Experiential learning encompasses a wide variety of enriching opportunities for students, including service-learning, volunteering, student organization leadership and campus involvement, faculty-led research and projects, experiential study-abroad, student employment/work-study, cooperative education, and internships*.   These guidelines address the types of experiential learning programs that UCLA Career Center will approve as an internship listing.


An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates a student’s academic experience with practical application and skills development in a professional setting.  Internships allow UCLA students to gain valuable applied experience and make professional connections, while also giving employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.  Each of the employers we assist in listing opportunities shares this commitment to making their internship program a true learning experience.


The UCLA Career Center, UCLA academic departments, and major private sector employers who hire interns refer to the U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet “Internship Programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act.”  We expect all for-profit employers who post unpaid internships at UCLA to first review this fact sheet and assess whether their programs meet stated Department of Labor guidelines.


To ensure that an experience is educational in nature, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship, all the following criteria must be met:

1.  There are clearly defined learning objectives related to the intern’s professional goals and/or academic coursework. 

  • Intern tasks must not simply advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform. 

2.  Supervision is provided by a professional with relevant expertise or education in the industry or occupation.

  • For example, an accounting intern will have the mentoring, support, and routine feedback of a qualified accounting professional. 
  • Tasks performed remotely must be integrated and balanced with supervised work performed in a professional setting

3.  Resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer support learning objectives.

  • Students should not be expected to use personal vehicles, phones, or other property for business purposes, unless this use is reimbursed at an agreed rate.
  • Interns should not be required to use personal contacts (phone, email, and social media) for business development or for fulfilling other duties.  
  • Internships with a home-based enterprise, which require students to work in a private residence, will not be approved for listing.

4.  The skills or knowledge learned must be applicable to the industry or transferable to other employment settings.

5.  Each employer’s internship listing must have:

  • A defined beginning and end date,
  • A schedule agreed to by both parties in advance, and
  • A job description with clearly described duties.

6.  UCLA interns cannot be used to “staff up” or replace paid staff.  

  • An example would be the manager or business owner who lists several different intern roles without having the time, knowledge, or trained staff to guide each student’s experience. 
  • Interns will share unique skills and talents with your team.  But, as stated in FLSA guidelines, students should benefit as much as the employer from their experience. 

7.  Employers are responsible for creating a safe and respectful work environment.

  • Employers are required to abide by and enforce University of California guidelines in accordance with applicable Federal and State law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran.
  • Employers are required to abide by the University of California's policy against sexual harassment that follows Federal and State Laws. 

8.  Please note that the following types of programs with required or requested fees will not be approved for listing on the Career Center’s Handshake service:

  • Fee-based internship programs in the U.S. or abroad,
  • Volunteer/internship programs requesting a donation, or
  • Internship programs requiring an up-front application fee or mandatory purchase of products.

9.  Providers of career services or websites offering career information may only list paid part-time or full-time jobs which support their own business operations.  These positions may not be listed as internships, and listings may not be used to solicit student registrations or to collect any other student information.

10.  All credit-based, unpaid internship programs offered to students should also comply with guidelines and enrollment dates provided by the UCLA Center for Community Learning at:  http://www.ugeducation.ucla.edu/communitylearning/partnerscorporate.htm  

By submitting your internship listing to the UCLA Career Center,
your organization agrees to all of these policies and guidelines listed above.

* (Source:  “A Definition and Criteria to Assess Opportunities And Determine the Implications for Compensation,” National Association of Colleges and Employers)