On campus tours and in promotional materials, students and administrators alike emphasize Georgetown University’s geographic and institutional proximity to impressive internship opportunities. Academic policies across all four undergraduate schools should consistently reflect this advantage by giving students appropriate course credit for part-time internships during the academic year.

By ensuring all students have the opportunity to earn academic credit for approved professional experience during the academic year, Georgetown can enhance future job prospects for its students and set the university apart from competitors in the eyes of future applicants.

Georgetown’s location gives students interested in internships a substantial advantage. Rather than applying for a summer position — a process accompanied by the burdensome stresses of housing, food, transportation and planning — students can gain both academic and professional experience in the same semester. For many students, summer internships are financially impractical; for others, working during the academic year is strongly preferable — and a key reason they chose Georgetown.

Many programs at Georgetown already recognize the value of assigning credit for internships.

The School of Nursing and Health Studies requires varying forms of relevant work experience across its five majors. All NHS students are required to work an internship or similar out-of-the-classroom professional commitment during their senior year. This work is accompanied by a different course based on the student’s major; courses range from three to eight credits.

The College also offers three credits for students working internships in particular professional fields. The journalism minor, for example, require students to complete an internship, along with a three-credit course centered on developing professional skills.

Juniors and seniors in the McDonough School of Business who are working internships can take “Internship in Business,” a three-credit course designed to enhance the skills students learn at their jobs.

Internships give students an advantage in their job search. In addition to helping students develop important professional skills, these courses provide undergraduates with more professional credibility as they leave college for graduate schools and apply for jobs.

The university should expand this mindset across its academic expanse. Most notably, students in the School of Foreign Service and most of the majors in the College are unfortunate exceptions to an academic environment that otherwise encourages learning outside of the classroom.

Currently, SFS students can take Internship in “International Affairs” alongside an internship. However, the course, which is worth only one credit, does little to advance a student along the path to graduation, nor does it fill any curriculum requirements.

The College offers course credit in certain programs, like journalism, art and art history, but lacks an established system for rewarding students who do other internships relevant to their field of study.

The two schools, which enroll a combined 74.3 percent of undergraduate students, can remedy this problem by offering three credits to those who complete a part-time internship, typically defined by a 20-hour commitment per week.

These credits could be allocated in either a formal course setting, meant to build on the professional skills being developed in an internship, or an independent study supervised by an academic adviser.

The SFS and College must adapt their academic policies to reflect the importance of professional experience in finding work after graduation, as recognized by other programs within Georgetown.

Employers prioritize internship experience in hiring, and Georgetown has every resource to give its students an advantage. In pursuit of this goal and in recognition of a vital opportunity, the university should provide requisite  academic credit to students looking to further their education out of the classroom.

The Hoya’s editorial board is composed of six students and is chaired by the Opinion Editor. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.

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