Why Complete an Internship as an RCSC Major?
Today’s employers are seeking strong academic performance, leadership abilities, and tangible evidence of on-the-job skills among their future employees. Completing an internship that offers an in-depth examination of specific retail positions and businesses enhances your chance of landing a job upon graduation. The Retailing and Consumer Science program offers you an opportunity to complete a paid or unpaid internship for academic credit that counts towards the units you need for graduation.
Review these Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about RCSC Internship Credit:
RCSC students have fulfilled their internship credit in a variety of ways. First, many large companies offer cohort style internships, where you will intern in a specific job area, such as merchandising (buying, planning and allocation), supply chain, marketing, product development or management, or store leadership and support a real team on reaching their real goals.
Other internships might be where you are 1 or 2 interns supporting a retailer, brand or other type of company in their business goals. Maybe you know an entrepreneur who needs you to support them in making their business happen! All of these internships count as long as you are learning and developing towards your professional goals.
Internships will look different for every student, so to see if your internship qualifies for credit, contact the RCSC internship coordinator.
Internships can be found on the UA’s Handshake website, LinkedIn, on company websites, through networking, with the help of the Terry J. Lundgren Center or through your peers, friends and family. It is your responsibility to seek out, apply for and obtain an internship if you would like to do one for academic credit. Support throughout the application, interview and acceptance process can be found through the Terry J. Lundgren Center or through the UA’s Office of Student Engagement and Career Development.
You can complete an internship in the Summer, Fall or Spring semester and you can only enroll in internship credit during the semester you are interning. Credit is not to be given after an internship is completed.
Since internships happen throughout the year, so there is no one specific time that guarantees you an internship. Typically, RCSC students intern the summer between their junior and senior year and companies start looking for students to fill those positions from August during the students junior year through to the beginning of summer. However, each students experience will be different and this might not be the same experience for you.
Within the Retailing and Consumer Science program, internship credit is considered Optional Experiential Credit and counts towards your upper level elective credits.
You can take up to a total 9 Optional Experiential Credits in the RCSC program, including preceptorships, independent study and practicums.
In unique circumstances, you might be allowed more, but this is only for specific scenarios. If you have questions about how internship credit will fit into your degree plan, email or set up an appointment with your academic advisor.
In order to get credit for an internship, you must enroll in the RCSC internship course during the same semester you will be interning. You can not be granted credit retroactively, meaning after you have completed an internship.
You cannot self-enroll in the internship class, as there is a form, called the Internship Work Plan that must be completed, signed by a representative of your internship employer and submitted for review by the RCSC internship coordinator prior to enrollment.
Read more below to learn about the enrollment process!
Unfortunately no. You must be enrolled in credit during the semester you are completing the internship, as there is an academic component to receiving University of Arizona academic credit for an internship experience.
Because your internship credit is based on hours you are interning, your internship must be approved by the RCSC Internship Coordinator before you can be enrolled. The hours and the internship experience are approved once a student has completed the Internship Work Plan to the satisfactory of the the RCSC Internship Coordinator.
Internship credit is academic credit and in RCSC, counts towards your upper division elective credits.
It is highly recommended that you calculate your expected tuition based on all academic units for all semesters using the: University of Arizona Tuition Calculator
Spring and Fall Internships
For Spring and Fall internships, the units you receive will be added to your semester course count. The maximum number of units you can enroll in without needing special permission is 19. Should you wish to enroll in more than 19, you will need to schedule a meeting with your RCSC Academic Advisor.
*Please note that it is NOT encouraged that you enroll in more than 19 units without serious consideration to your time and wellbeing. It is a huge commitment and should not be taken lightly.
Because you are receiving academic credit for completing an internship, you will be paying for academic credit, just the same as any class you would enroll in, based on the number of unit you enroll in. Make sure you meet with your advisor to ensure you are aware of how many units will count towards your graduation so that you are not overpaying for credits. You can always enroll in less credits than you qualify for - just be sure to indicate that on your Internship Work Plan.
There are currently no general scholarship for student at the UA enrolling in internship credit. If you internship happens to be with a governmental agency or a non-profit, there is a stipend that you can qualify for that can be found through the Office of Student Engagement and Career Development: Summer Internship Stipend.
How to Enroll in RCSC Academic Internship Credit
Complete the following steps to enroll in academic credit for an internship for an upcoming semester:
- Secure an internship experience for an upcoming semester.
Using tools like UA's Handshake, LinkedIn, TJLC Recruiter events, company websites and your personal/professional networks can help you find a position!
- Determine the number of units you qualify for.
Credit is based on the total number of hours interned: 45 hours = 1 unit of academic credit.
You'll need to determine your total number of hours by multiplying the total number of weeks X the number of hours each week, then divide that number by 45 and round down.
Keep in mind that you cannot enroll in less than 3 units.
- Determine the cost tuition of your academic internship units.
Using the UA's Tuition Calculator, determine the cost of your academic credit based on the number of units you want to enroll in and the term you are planning to complete the credit.
- Optional: Meet with your Academic Advisor.
If you have questions about how academic internship credit fulfills the units you need for graduation, how many units you actually need, or other questions about your degree plan, be sure to schedule a meeting with the RCSC Academic Advisor for clarification.
- Complete the Internship Work Plan with information about your internship.
Internship Work Plan Form - Fillable PDF
Internship Work Plan Form - Customize Word
- The course is RCSC 493B
- Scroll to the very last page to view examples and instructions to help you complete the learning goals and objectives section.
- You will need a signature from a representative at your internship employer. If you are having challenges with this, please email the RCSC Internship Coordinator.
- Email your completed Internship Work Plan to the RCSC Internship Coordinator for approval and enrollment:
Cassandra Ott-Kocon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should you have questions regarding completing an internship for credit for an upcoming semester, please contact the RCSC Internship Coordinator, Cassandra Ott-Kocon at email@example.com.