The academic internship is a full credit, one-semester course, comprised of both an analytical component (an internship seminar, such as Ethical Issues in Professional Life, Social Justice, or Legal Issues) and an experiential component (fieldwork at an internship site in Worcester or the greater Boston area).
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 complement 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.
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. Admission is open to third- and fourth-year students by application; nearly a quarter of all Holy Cross students participate in the program.
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.
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, and is constantly cultivating new opportunities. Through consistent oversight and evaluation of all of our internship sites we have been able to ensure 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 health care, law, business, education, social service, government, and communications.
Academic Internship Program students must register for a designated internship seminar as the analytical complement 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, health care 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 may apply to 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.
Students are encouraged to take the initiative in securing an internship, but the Academic Internship Program provides assistance by maintaining relationships with nearly 300 internship sites in the Worcester, Providence and Boston areas. These sites are regularly reviewed and evaluated. The J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World collects and houses agency descriptions and student evaluations of available internships. Whenever a student interns at an agency, the center maintains contact with the agency throughout the semester informing them of the College's expectations, securing evaluations of the student’s work and interceding if any problems arise.
Juniors and seniors who are looking to take a course through the Academic Internship Program, can apply through myHC.
Commonly Asked Questions
Who can participate?
Admission is by application and is open to all third and fourth-year students.
How does the seminar relate to the internship?
The seminar’s academic approach is essential to the character of Holy Cross’ Academic Internship Program. Students are expected to excel academically; as such, 70 percent of the final AIP grade is based on the academic work completed for the seminar.
Who teaches the seminar?
AIP seminar faculty members are unique at the College, bringing a distinctive real-world approach to the classroom.
How do I find an internship?
The first place to start looking for a possible internship is Handshake, the College’s online career and internship portal. Students put together a list of prospective sites and call the agencies directly. The AIP office provides guidance and information to help students make the best choice possible.
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 two internships through the Academic Internship Program.
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.
The Academic Internship Provides
- an opportunity to work and learn in a stimulating professional environment assessing one's strengths and weaknesses
- professional experience in your chosen field
- the chance to make valuable and important contacts
- a unique opportunity to integrate the experiential and analytical
- an increasing awareness of the world and local issues
- improved written and oral communication skills and analytical skills
- the development of leadership skills and professional competencies, e.g. time management & organizational skills
- an increase in self-reliance, esteem and confidence
- the chance to explore career options
- the chance to explore service to society and to develop notions of citizenship
- the chance to apply what you have learned at Holy Cross
Examples of Recent Academic Internship Placements
- Abby's House
- Abeles & 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
- Reliant Medical Group
- Hillside Veterinary Hospital
- Law Office of Tom Millotte
- Lian, Zarrow, Eynori & Shea Law Offices
- Massachusetts Housing Alliance
- Merrill Lynch
- Northwestern Mutual Life
- Palley Advertising
- Rainbow Child Development Center
- Reardon & Reardon Law Offices
- St. John's High School
- St. Vincent Hospital Worcester
- Telegram & Gazette
- The Catholic Worker
- UMass Medical Center
- UMass Memorial Medical Center
- US Bankruptcy Court
- WCVB - Channel 5 Boston
- Worcester Art Museum
- Worcester Chamber of Commerce
- Worcester EcoTarium
- Worcester Housing Authority
- Worcester Juvenile Court
- Worcester Magazine
- Worcester Rape Crisis Center
The Donovan Group
"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."
UMass Medical Center
"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."
DMH Forensic Transition Team
"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."
Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance
"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."
Law Office Of Tom Millotte
"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."
For more information, download the Academic Internship Program handbook (PDF)