Guidelines For Unpaid Internships

Guidelines for Sponsors of School of Media and Public Affairs Interns


We are delighted that you wish to invite our students to apply for internships at your organization, but we do want to make you aware that some universities are tightening their requirements for unpaid internships.

In recent years, college students have successfully sued a number of companies for being out of compliance with U.S. Labor Department rules covering unpaid internships. Among the criteria spelled out by the agency for allowable unpaid internships is that “the employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern...”

In almost all cases, that rule requires that SMPA interns be paid.

One effect of unpaid internships is that many students whose parents struggle to pay tuition are forced to choose between taking a part-time job and an unpaid internship. We hope you will consider these developments in considering whether or not to pay SMPA interns.

Thank you for your interest in having our students join your organization. If you have any questions about our guidelines, please contact our internship coordinator, Dr. Patricia Phalen. To share your openings and internships with our students, please contact [email protected].