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Earning Credit for an Internship

After arranging an internship, students may register to earn credit for their experience. Here are answers to common questions:

Where do I find an internship?

To learn about strategies and resources for finding an internship, please see Finding an Internship.

What makes an experience qualify to earn geography, GIS or planning internship credit?

An experience qualifies as an internship if the student's work allows him/her to participate in geographic, GIS or planning activities, carried out in a professional setting, under the guidance of a mentor there. The intern should have an opportunity to build knowledge and skills. In addition, the intern's work should be a meaningful contribution to the agency, organization or company.

Students already employed in a position that utilizes geographic, GIS or planning knowledge and skills may be approved to earn credit in an internship course, upon review of their position by the school's Internship Coordinator (See contact information at end of page). Students taking the course on this basis will do all course assignments; and especially important in this situation are the assignment to define learning objectives for the period of course enrollment, and a self-assessment of progress on these objectives at the end of the course.

For examples of work suitable for a for-credit internship, see the Internship Overview (Adobe Acrobat PDF document).

Do the internship courses count towards graduation requirements?

An undergraduate geography, GIS or urban planning major may earn a total of 12 credits in internship courses. 

  • Geography and urban planning majors: Up to 6 of these credits may count as electives in your major.
  • GIS majors: Three credits can fulfill your Applied Experience requirement, and 3 additional credits may count as electives in your major.

Additional credits beyond the first 6 will count as upper-division elective credit, but won't count towards your major. Check with your advisor to be sure these guidelines apply to your specific program of study.

For students in the Master of Urban and Environmental Planning, up to six credits of PUP 584 may count as an elective towards the 47 credit hours required for graduation (more info). MA and PhD students should check with their advisor about how an internship course would fit into their plan of study.

How many hours do I need to work at my internship site in order to earn credit?

Before beginning an internship, you should commit to the total hours you will work. You will earn credit based on total hours worked, as follows:


Total hours worked

Approximate hours per week


Fall or Spring

Summer A+B
(12 weeks)

























Undergraduates: For each additional credit (up to a maximum of 12), you would work an additional 45 hours at your internship site.

Note: During the Fall and Spring, both Tempe-based and online internship courses are offered only as 15-week Session C courses. During the summer, the internship courses have a custom 12-week schedule that combines Sessions A and B. Students who begin an internship after the drop-add date will be able to do late enrollment to add the course at any point up to halfway through the semester.

Can I take an internship course more than once?

Yes, you may repeat an internship course, either doing the same internship or a new one. Keep in mind the maximums described above.

Besides my internship work, what do I need to do to earn credit in an undergraduate- or graduate-level GCU, GIS, GPH or PUP internship course?

The undergraduate internship courses (GCU, GIS, GPH and PUP 484), require:

  • An internship plan, completed work log and mentor evaluation (see Internship Overview for details)

  • Participation in several online discussions and a career development exercise.

  • A paper or recorded presentation summarizing your internship experience.

The graduate-level internship courses (GCU, GIS, GPH and PUP 584), require:

  • An internship plan, work log, and mentor evaluation (see Internship Overview for details)

  • Two short papers dealing with either research related to the internship or reflections and observations on the internship. (For students in the MUEP program, see Guidelines for PUP 584, Internship for more details)

  • MAS-GIS students should consult the program's leadership for an explanation of GIS 684 Internship requirements

What internship course will I register for?

There are 4 undergraduate internship courses -- GCU, GIS, GPH and PUP 484 -- and 4 graduate internship courses -- GCU, GIS, GPH and PUP 584. You should choose the prefix that's the best match to the realm of your internship. All the undergraduate courses are combined together, so assignments for all four are exactly the same.

How do I gain approval to register in an internship course?

First, tell the person who will supervise your internship work (if a current job, your supervisor) that you’re making arrangements to enroll in an internship course in connection with your position. Share the Internship Overview with them, especially pointing out the description of the Supervisor’s Responsibilities at the bottom of page 2, and the forms on pages 3-6.

Then complete the online Internship Plan form. You’ll be asked to provide your supervisor’s contact information, a description of your responsibilities, and what you expect to learn during the period of your internship. Our Internship Coordinator will review the form, contact you by email if anything needs clarification, and if not, will contact your supervisor to confirm the information that you've provided and let the supervisor know if any other forms need to be completed.

Once the Internship Coordinator has confirmation and any necessary forms from your supervisor, the Coordinator will follow up with you, sending details of the registration process.

Who should I contact for more information about geography, GIS and planning internships?

If you have questions about earning credit for an internship, or other internship topics, make a Zoom or phone appointment with Erin Murphy, our school's Coordinator of Internships & Careers, here.  For quick questions, email We’re committed to responding to your email within one business day!