Should I pursue credit for my internship?

By Janessa Hageman, PRSSA member

With summer internship start dates quickly approaching, it is important to know what options are available for receiving credit for your hard work.

The University of Iowa has two forms of recognizing internships. A student can either receive class credit or choose the zero-credit option.

There are several factors to look into when trying to decide.

“At this university, most students chose zero-credit hours and transcript notation,” said Amy A’Hearn, a career advisor on campus. That, however, does not mean that it may be the right option for you, she said.

When trying to decide, you first want to ask yourself a couple of questions:

1)    What semester will your internship take place?

2)    What does your degree audit look like? Do you need credits to help you graduate on time?

3)    Does your internship require that you receive academic credit?

4)    What is your financial situation?

Benefits of academic credit for an internship:

  • You receive academic credit at the same time as gaining professional experience
  •  Receiving credit, perhaps in the summer time, can allow you a chance to take an extra class during the regular school year or help you graduate on time
  • Some internships require it for insurance reasons

How do I receive credit for an internship?

  • You need to set up a meeting with your academic advisor to get the internship approved
  • Look at the J-School’s website ( under the Undergraduate Programs tab and click on Internships & Job Placement to learn how many credit hours you can receive for your work
  • If you are not a journalism major, make sure to check with that department’s policies
  •  Depending on your academic advisor, you may have to follow up about the experience or write a paper after you’re done with the internship

Benefits of the zero-credit option:

  •  No tuition costs for the internship
  • The internship gets listed on your transcript, just like it would if you decided to receive credit for it

How do I apply for the zero-credit option and transcript notation?

  • You need to register the internship through If you have never used it before, you will want to contact the Career Center (319-335-1023 or
  • The internship experience must be at 10 hours a week and occupy at least one academic term (fall, spring or summer)
  • The internship must last 10 weeks if during the school year or 8 weeks in the summer
  • You will have to fill out evaluations of your internship experience midway and at the end

Follow Janessa on Twitter @janessahageman