Work Integrated Learning

How internships work

Depending on your discipline, internships may also be referred to as work placements, practicums, or clinical placements. Essentially, it is an extended period of time spent in the work environment of a host organisation undertaking a structured program of work with suitable workplace supervision.

Finding an internship

In some courses, where placements are a compulsory part of your studies, the School will have established relationships with workplace partners and ongoing support in placement arrangements that match you to a particular organisation.

In other disciplines specifically designed internship units are available as elective options, usually in your final year. Where this option is available to you available internships, suitable for enrolment in an internship unit, are advertised by the Work integrated Learning Program. Depending on your discipline, other opportunities may be made available through your School, and it may also be acceptable for you to source your own internship position.

Academic credit

All internships completed through the Work integrated Learning Program are unpaid and are completed in conjunction with enrolment in a unit of study. Depending on the discipline, these units range from 3 to 12 credit points. Internship units have assessment items that need to be satisfactorily completed, just like other units. The assessment will vary depending on the discipline, but common assessment items for internships include a work proposal, a portfolio of your work or a report, a reflective journal, and a presentation to your peers, workplace supervisor and/or academic staff. In many cases a report from your workplace supervisor may be considered in your grade. The Unit Information and Learning Guide should provide you with detail on what is required.

Hours in the workplace

The Unit Information and Learning Guide will provide information on the number of hours required to be completed in the workplace. As a rule of thumb, you can expect to spend the equivalent of one week of full-time work (36-40 hours) per credit point. Often there is some flexibility in how these hours can be accumulated – for example 1 day / week, or as an intensive block working full-time during the summer semester. These hours do not include the time required for the completion of assessment. You may also be expected to attend some tutorials or workshops during your internship.

Productive work

All internships should challenge you and extend your learning in a relevant professional environment. You will not just be observing, filing or making coffee. You will be expected to contribute productively to the organisation during your internship. The structured program of work will be arranged between you, your workplace supervisor and your academic supervisor to ensure that the experience enables you to meet the learning outcomes of the internship unit.

There is an information booklet available to download, prepared specifically to help students learn how to make the most of Work Integrated Learning.