Economics and Decision Sciences

Internships in Economics

An internship is a serious employment commitment that also provides the student with valuable professional experience. Since internships reflect on the School of AFED and Western Illinois University, the guidelines provided here must be followed. They are not intended to discourage internships, indeed, the School encourages students to engage in an internship. They are to provide protection to the firm/individual offering the internship, to the student, and to the faculty/institution.

This information applies to undergraduate, graduate, and international students.

  • Each year, the School of AFED receives packets describing the State of Illinois Internship Programs that are available. Most are year-long but there are also summer internships. These are both Legislative Staff Internships and internships with various state offices and agencies. For each internship, there is an address where you can write for more information and application materials.
  • The Center for Career Preparation and Employer Engagement is located on the lower level of Memorial Hall on the Macomb campus and on the 1st floor of QC Complex C on the Quad Cities campus.
  • Sometimes, we receive direct contacts from internship sponsors. Usually, these are internships that have just suddenly become available. In these cases, we try to contact people who we think will fit and then post them on our bulletin board.
  • Students in good standing can earn academic credit for School-approved internships. Summer internships are limited to three (3) hours of credit. For financial aid purposes, you can sign up for up to 12 hours per semester during the year. However, we only count 6 hours toward the economics major and then only if the internship is for the academic year.

Basic Requirements for Internship Credit

  1. One of two types of reports are acceptable for earning credit for an internship.
    1. Preference is for a research paper based on a project completed as part of the internship or a paper based on a research interest stimulated by the internship. In this case, the internship report need only be a list without substantial narrative. This list should be attached as an appendix to the research paper.
    2. If the nature of the internship makes a research paper impractical, then the student is required to write an internship report that describes in detail the activities undertaken during the internship and how they utilized, enhanced, and/or created personal skills. This report should be based on a daily journal or log that is submitted along with the internship report.
  2. Upon completion of the internship, a performance evaluation of the student will be administered. There are two options available: If the employment firm already has an internal performance evaluation instrument and is willing to share that review with the internship coordinator, then we use that evaluation for our purposes; if there is no such review, the supervisor of the student will be asked complete our internal performance review form.

Important Definitions

  • The Faculty Internship Coordinator is the Department Chair or a designated representative. All internship contacts must first be approved by the Advisor, Coordinator, or a designated representative.
  • The Faculty Internship Supervisor may be any faculty member. Responsibilities include determining the educational content of the internship (number of hours of credit), monitoring the internship while it is in progress, serving as the faculty contact for the firms/individuals providing the internship experience, and grading the final Report of Internship Activities.

Arranging an internship

While the Department may have internship arrangements with particular employers, students are required to make the initial contact (if allowed under the internship agreement). Permission of the Faculty Internship Coordinator (normally the Department Chair or a designated representative) is required for any contact. The preference is that the student have the experience of seeking an internship much as they would seek regular employment. Students are free to set up their own internships but are required to receive clearance from the Department Chair or a designated representative. Upon approval of the student's request to seek an independent internship, the Chair or designated representative will provide the student with a letter for potential internship employers verifying that the student is seeking employment for the purpose of an internship.

Important points
  • The number of credit hours and the level of credit (400 or 500) will be determined by the Faculty Internship Supervisor after examining the description of the activities undertaken for the internship. This information must be provided by the student. The only requirement for the firm offering the internship is that someone review the student's description and sign the description to signify the information is accurate. Students must coodinate with their academic advisors.
  • The student will submit a report on the activities undertaken during the internship to the Faculty Internship Coordinator. This report is expected to be detailed and relate the activities to the student's degree program. How frequently the student reports on internship activities during the internship is at the discretion of the Faculty Internship Supervisor. It is recommended, however, that the Supervisor request at least a mid-internship report from the student (may be verbal) and contact the internship sponsor at the beginning and at mid-internship. At the end of the internship, as a matter of professional courtesy, a letter of appreciation should be sent to the internship sponsor and/or student supervisor. THIS LETTER MAY NOT INCLUDE ANY REFERENCE TO THE STUDENT'S GRADE ON THE INTERNSHIP but general comments on performance are permitted.
  • At the conclusion of the internship, it is requested that the employer (or supervisor) of the student during the internship write a short evaluation as if for any regular employee. The student will be responsible for providing a pre-addressed, stamped envelope to the supervisor. The address must be that of the Faculty Internship Supervisor or the Department Chair.
  • The student will submit the report on internship activities to the Faculty Internship Supervisor and ask the internship sponsor or supervisor to mail (providing a 4 1/8" by 9 1/2" stamped envelope that is pre-addressed to the Faculty Internship Supervisor) the employee (intern) evaluation to the Faculty Internship Supervisor.
  • Graduate students:

    To have a Summer internship reviewed, please navigate to to apply to have your internship approved. You will then be contacted by the AFED office, and they add it to your schedule if approved. Any academic integrity violations will automatically disqualify you from approval.

NOTE: A very acceptable type of internship report is a research paper based on a project completed as part of the internship or a paper based on a research interest stimulated by the internship. In this case, the report on internship activities need only be a list without extensive narrative. This list should be attached as an appendix to the research paper. Prior approval should be obtained from the Faculty Internship Supervisor.

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