Internship Guidelines

Internships for Business, Economics, and Finance

All students who meet college and department requirements for an internship are eligible to do them. Also, it is the student’s responsibility to find their own internship. However, it is important to evaluate how your internship fits in with your personal goals and the academic requirements for your major. 

For economics and business majors, internships are supplemental to required and elective academic courses. Proactively planning your college program is important. Consult with your academic advisor and department internship supervisor early in the process for guidance. Also, international students should consult with the college Office of Intercultural Relations for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) requirements prior to doing an internship.

Guidelines for Internships:

All internships, including student qualification and participation, must meet the Guidelines For Internships and Practicums set forth by Lake Forest College as well as requirements established by Department of Economics, Business and Finance. Guidelines, requirements and conditions for internships may change or be updated from time to time. For convenience and continuity, current college and department requirements are combined together in this document. Final approval as to what internships qualify for Econ\ Bus\Fin credit as well as limits for student participation is at the sole discretion of Lake Forest College and the Department of Economics, Business and Finance.

Student Qualifications:

Doing an internship requires academic preparation and achievement. The minimum qualifications for student participation are as follows:

  • You must be a junior or senior (sophomores require special exemption).
  • You can not be on academic probation.
  • You have to average “C” or better in all Econ/Bus/Fin courses, including a minimum of “C-“ or better in Econ 110.
  • You need to complete at least one course that is relevant to the internship and earn a “C” or better in combination of this course and Econ 110.
Credit and Work Hours:

A major benefit of internships is college credit being awarded for work experience. Lake Forest College promotes educational diversity through its liberal arts program and is therefore flexible on how experiences can be used combined with credit. Consequently, multiple internships for credit are permissible under certain conditions. The following rules for credit apply:

  • Internships can be for 1, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, or two credits.
  • For each full credit, approximately 150 semester hours of work experience is required, plus course assignments.
  • Commuting time, meal breaks, extracurricular activities and social functions do not count towards work hours.
  • Any student seeking multiple internships must show that succeeding internships are for new experiences, knowledge or skills not similar to prior ones.
  • A total of three internship credits can be applied toward graduation (excluding foreign internship credit, ACM programs and the Washington Semester Program).
  • Note: In the Department of Economics, Business and Finance, internships do not count as required or elective academic courses for a major. However, all accredited department internships are registered as Econ/Bus/Fin Course 490 on official college transcripts and will apply as college credit toward graduation and a degree. Multiple Econ/Bus/Fin internships use the same course number, but they are listed as separate courses on transcripts with additional credit granted.

PAY: Internships for credit can be paid or unpaid. Students are encouraged to seek internships based on the learning value and experience that they provide as a primary incentive. For paid internships, the college does not stipulate nor negotiate levels of compensation. Although the college does not limit internships based on compensation alone, certain forms or methods of payment are prohibited. They are outlined next.


Students have substantial flexibility in finding and determining internships. Every semester there are new internships found by students. Much depends on a student’s interest, needs and career objectives. The college and department give careful consideration to the student’s quality of experience. As a result, certain restrictions do apply as follows:

1. Internships cannot be a continuation of part-time or summer jobs.

2. Internships are not allowed with companies owned or managed, fully or in part, by family members nor can internship positions be supervised, directly or indirectly, by family members.

3. Commission based internships (or similar compensation methods) are not allowed.

4. Internships involving direct payments from clients and customers to students are not allowed.

5. Internships at start-up companies must be pre-approved.

6. Internships at companies that have student ownership or promises of ownership to the students are not allowed.

7. Disclosure is required where Lake Forest College faculty or their family have a significant financial or personal interest in an internship company.


Internships should be pursued as early as possible (usually in the preceding semester) in order to secure the internship itself and make sure that all appropriate pre-conditions are met for both the company and the college. Remember: businesses are independent companies and they have their own priorities, requirements and timelines. Likewise, the college has its own deadlines in order to operate effectively. It is the student’s responsibility to navigate this process to meet the following deadlines:

1. In order to be registered for credit, all necessary paperwork for internship approval has to be completed with appropriate signatures and submitted to the Registrar by the final day for permissible change of registration in the semester that the internship will be performed.

2. It is important to understand that internships usually start early in the semester and often before the final day of class changes in order to fulfill the necessary work hours for credit. It is therefore advantageous to finalize and submit all paperwork as soon as possible since complications or delays can jeopardize approval and/or credit for the internship.


No internship will be approved for credit unless all of the following paperwork is completed:

1. Official Offer Letter: This is from the company where the student is going to intern and is necessary before any other paperwork can be finalized. Offer letters must consist of the following:

a. Written on official company letterhead.

b. Signed by the on-site supervisor or other appropriate company official.

c. States the student is interning. d. States whether the position is paid or unpaid.

e. Includes the address where the student will be working.

f. Indicates internship start and end dates.

g. Lists the responsibilities that the student will be assigned.

2. Internship Request for Approval Form: This is to be signed by the student and all appropriate college advisors/officials listed on the form.

3. Department of Economics, Business and Finance Internship Agreement:  This is to be acknowledged and signed by the student and outlines course requirements.

4. Acknowledgement of Responsibilities and Waiver of Liability Form: This is to be signed by the student.

5. Harassment and College Policy Statements: This is to be signed by the student.

6. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Authorization: Only for international students. Contact the college Office of Intercultural Relations for information.


Because internships are a unique component to the educational process, standard grading can be difficult and often inappropriate. Therefore, credit is given based on accomplishing all assignments and tasks. This mirrors the business world where you either get the job done or not. Assessment is as follows:

1. Grading is Credit/D/F.

2. In order to receive credit there are required assignments in addition to accumulating the necessary hours for the internship. These assignments are specified below and in the Economics, Business and Finance Internship Agreement.

3. All assignments must be completed in order to receive credit.

4. All assignments are due on the due dates specified by the Department Internship Supervisor or as indicated in the Economics, Business and Finance Internship Agreement.

5. Assignments can be transmitted to the Internship Supervisor via e-mail, fax or personal delivery to the Internship Supervisor’s office (Young 205), or given to the department secretary (Young 121).

6. Do not submit the only copy of the work; be sure to have a back-up file or copy.


 The following assignments are required for Econ/Bus/Fin 490 course completion and college credit for the semester. These requirements as well as due dates are contained in the Economics, Business and Finance Internship Agreement, a copy of which is to be signed by the student acknowledging the following expectations:

1. Complete all necessary hours for credit and have verified by the on-site supervisor.

2. Submit a list of goals/objectives for the internship.

3. Submit ten (10) weekly journals to the Econ\Bus\Fin Internship Supervisor.

4. Prepare a final project and write a ten (10) page research paper.

5. Write an end of semester two page reflection on the internship.

6. Complete an end of semester college course evaluation of the internship.


1. Search and obtain an internship from an organization that meets your aspirations and is within the guidelines of this syllabus.

2. Bring the official offer letter to the Econ/Bus/Fin Internship Supervisor to initiate the review and approval process.

3. Complete all of the paperwork and submit the documents with appropriate signatures to the Registrar before the deadlines.

4. Complete the course requirements and receive credit. Congratulations!


1. For-Credit Internship Interest Survey

2. Department of Economics, Business and Finance Internship Agreement

3. Acknowledgement of Responsibilities and Waiver of Liability Form

4. Harassment and College Policy Statements