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Undergraduate & Graduate Internship Guidelines during Remote Instruction

Based on evolving federal guidance and statewide mitigation plans announced by Gov. Tom Wolf around the growing coronavirus pandemic and the global efforts underway to stop its spread, Penn State has extended the virtual-delivery period for all classes through summer sessions 2020.

  • During remote learning delivery periods, experiential education (including credit-bearing internships, clinical assignments or noncredit experiences that are required for degree completion) must be virtual and all academic units must accept these virtual experiences as meeting requirements. Note that our assumption is that the majority of these experiences will be virtual and academic and career units do not need to verify the format.

  • These guidelines also apply to any internship experiences offered through Penn State that you may wish or need to take advantage of.

  • In addition, internal Penn State internships must follow Penn State guidelines regarding hiring and funding. This decision reinforces the University’s primary goal to maintain health and safety for all involved and to recognize that different and rapidly changing situations are emerging across the nation and world.

If an internship is required for you to graduate, your college and academic program should communicate an alternative plan to you.

Alternative Opportunities

Your academic program will support you in meeting your internship or other experiential requirements during virtual learning periods. Graduating seniors will be prioritized in this process. Alternative activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Remote virtual internships or experiences
  • Independent/ special topics courses that meet learning outcomes of experiential education internships
  • Research or culminating project that simulates the internship or other required experience
  • Program-specific course substitutions

International student guidelines

For international students who are in F-1 immigration status, if their academic program DOES NOT require an internship, these students must enroll in internship credits. F-1 regulations require that the internship be directly related to the major and be curricular. 

While most internships are in person, it is possible for remote internships to take place and international students should seek advice from an international student adviser in DISSA. The decision to grant an exception to the requirement for virtual internships rests with associate dean after consultation with the offices of General Counsel, Risk Management, and Global Programs.


Exceptions to this guideline may be determined on a case-by-case basis upon review by your college's Associate Dean, in consultation with the relevant University Offices.

For example, internships completed at your existing workplace or in an essential area of employment may be reviewed for an exception.

To receive consideration for approval for an exception, complete the Internship Exception form below.


If you are currently employed in a position that you do not receive academic credit for, and if you are not working for the primary purpose of meeting an academic requirement, then you are considered an independent employee.

While this employment is outside of Penn State ​academic requirements, you are encouraged to comply with CDC guidelines for protecting yourself and others.

If this employment is with the University, then you must request and receive approval from the academic unit leader before continuing or conducting work in on-campus facilities.

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