You are here

Academic Internship Program

Academic Internships are comprised of two components: fieldwork at an internship site in Worcester or the greater Boston area and academic work in an internship seminar, such as Ethical Issues in Professional Life, Social Justice, or Legal Issues. If a seminar topic is not appropriate to the internship, tutorial work with an individual faculty sponsor may be arranged. Each student is expected to spend eight hours per week on the job and another three or four hours on the academic component. One unit of academic credit is granted for the Academic Internship. Admission is open to third- and fourth-year students by application.


For over thirty years the Holy Cross Academic Internship Program has offered students, in every discipline, the opportunity to obtain practical field experience as part of their academic plan of study. The Program is administered by the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and directed by the Associate Director of Special Studies and is available to students in their 3rd or 4th year. Nearly 1/4 of all HC students participate in the Program.

The internship course provides students' with a unique opportunity for learning about particular fields through a combination of direct hands-on experience and formal study and is designed to compliment the more traditional curriculum. While the main intent of the program is to provide students with an experiential learning opportunity in their chosen fields, it also provides an opportunity for career exploration.

The academic, internship is a full credit one semester course comprised of both an analytical and experiential component. The experiential/fieldwork component is undertaken at an agency or site in the Worcester or Boston area requiring an eight hour per week commitment. The analytical component is in the form of either a weekly seminar or tutorial with an individual faculty member. This component provides a forum for critical analysis of the work that the student is doing in the field.

Students find that the internship component provides them with an opportunity to learn directly from professionals working in the field, gain valuable hands-on experience, and to apply the theoretical training, analytical capabilities and research and writing skills that they have developed at the College.

The Academic Internship provides

  •   Opportunities for experiential learning
  •   Forum to critically analyze numerous issues faced by different professions
  •   Acquire professional experience in your chosen field
  •   Access to learning situations not available at the College
  •   Opportunity to apply what you have learned at Holy Cross
  •   Explore career options
  •   Establish valuable and important contacts
  •   Improve written and oral skills
  •   Explore service to society and develop notions of citizenship

College-Agency Relationship

The College maintains formal relationships with nearly three hundred internship sites in the Worcester, Providence and Boston areas. These sites are regularly reviewed and evaluated. CIS collects and houses agency descriptions and student evaluations of available internships. Whenever a student interns at an agency CIS maintains contact with the agency through-out the semester informing them of the College's expectations, securing evaluations of the students work and interceding if any problems arise.

Application and Procedures

Each semester 3rd and 4th year students submit a formal application to the Academic Internship Program. Upon acceptance into the program it is the responsibility of the student to pursue an internship through the resources of the CIS. Advising is available if needed but students are encouraged to take the initiative in securing an internship. Students are required to sign up for an appropriate internship seminar or directed study.

Program Summary

This Program offers a one credit experiential learning opportunity as a part of the College's curriculum, combining the experiential with the analytical, in a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary offerings.


Each student is required to spend eight hours per week at a selected internship site. The College has established an extensive and varied list of internship placements. Through consistent oversight and evaluation of all of our internship sites we have been able to insure that students are offered a substantive learning experience at their chosen placements. Since our program is designed to serve the needs of all disciplines at the College our placement opportunities cover a wide range of public, private and independent sector organizations concerned with healthcare, law, business, education, social service, government, and communications.


Each student must register for a designated internship seminar as the analytical compliment to their fieldwork. Internship seminar offerings vary from semester to semester depending upon need and interest but generally cover such areas as: legal issues, management/ leadership, ethical issues in professional life, healthcare management, gerontology, and social justice. Each seminar meets for two hours per week and provides, through selected readings and student presentations, an opportunity to critically analyze their fieldwork and issues facing their agencies.


Students whose internship falls outside, of the purview of the offered seminars will work individually in a directed study with a faculty sponsor. This generally entails weekly meetings to discuss a series of selected readings related to the student's fieldwork and a major research project critically analyzing that work.

Commonly Asked Questions

Who can participate?

Admission is by application and is open to all third and fourth year students.

How do I apply?

An information meeting is held during the first month of each semester.   


How do I find an internship?

Students put together a list of prospective sites and call the agencies directly.

How is the College involved in my internship?

The College maintains informal contracts with nearly three hundred internship sites, which are reviewed and evaluated on a regular basis. When a student is accepted at a site CIS contacts the agency and informs them of the College's expectations of both the student and the agency and sends them materials on the program. At mid-semester the agency supervisor is contacted by the faculty sponsor for a verbal evaluation of the student's work. At the end of the semester the agency is required to submit a written evaluation to CIS.

What is the difference between an internship, work-study and volunteer work?

Work-study is paid employment with job experience. Volunteer work is job experience, but usually not substantive, without compensation. An internship is not only work experience but also has a mentoring component where you are taught the work of the agency. In addition, the academic component provides you with an opportunity for critical analysis of this work.

How many internships can I do at Holy Cross?

Students are allowed to do one internship through the Academic Internship Program. Other programs, e.g. Washington Semester, Gerontology, Deaf Studies, etc. may have their own internship requirements.

How do I work out my schedule with classes and an internship?

Agencies realize that your primary responsibility is to your class work and they are generally flexible in arranging a work schedule.

Examples of Recent Internship Placements

A.G. Edwards
Abby's House
Abels & Sherrend Architects
Auburn High School
Auburn Youth and Family Services
Center for AIDS Research
Central Mass Agency on Aging
Civil Liberties Union
Donahue; Rauscher, McGrail & Tupper Law Offices
Elder Services of Worcester
Environmental Protection Agency
Fallon Medical Center
Foothills Theater Company
Hillside Veterinary Hospital
Law Office of Tom Millotte
Lian, Zarrow, Eynori & Shea Law Offices
Massachussets Housing Alliance
Memorial Hospital
Merrill Lynch
Northwestern Mutual Life
Paine Webber
Palley Advertising
Rainbow Child Development Center
Reardon and Reardon Law Offices
St. John's High School
St. Vincent's Hospital Worcester
Telegram & Gazette
The Catholic Worker
UMASS Medical Center
US Bankruptcy Court
WCVB - Channel 5 Boston
Worcester Art Museum
Worcester Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Ecotarium
Worcester Foundation for Bio/Medical Research
Worcester Housing Authority
Worcester IceCats
Worcester Juvenile Court
Worcester Magazine
Worcester Rape Crisis Center

Student Comments

"The people I worked with were very supportive and very committed to helping me learn and leave with an increased knowledge and understanding of public affairs. "

"Dr. Lancey understands the intensity of the workload and time commitment ... he was very dedicated in making sure I knew what was going on at all times and taught me a great deal about the role of a physician. "

"They were extremely committed to me as an intern and didn't just treat me like unpaid help. I loved it and, with the seminar to provide context for my work experience, I learned so much. "

"The agency was very excited to have a Holy Cross intern and really liked the fact that the College was supervising my experience and requiring an academic component. They were very committed to giving me the best opportunities."

"The intensity and commitment of this agency to making me understand the way things worked was very strong. They gave me a great deal of responsibility. "

"Mr. Millotte was truly dedicated to teaching me as much about the practice of law as he could in one semester. He allowed me to assist on cases and to accompany him in court. This experience, along with my Legal Issues seminar really gave me a good sense of both the practice and theory of law and helped with my future plans. "