University of Iowa

Honors at Iowa encourages students to intern — whether as volunteers, paid employees, or as students enrolled for academic credit. Internships are supervised work experiences related to your career goals and are available across all disciplines. The word “internship” does not need to be in the job title for your experience to count as one.

To earn honors credit for an internship all students must complete a guided reflection process, which includes a pre- and post-experience questionnaire and a narrative submission. In some circumstances, students have the option to earn additional honors credit by developing and conducting an independent project.

Students are strongly encouraged to register their internship (see Step #2), which will be listed on their grade report. Occasionally, students may be able to earn honors credit for an internship even though they cannot register it.

If a student’s internship supervisor is a relative, the internship is not eligible for earning honors credit.

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Honors Reflection Process:

Step 1: Identify an internship

At the University of Iowa, the Pomerantz Career Center connects students with many established programs for interning or service learning. Many undergraduate colleges and departments also provide regular rubrics for internships or service-learning programs that tie substantively to their areas of inquiry and practice. Contact Honors Experiential Learning Director Andy Willard (andrew-willard@uiowa.edu) if you are unsure if your internship is eligible for honors credit.

Students registering their experience through the College of Engineering may earn honors credit for their internships or co-ops but they should not use the procedure presented on this page; rather, they should contact the Director for Engineering Professional Development in the College of Engineering for the appropriate procedure.   

Step 2: Register your internship

Option 1: Enroll in an internship course (CCP:XXXX) from the Pomerantz Career Center. These courses are available for zero (0) or more semester hours. Request to register by following these instructions and deadlines. To enroll in a zero (0) semester hour credit course, your internship must meet these requirements. 

  • Professional experience that relates to student's major field or area of career interest
  • At least 80% professional work
  • Full or part-time intern must work a minimum of 10 hours per week 
  • Intern must work at least 10 weeks during spring or fall term, or 8 weeks in summer 
  • Requires continuous supervision by a professional in the field (not a student)

Option 2: All Tippie College of Business students must enroll in the zero (0) semester hour internship course BUS:3100. Request to register by following these instructions and deadlines.  

Option 3: Enroll in an internship or practicum course usually offered by your college or department. This is a credit-bearing course and has associated tuition and fees. Contact your college or department to find out more about the course options and registration process. 

Option 4: Enroll in HONR:3160 and complete the required Honors Internship Form. You can choose to earn zero, one, two, or three credits for this course with associated tuition and fees. This option is only available for internships supervised by a UI faculty or staff member with authority to issue a grade. 

Option 5: If your internship does not meet registration requirements, it still might qualify as an experience for which you can earn honors credit. To explore this option, please contact Honors Experiential Learning Director Andy Willard at andrew-willard@uiowa.edu

If you were not able to register your internship before the late registration deadline, contact Honors Experiential Learning Director Andy Willard.

STEP 3: Complete the Pre-Experience Questionnaire

This consists of a few basic questions. It is designed to guide you through considering and then describing what you hope to gain or accomplish from your internship.

Pre-Experience Questionnaire

This is due before your internship begins.

STEP 4: Intern!

STEP 5: Complete the Post-Experience Questionnaire

This is the place where you can comment on how your experience has shaped your growth. It is designed to guide your reflection on your internship experience to see how and in what ways it fulfilled or did not fulfill your hopes and expectations.

Post-Experience Questionnaire

You can start this once you complete your internship and must do so within five (5) weeks after your internship concludes. If you are in your final semester at Iowa, this is due no later than the Monday of finals week.

STEP 6: Submit your narrative

The purpose of your narrative is to present highlights of your experience to others and demonstrate how they have contributed to your growth and self-knowledge. There isn’t one way to do this, but in general, we want it to be fun and informative, yet easy to read and/or understand.

Narratives can take many forms including a written piece, podcast, comic strip, video, slideshow, etc. There is no required format. We do expect a minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 1000 words for written pieces. Video and audio can be varying length. Video, audio, and comic strip submissions will require a short explanation (minimum of 250 words) detailing their pertinence to your experience.

Here is a list of what your narrative must include and what we might ask for you to expand on after reviewing it:

  • Where you went and what you did
  • How long you were there
  • Highlights of your experience 
  • How this experience fostered self-discovery and personal growth
  • Two (2) images (more are welcome, though!)
  • Your author bio (you have the option to include a photo of yourself)

Your narrative may be published on the honors blog and social media. By sharing your narrative with others, what you learned can have a broader impact and possibly lead someone else to take part in a new experience. To prepare your narrative for others, you will need to reflect on the experience and think about what you want to share. You may draw on ideas and even whole paragraphs from your answers to the post-experience questionnaire; however, please keep in mind that you are writing the narrative for a general audience.

Here are some tips for blog-writing:

  • Avoid unnecessary jargon, like technical terms and acronyms.  Make sure to explain any ideas or concepts that are not common knowledge. 
  • Use paragraphs to break up the ideas in your narrative.
  • Be specific about your experience by including examples and anecdotes. Get creative and be descriptive!
  • Pay attention to the transition and flow of your main ideas—your narrative should make sense from start to finish.
  • Finish strong. What do you want others to take away from your narrative? What advice do you want to impart to your peers? How did this experience impact you the most? End your narrative with gusto!
  • Fix grammatical errors and submit a polished final draft.

Submit Your Narrative

You can start this once you complete your internship and must do so within five (5) weeks after your internship concludes. If you are in your final semester at Iowa, this is due no later than the Monday of finals week.

STEP 7: Earn honors credit!

For zero-credit internships, experiential learning credit will be awarded accordingly:

  • 1-2 week experience with questionnaires and narrative: 1 honors credit 
  • 3-5 week experience with questionnaires and narrative: up to 2 honors credits
  • 6-9 week experience with questionnaires and narrative: up to 3 honors credits
  • 10-15 week experience with questionnaires and narrative: up to 4 honors credits
  • Add up to 3 honors credits to the above for completion of an optional independent project*

*The independent project is not an option for the 1-2 or 3-5 week experience as the duration does not allow enough time for completion.

Note: For internships with the same organization that extend beyond fifteen (15) weeks, eight (8) is the maximum number of honors credits that can be earned by completing the honors reflection assignment; and a maximum of three (3) additional honors credits can be earned by developing, conducting, and reporting on an independent internship project. It is also possible to participate in a different internship with a different organization for additional honors experiential learning credit.

For credit-bearing internships/practicums, experiential learning credit will be awarded accordingly:

  • For a 1 semester-hour course with questionnaires and narrative: 1 honors credit
  • For a 2 semester-hour course with questionnaires and narrative: up to 2 honors credits
  • For a 3 semester-hour course with questionnaires and narrative: up to 3 honors credits
  • For a 4 or more semester-hour course with questionnaires and narrative: up to 4 honors credits

Optional: Meet with the Honors Experiential Learning Director to develop an independent project

In some circumstances, students can choose to develop and conduct an independent project during their internship. Projects are tailored to a student’s individual interest. Some examples of the types of possible projects include:

  • Creative/original/entrepreneurial activities
  • Market research/historical research/environmental impact research
  • An in-depth analysis of the global or regional aspects of an industry or sector in which the student is working
  • An in-depth analysis of global or regional issues of concern to the host country
  • A series of personal conversations with appropriate leaders on a specific topic

All students conducting independent projects are required to make a poster presentation. Details about the project, including topic, audience, and presentation will be finalized by individual students with the Honors Experiential Learning Director. Students are encouraged to discuss their ideas for an independent project with faculty.

These details must be submitted to andrew-willard@uiowa.edu and approved prior to your internship beginning.