An internship provides an opportunity for a student to work in an industrial, government, or academic environment under the direction of a supervisor representing the interests of the employer and to experience first hand what chemists do in a professional setting. Normally the employer will be a business in which products or services are sold for profit or a governmental or academic agency performing prescribed specific functions.
An internship can be a valuable addition to the normal academic program and can strengthen the resume of a student seeking employment in their profession. Usually the internship is arranged by the student and often the arrangements are independent from the Chemistry department.
To promote internships, the Chemistry department
- provides the means to obtain some academic credit for internships and to formally acknowledge internship credit on the transcript (CH 410)
- has established a list of contacts with local Oregon industries for external internships
- has established some internal internships (on campus) within the department
Types of internships
- External internships - working experiences in which the intern supervisor is outside of the OSU Chemistry department (usually off campus)
- Internal internships - working experiences within the Chemistry department, the intern supervisor is a Chemistry faculty member at OSU
All Chemistry majors are encouraged to consider an internship; however, it is important to have made significant progress toward completing the first two years of the chemistry curriculum (i.e., one year of general chemistry with lab; one year of physics with lab; one year of organic chemistry lecture; two terms of organic or experimental chemistry lab; and differential and integral calculus) before applying.
Grading and credits
CH 410 may be taken for a letter grade (A-F) or on a S/U basis and is a variable credit course (1-3 cr). (A grade of satisfactory (S) is equivalent to a letter grade of C- or better per OSU Administrative Rule 18.a.3).
Credit restrictions for CH 410
- 3 credits maximum per term during academic year (6 credits allowed in summer)
- 6 credits total allowed on program
- 3 credits total counting toward CSE*
*CSE courses are Career Supportive Electives, which are a component of the Advanced Chemistry and Biochemistry options for the B.S. degree and of the B.A. degree.
Use for a career supportive elective
- CH 410 must be taken on a letter-grade basis (not S/U) to count as a CSE.
- CH 410 may count as a "laboratory course" in the CSE credits only if it is an external internship and certified by the OSU academic liaison. To be a laboratory course, the primary emphasis of the internship must be laboratory work and involve the student in learning new laboratory skills and methodology different from those addressed in the student's normal laboratory courses at OSU. In general, internships involving routine measurements or primarily data entry are not considered "laboratory" courses. Internal internships such as the teaching internship are not laboratory courses.
For each credit of CH 410, the student is expected to work a minimum of 3 hours per week of focused work over the 10-week academic quarter or 30-40 hours per academic quarter.
A student may enroll for internship credit for more than one term; however, it is expected that the internship experience will be different for each subsequent term.
Internships may be unpaid or paid (usually paid hourly by the employer). Internships are usually part-time during the school year but can be full time during the summer. Students who enroll for an internship during the academic year along with other course work at OSU should take a lighter load. A three-credit internship should be considered to be equivalent to a normal three credit course in terms of time commitment.
Difference between internship (CH 410) and research (CH 401)
Students should enroll in CH 401 if the program is clearly an undergraduate research program. Undergraduate research is an opportunity for the student to work with a research scientist on new and open-ended scientific projects with the goal to experience firsthand aspects of performing independent research. If the research is to be conducted at OSU, the student generally registers for CH 401 and receives academic credit for the work. If the research is conducted in another department or is off-campus, the student, the academic advisor (or another faculty member), and the off-campus mentor agree on the terms of the research project (e.g., hours of work, hours of academic credit, final products, etc.). See the undergraduate chemistry policies for more details.
Student researchers may apply for fellowships to support their research work at various academic, government, or private laboratories (e.g., URISC (OSU); ERULF (DOE); REU (NSF)). Often, summer research programs are entitled "summer research internships". Students should enroll in CH 410 rather than CH 401 if the primary emphasis of a program is directed toward a service or product for profit or a service provided by a government agency rather than research.
External (off campus) internship
The goals and expectations of an external internship learning experience are to be established well in advance of the start of the internship. These goals and expectations are agreed upon by the intern supervisor (professional scientist or engineer at the site of the internship), the OSU academic liaison (usually the student’s academic advisor or other designated faculty member), and the student, and then recorded on the form provided entitled, "External Student Internship Learning Agreement."
The External Student Internship Learning Agreement Form must be filed with the academic liaison before the student enrolls in CH 410 for external internships. The OSU academic liaison will contact the external intern supervisor of the student to confirm that the program is appropriate and arrange for the intern supervisor to send a letter evaluating the student's performance at the end of the internship.