Every business student has the opportunity to participate in an internship and earn academic credit. Internships are an invaluable transition from academia to your career. These beyond-the-classroom learning experiences involve the intentional development, design, and implementation of a product, service, or innovation that leverages student expertise and host organization demand. Students can earn academic credit and satisfy the Business major’s experiential learning requirement by doing the internship fieldwork as a senior (or rising senior) and enrolling in BUS 489.
Students may do their internship fieldwork with regional employers, national and foreign firms, government agencies, and non-profits. Internship fieldwork may take place in Asheville, elsewhere in the US, or elsewhere in the world! Sample internship sites have included Biltmore Farms Hotels, Colton Groome & Company, Ogilvy, Freddie Mac, Big Path Capital, Mission Health, Dogwood Trust, Park Ridge Health, Enterprise Holdings, Buncombe County School System, Social Construct Films, AVL Technologies, Asheville Art Museum, Highland Brewery, the Cliffs, the Orange Peel, Northwestern Mutual, Moog Music, ERC Broadband, 103.3 FM Asheville, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, MANNA Food Bank, NC Department of Environmental Quality, USDA Forest Service, AVL Buncombe Regional Sports Commission, United Soccer League, among many others.
Internship information session dates and proposal deadlines are below. “STEPS” below detail what you must do to enroll in BUS 489.
Note: The internship course (BUS 489) is limited to 12 students. Enrollment priority will be given to students who are graduating that semester.
What internships qualify for academic credit?
Many organizations label opportunities as “internships” because they need a temporary employee and/or they want to see if students fit in the organization before hiring the students. However, just because an organization labels something as an “internship” does not mean it can qualify for academic credit: UNC Asheville cannot legally award academic credit without an academic experience.
BUS 489: Any student can do an “internship” of any kind for non-academic credit. But, for internship fieldwork to qualify for academic credit, it must be tied to an academic experience. BUS 489 provides this academic experience. To earn credit, students must enroll in BUS 489 and adhere to the UNC Asheville Policy for Credit-Bearing Internships.
- Students must have a minimum of 30 credits in business courses before they can enroll in BUS 489. These 30 credits may come from courses in BUS (previously MGMT), ACCT, and ECON.
- Students must enroll in BUS 489 during the same semester they conduct their internship fieldwork. The UNCA policy will not allow us to award retroactive credit. For example, if your internship fieldwork is done in the summer, you must register for the summer section of BUS 489.
BUS 489 is offered every semester (fall, spring, and summer) so you may do your internship during any of these semesters.
Your time commitment: To receive academic credit for your internship, UNCA requires 35 hours of work for every credit earned. BUS 489 is a 4 credit-hour course, therefore you are required to complete 140 hours of work total, including both classwork and fieldwork. This averages to approximately 6-9 hours of fieldwork per week during the fall or spring semesters (approx. 15 weeks) and 9-12 hours of fieldwork per week during the summer semester (approx. 9 weeks).
Internship location: Your internship must be with an organization (including local, national, or international, for profit or nonprofit, governmental, or on-campus). Fieldwork can be remote and include online communication, but the communication with the organization must be continuing and intentional throughout your internship.
The internship must produce a product and /or substantially expose the intern to business and professional skills. During your project-based internship, you must solve a problem the organization has and produce a product (a deliverable) that involves your project management skills to creatively plan, execute, and deliver. This product must be created entirely by you, be delivered to the host at your internship site, and be included in your portfolio of items that will be graded in the BUS 489 course. To determine the product for your internship, have a discussion with the people who will supervise you at your internship site—they are the ones who are most familiar with that organization’s problems/challenges/opportunities and the product(s) you can produce to address these. For non-project-based internships, please discuss the nature of the internship with the internship coordinator (below) for approval.
How early should I begin the process? Dates and Deadlines
3-4 months before your internship begins…
Attend an internship information session (dates below) and begin searching for internships (see Step 2 below). If you wait until the last minute, the Internship Coordinator will not have enough lead time to discuss your interests, and you will not have enough time to search for internships and schedule interviews with host organizations that fit your interests.
2-3 months before your internship begins…
Confirm your internship and submit your internship project proposal by the deadline (see Deadlines and Steps 3-5 below).
Once your internship project proposal is approved and the agreements are signed, you may register for BUS 489 (Step 6 below).
INTERNSHIP INFORMATION SESSION DATES: If you wish to do an internship, attend one of the information sessions offered each semester . . .
Thursday, September 14, 2023, 4:00-5:00pm, 108 Delany
Monday, September 18, 2023, 3:30-4:30, 219 Delany
INTERNSHIP PROJECT PROPOSAL SUBMISSION DEADLINES: If you wish to enroll in BUS 489, submit a Project Proposal (Steps 3-5 below) OR a “Request to Submit Late” form by . . .
