Internship Policy

Internship program policy statement


The Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University recognizes the educational value of student involvement in practical experiences outside of the traditional classroom. Such experience allows for professional application of knowledge and skills gained in cognitive science coursework and research. In order to support student efforts for obtaining practical experience, a Cognitive Science internship program and course description have been established to meet the following objectives:

  1. Students will apply theories and skills, learned in coursework, to practical experiences in industry or research organization settings.
  2. Students will develop new knowledge and skills as a result of their involvement in the internship program.
  3. Student learning from the internship experience will enhance career and educational objectives.

Responsibilities & Expectations

The internship coordinator is responsible for coordinating and supervising the cognitive science internship program. It is expected that the internship coordinator will:

  • ensure program policies and procedures are followed and maintain the integrity of the program's effectiveness
  • assist students in securing placement in internship positions by interpreting policies and requirements, identifying and developing resources, and providing consultation about job search processes
  • consult with the Cognitive Science Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee regarding criteria and selection of internship experiences for course credit
  • assist students in developing learning objectives, monitor internship progress, and evaluate materials submitted by interns and supervisors
  • serve as a liaison between the Cognitive Science program and internship site supervisors
  • assess the effectiveness of the internship program through student and supervisor evaluations
  • use evaluation information to determine student academic needs and report findings to the cognitive science undergraduate curriculum committee
  • cultivate and maintain relationships with industry representatives, in order to promote cognitive science students and the internship program

A student participating in the cognitive science internship program is expected to:

  • actively participate in the internship search process by utilizing appropriate resources and maintaining regular contact with the internship coordinator
  • develop learning objectives consistent with their interests, skills, and goals, both academic and career related
  • follow all policies and procedures described in this document, including timely submission of application and evaluation materials to the internship coordinator
  • conduct themselves in a professional manner as a representative of the Cognitive Science Program and Indiana University
  • contribute to the success of the cognitive science internship program by providing feedback and suggestions about program policies and procedures, program resources, and internship sites

Internship site supervisors are considered partners in the Cognitive Science Internship Program and are expected to:

  • provide meaningful learning experiences for students by developing appropriate job descriptions, project assignments, and training opportunities
  • maintain regular contact with the internship coordinator by responding to requests for information, submitting intern evaluations, and providing program feedback


Student Eligibility Criteria

All students interested in cognitive science are eligible to use the resources of the Cognitive Science Internship Program and enlist the assistance of the internship coordinator. However, students wishing to obtain course credit for their internship experience must meet the following criteria:

  • students must be officially pursuing a cognitive science major or minor
  • students must have sophomore standing and have completed at least 15 credit hours toward a cognitive science major or minor
  • students must have a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 2.5
  • students must obtain authorization from the Cognitive Science Program internship coordinator before registering for internship course credit

Internship Site Eligibility Requirements

Decisions about the appropriateness of a particular internship assignment will be based on the following:

  • the internship site provides a clear description of the internship responsibilities and projects
  • the responsibilities associated with the internship assignment provide an opportunity for the student to apply knowledge and skills offered by the cognitive science curriculum. Internship descriptions must demonstrate that students will use and further develop some or all of the following skills:
    • technical skills, including programming or using computers
    • conceptual and analytical skills, including critical evaluation of evidence and data, experimental design and implementation, or statistical analysis
    • interpersonal skills, including oral and written communication skills
  • the internship assignment must present a new learning experience for the student(Explanation: students may not receive credit twice for the same internship placement requiring identical responsibilities)
  • the intern will be assigned to a site supervisor, who agrees to provide appropriate evaluation and serve as the contact person for the Cognitive Science internship coordinator
  • the following industries or fields provide examples of potentially appropriate cognitive science internship placements
    • artificial intelligence
    • biomedical technology/medical technology
    • consulting
    • human computer interaction
    • human factors
    • human performance testing
    • information technology
    • marketing research and development
    • mathematics and statistical analysis
    • neuroscience
    • research and development
    • software and interface design
    • technical writing
    • telecommunications
    • training and education

Course description

Q496 Internship in Professional Practice (1-6 cr.)

P: sophomore standing or 15 credit hours completed in cognitive science major or minor, and approval by the Cognitive Science Program. Professional work experience in an industry or research organization setting, using skills/knowledge acquired in cognitive science coursework. Requires learning contract. Evaluation by site supervisor and Cognitive Science Program. Does not count toward major or minor requirements, elective credit only. May be repeated for a total of 6 credit hours. S/F grading.

Course procedures & requirements

  1. Students seeking course credit for internship experience must complete a Cognitive Science Application for Internship Course Credit.
  2. Deadlines pertaining to submission of course credit applications coincide with University registration deadlines. In other words, students must submit applications for course credit in advance of the last day to add courses (without a signature) for a given semester. Internship credit is available during fall, spring, and summer semesters.
  3. Students must meet with the internship coordinator in person to review course credit policies and discuss their proposed internship assignment.
  4. Students are encouraged to use program resources for assistance in locating an internship placement, but internship assignments secured without program resources will always be accepted for consideration.
  5. The Director of Undergraduate Studies will review all internship course credit applications and make decisions about the appropriateness of each.
  6. Students approved for internship course credit must submit a completed learning contract (signed by the student and site supervisor) to the Cognitive Science Program internship coordinator no later than the end of the second week of the internship assignment.
  7. Course credit hours for internship experience is variable (1-6 credits). The number of credit hours is determined by the nature of the position (including assignment duration and weekly hours worked), and is negotiated with the internship coordinator before authorization to register is granted. Students must work a minimum of 50 hours per credit hour, i.e. students wishing to earn 3 credit hours must work at least 10 hours per week during a 15 week academic semester.
  8. Students must furnish the internship coordinator with contact information where they can be reached during the internship assignment (e-mail address, mailing address, phone, fax).
  9. Students must complete all evaluation requirements (outlined below) before receiving credit for their internship experience.

Student evaluation

Student interns are evaluated by the site supervisor and a representative of the Cognitive Science Internship Program ( internship coordinator, Director of Graduate Studies, or individual faculty member). Students will be graded on a satisfactory/fail (S/F) basis. The learning goals, established in the learning contract, are suggested for use as a basic guide in evaluating the student. The following forms of assessment will be used:

  1. Students will submit monthly journal entries analyzing progress toward learning goals and documenting personal reactions. For shorter internship opportunities, a minimum of one midterm journal entry is required. The student and the internship coordinator will work together to establish a schedule for submitting journal entries. The journal assignment will be used by the internship coordinator for purposes of providing appropriate feedback or assistance to the student, during the internship.
  2. Students will submit one of the following as a final assignment:
    • A reflective paper, evaluating the internship experience in terms of the learning goals and objectives specified on the learning contract, submitted by the student at the end of the internship
    • A content oriented paper, demonstrating the student's knowledge of a particular topic and explaining how the internship experience contributed to that knowledge.
    • A portfolio of work accomplished or materials developed during the internship, compiled by the student during the experience.
  3. The internship site supervisor will submit a midterm progress evaluation and a final evaluation of the student's performance. Additional evaluation information may be obtained through site visits or informal communication (e-mail, phone conversations) between the site supervisor and the Cognitive Science Program