Service Learning vs. Internships

An internship is an intensive kind of applied learning.  Other kinds include practicums, clinical experiences and field education.  The purpose of an internship is for students to acquire professional skills and gain career experience in supervised settings. Internships may or may not be tied to a credit-bearing course with academic content.  Interns usually spend a substantial amount of time at their work sites (typically 80-120 hours per semester). Some but not all internships are designed to serve the public interest. Employola, a service provided by the Career Development Center, maintains an extensive list of internship opportunities.

Service learning helps students acquire useful skills, and it can lead to professional opportunities.  However, its purpose is to illuminate classroom subjects through real-world activities which positively impact individuals and organizations in the wider community.  The time commitment for service learning is usually less (15-30 hours per semester).