For spring 2024 internship: Early bird deadline (for quicker approval) is Monday, October 30, 2023. Regular deadline is Monday, November 6, 2023. If you can’t meet the November 6 proposal deadline, submit a Request to Submit Late form on November 6.
NOTE: Submitting a proposal by the deadline does not guarantee you a place in BUS 489—the proposal must be approved. Submitting a Request to Submit Late prioritizes your place on the waitlist but does not guarantee you a place in BUS 489. If you do not submit a Proposal or a Request to Submit Late by the deadline, 10 points may be deducted from points earned in BUS 489.
Step 1: Attend an internship information meeting
Dates and times for upcoming internship information meetings are above. These meetings will give you the details you need to apply for an internship, write your proposal, and be accepted to the BUS 489 class. (A summary of this information appears on this website.)
Step 2: Find an internship
Where can you find an internship?
Sometimes this process can feel overwhelming, but the Business Internship Coordinator is here to help! Make an appointment and they will discuss your interests and provide suggestions. It is up to you to keep in touch with the Internship Coordinator if you need additional help throughout the process.
In addition to meeting with the Internship Coordinator, here are some other places to look for an internship…
- Career Center Open House, Tuesday, August 29, 12-2:00pm, Ramsey Library in the Student Success Hub
- Career Center Free Clothes & Fashion Show, Tuesday, September 26, 11:00am-1pm, Reed Plaza (browse and take away whatever you like; fashion show begins at 11:30am)
- Career & Internship Fair, Thursday, September 28, 12:00-2:00pm, Blue Ridge Room in Highsmith Student Union (learn about internship opportunities and more)
- Fall Alumni Mentor Week, Sign up to be paired with an alumni for 1-week. Register by October 6 for participation October 23-27.
- The Career Center offers several funding opportunities for off-campus internships, including:
- The Internship Assistance Fund Scholarship (opportunity for students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to complete an internship to receive funding towards their unpaid or underpaid internships)
- The Walker Family Fund for Paid Internships Award (supports a first-gen student pursuing a spring, unpaid internship)
- SECU Public Fellows Internship Program (offered each summer; students accepted to the program complete a paid, full-time internship at a non-profit or government agency while completing a 3 credit connected course)
- Drop-ins Monday-Friday from 12 to 3pm on the first floor of Ramsey Library in the Student Success Hub.
- Go here to see the various Career Center Career Coaching services and to schedule an appointment with a Career Coach. You may also email Career Coach Grace Champion at email@example.com.
(3) Subscribe to the Career Center’s ongoing list of “COOL JOBS AND INTERNSHIPS”
(4) Go to websites of specific organizations that interest you. Organizations often advertise internships on their websites, with information about how to apply.
Begin to look for an internship at least 3-4 months before your proposal is due. Applying for an internship is similar to applying for a job—the process of getting the interview, followed by the host organization’s decision-making process and paperwork will often take longer than you think.
Step 3: Complete the BUS 489 Prerequisite Form
Complete and submit the BUS 489 Prerequisite Form. Students must have a minimum of 30 credits in business courses before they can receive credit for their internship. These 30 credits may come from the required courses in BUS (previously MGMT), ACCT, and ECON. Please do not submit an internship proposal if your transcript does not have a record of these 30 credits because you will not be permitted to enroll in BUS 489 and receive credit for your internship.
Step 4: Write Your Project Proposal
Your proposal must be in the correct format, have a professional appearance and be free of any grammar or spelling errors. If these errors are found, it will be returned. Because the project is proposed by the student, the proposal must be written by you in first person (for example, use “I will” rather than “the intern will”). There must be only one internship host supervisor identified on this proposal—this will be the person who will be responsible for supervising your work. The proposal must no longer than one page and formatted exactly as shown in the example below with the following specifications:
- Times New Roman font
- Body in font size 11
- PROPOSAL EXAMPLE FOR PROJECT-BASED INTERNSHIP HERE (make sure to click on the highlighted terms and read the instructional comments on the right). For non-project-based internships please contact the coordinator for the alternative proposal format.
Note: It can often take 3 to 4 weeks of iterations to get the final version of your internship proposal approved. So, plan ahead and start early on the proposal process!
If you are late submitting your proposal draft, the Business Department cannot guarantee that you will be able to enroll in the BUS 489 course during the semester you are hoping to do so.
For more information on writing and submitting your proposal, attend one of the Internship Information Meetings (see dates above). In addition, as you are writing your proposal, feel free to make an appointment with the Business Internship Coordinator, Elizabeth Harvey—she will be glad to help!
