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Internship Agreements

The LSA Opportunity Hub supports and encourages students in their pursuit of experiential learning opportunities, including internships. In some cases, internship hosts request that the University of Michigan sign academic affiliation agreements, internship agreements, or other legally binding documents/forms prior to the start of an internship.

Questions regarding internship agreements can always be sent to lsa-opphub@umich.edu but before doing so, we encourage you to first check our FAQ below as you may find the answers to your questions.

Important information for students

In the overwhelming majority of cases, neither the University of Michigan and by extension, the Opportunity Hub, can sign or enter into academic affiliation agreements, internship agreements, or other types of legally binding documents with employers for internships undertaken by LSA undergraduate students. This is due to the lack of university involvement, control, and oversight of the employer’s internship

  • If you are enrolled in ALA 225 (Undergraduate Internship Course), the LSA Opportunity Hub can, with your written permission, confirm to a third party that you are enrolled in ALA 225 at the time of writing. ALA 225 is a mini-course where students receive credit for reflective coursework completed during their internship.

  • Under federal law and university policy, the Opportunity Hub cannot discuss specific student cases with parents without the written permission of the student.

  • The earlier that students identify whether they need to enroll in an internship course or pursue an academic affiliation agreement, internship agreement, or other legally binding document, the better prepared students can be. If an academic affiliation agreement or internship agreement is requested, it’s a good idea to come to the Opportunity Hub to explore potential options.

  • Students for whom the Opportunity Hub signs any sort of document in connection with the internship, with or without legally binding clauses, must first register their internship opportunity in LSA Engage. This creates a formal record with the University that documentation was reviewed.

  • When in doubt, please email the Opportunity Hub (lsa-opphub@umich.edu) to set up an appointment to have your documentation reviewed. You must be an LSA undergraduate student to have any documentation reviewed by the Opportunity Hub.

Important information for internship hosts/employers

In the overwhelming majority of cases, neither the U-M, and by extension the Opportunity Hub, can sign or enter into academic affiliation agreements, internship agreements, or other types of legally binding documents for internships being undertaken by LSA undergraduate students. If you intend to accept an LSA undergraduate student as an intern, please reach out directly to the Opportunity Hub regarding any documentation requests.

  • If the student is enrolled in ALA 225 (Undergraduate Internship Course), the Opportunity Hub can, with the student's written permission, confirm to a third party that the student is indeed enrolled in ALA 225 at the time of writing. The university grants credit for that course based on coursework completed rather than for work performed for an employer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t the Hub sign my internship or volunteer agreement?

Most agreements contain a number of instances where the employer is asking U-M to “agree” to the internship and sign off on a  “mutual understanding” for the student to participate in an internship service. In legal terms, these kinds of clauses constitute U-M taking on a commitment or obligation to an internship.

The University of Michigan is unable to sign any internship document wherein U-M is being asked to undertake commitments or obligations to the internship unless U-M has academic oversight and control over the design, implementation, and execution of the internship. In most cases, U-M does not have the necessary oversight and control for the Hub to sign anything that involves us taking on a commitment or obligation--and even “agreeing” constitutes a commitment/obligation in legal terms. Thus, because the documents attached go beyond an acknowledgement of your status as a student, the Hub is not able to sign them as written.

What can I do if the Hub can’t sign an internship agreement?

The Opportunity Hub will send the documents to the Office of General Counsel where their lawyers will review and make edits to any language they deem concerning. Once they send those documents back to the Opportunity Hub, we will be able to sign them and send them back to you. 

PLEASE NOTE this process can take anywhere from a few business days up to a few weeks, depending on the time of year.

We would need your permission in writing to speak with your internship host directly, if it becomes necessary. 

What are my other options?

U-M is unable to enter into internship agreements wherein U-M is undertaking legal commitments, obligations, and liabilities unless U-M has direct involvement, control, and oversight of the internship. Since the Opportunity Hub does not have such direct involvement, control, and oversight of the internship, there is no basis for U-M to enter into the agreement proffered by the employer. 

If however, a student is able to find a U-M academic unit that is willing to sponsor and monitor their internship and meet the requirements for involvement, oversight, and control, it is likely U-M would be able to proceed with the agreement. If a student finds a sponsoring U-M academic unit, please let the Opportunity Hub know and we will provide you with a list of next steps.