internships because they receive grades on their AU transcripts for their course work completed (which range from 1-6 credits; the average is 4 credits). Students attend regular internship meetings with AU professors. In these meetings, professors teach students professional behavior. Professors help students reflect on their internship projects as well as their professional development.

Internship Site Requirements

At SPExS, we see internships as unique learning experiences for budding professionals; organizations benefit from our eager students who make a positive impact. We want internship sites to enable students to do the following: test lessons learned in class, become aware of obligations as professionals, accomplish important projects, and acquaint themselves with new work environments. Internship sites must submit a SPExS Internship Duties form with interns at the beginning of the semester, and outline the major projects to complete. The internship assignments must represent a minimum of 85% substantive work. Thus, to earn credit, students must learn in educationally rigorous internships. At the end of the semester, internship sites must evaluate each student's internship performance. The internship supervisor comments get factored into an internship course grade. Please refer to the Internship Supervisor Best Practices for more details on optimal internships. 

Internship Web: Your Comprehensive Recruitment Tool for Interns


The SPExS Internship Web is your access to the SPExS internship services. This free tool, powered by Symplicity software, enables you to:

  • Post and update descriptions for internships
  • Create and maintain a profile that informs students of your organization and your internship(s)
  • Register for the SPExS Internship Bazaar that takes place at the beginning of the Fall and Spring terms
  • See SPExS internship resources  


Register online for a free account and receive a temporary password via e-mail within one business day. Log in, using your e-mail address and password, and complete your organization's profile. If past or present colleagues also utilize SPExS's Internship Web, simply review and update your organization's profile as needed. If you cannot remember your login information, click on the "Forgot Password" button to reset your password or contact SPExS for additional assistance.  


Acceptable internships provide students with structured learning experiences, regular supervision, and exposure to professional aspects of chosen fields. If your organization is a for-profit business and you will not be providing compensation we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the Fair Labor Standards Act specifically as it relates to internship programs