Step 5: Get your proposal approved
(5a) Proposal Submission
Email the proposal to the Internship Coordinator in MS-WORD format so that comments can be inserted during the review process. Email the file to firstname.lastname@example.org without any signatures—note that the email address is mgmt followed by the word internship with no space in between.
- The subject line of your email message must be: (your-last-name in parenthesis) followed by Internship Proposal. For example: (Smith) Internship Proposal.
- The body of the email must contain the following statement: Before making this submission, I completed the BUS 489 prerequisite form. Also, I am certifying that I have been accepted into this position by the host organization shown in the attached proposal.
- This statement must be followed by your complete name, again in the body of the email.
(5b) Proposal Review Process
The Internship Coordinator will then work to get your proposal approved by the Department. During the approval process, you will be sent feedback on your proposal and will likely do one or more revisions—look for feedback that will be sent to you from email@example.com.
(5c) Signatures on the Proposal and Internship Agreement Form
Once your proposal is approved by the Department, the following four steps must then be completed:
I) The Internship Coordinator will email you the approved proposal and an internship agreement electronically.
II) You and your host must complete and sign the electronic forms.
III) After the documents are completed and signed, the “date of final approval” will be recorded on the proposal by the Internship Coordinator.
IV) After the “date of final approval” is recorded, the Internship Coordinator will open the BUS 489 course for you to register.
Step 6: Enroll in BUS 489 Project-Based Internship
- You will be permitted to enroll in BUS 489 after your internship proposal has been approved by the Business Department and you and your host have signed the related paperwork (above).
- Reminder: Students must enroll in BUS 489 during the same semester of their internship fieldwork.The UNCA campus internship policy will not allow us to assign retroactive credit.
Step 7: Complete Your Internship
NOTE: You should not begin your internship project work until:
- You have submitted your internship proposal and it has been approved by the Department.
- You have completed the internship agreements (above).
- You have enrolled in and begun the BUS 489 course (if you need to begin your project work a little earlier, e.g., 2-3 weeks, please coordinate with the BUS 489 instructor as you will need to begin certain class assignments early).
While you are doing your internship fieldwork, BUS 489 coursework will include:
- Learning project management skills, including developing a project plan for your internship at the beginning of your fieldwork. (This is usually in the form of a project timeline.)
- Making weekly entries detailing what you are doing.
- Submitting journal entries in which you reflect on what you are learning during the internship, which will be a vital component for developing the final report for your project in BUS 489.
- Providing a progress report to you host.
- Meeting regularly with the instructor and the other internship students in the BUS 489 course.
- Developing the deliverable you stated in your internship proposal.
- Preparing a final written report with: (a) an executive summary, (b) your detailed summary of what you learned, and (c) your deliverable.
- Preparing a final (short) presentation video.
If your internship location is not within driving distance to campus, you will still need to attend class meetings. Please see “May I do an internship outside the Asheville area” in the section below.
Step 8: Add Your Internship Experience to Your Resume
- As part of BUS 489, you’ll be creating a Portfolio of your internship work, including a final presentation video describing your internship and learning. You can link to this Portfolio on your Resume or use the Portfolio content to update your Resume and to write Cover Letters if required by prospective employers.
- The Career Center is happy to help you with Resumes and Cover Letters, including after you graduate. See Step 2 above for contact information.
What can I do if I can’t meet the proposal deadline?
- If you cannot submit a completed internship proposal by the deadline (above) because you have not yet confirmed an internship, you may complete a Request to Submit Late Form. Be sure to do this by the proposal deadline date. NOTE: submitting a Request to Submit Late form does not guarantee you a place in BUS 489, but it will prioritize you on the waitlist.
May I do an internship outside the Asheville area, or even outside the United States?
- Absolutely! You can do your internship in any location you wish. To earn BUS 489 credit for internships outside the Asheville area, you will still need to complete all the BUS 489 course assignments and participate in the BUS 489 class meetings virtually. To do this, you must notify the Business Internship Coordinator IN WRITING NO LESS THAN 1 MONTH BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF THE SEMESTER so that arrangements can be made. Email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why does the Department of Business & Accountancy have these requirements?
- The internship structure and paperwork described on this website protects the students! These policies protect you against being economically exploited at your internship site because you and your host will sign a proposal stating what you will gain from your internship experience. In addition, your well-defined proposal allows you to have an important role in determining how your internship will be evaluated and graded.
Who do I contact for more information?
- Contact the Business Internship Coordinator: Elizabeth Harvey, JD, email: email@example.com, 111 Delany Hall