Navi Mental Health Wayfinder
Academic Internship - Experiential Learning Hub

Learning Type:

Academic Internship


A work experience that integrates academic learning with its application in a workplace. The experience has an in-class academic component. This type of experience is primarily intended to support the development of professional or industry-specific skills and competencies.



  • Academic internships have specific eligibility criteria that differ depending on the course and / or Degree/program of study to which they are connected.


  • The duration for these opportunities varies. Academic internships typically occur during an academic term of study with varying time commitments, although they are typically a few hours per week.

Recognition and / or compensation:  

  • Academic internships are generally unpaid opportunities, students receive academic credit as part of a course. NOTE: Non-academic internships (internships not connected to a course) are likely to be paid opportunities.


  • Inclusion in EL is achieved when an experience supports learning for all students. In keeping with the Ontario Human Rights Code, the University of Toronto has a commitment to an equitable learning environment for people with disabilities. It is important to engage in an interactive process to determine the optimal and most appropriate accommodations for individual students engaged in experiential learning.
  • If a student requires an accommodation related to an academic internship, you may wish to connect with one of the accessibility services offices at the University of Toronto. Staff at these offices will advise you on the disclosure of accommodation requirements as well as support you through the process of determining and negotiating effective accommodations for the student’s individual circumstances.
  • Student support offices strive to create a safe and comfortable community where students have opportunities to discuss navigating barriers, find peer support and learn about various academic and social opportunities. 


  • Review the Guidelines & Procedures page to understand which partnership agreements, insurance and liability coverage and health and safety policies are applicable to academic internships. The Experiential Learning Risk Management Matrix provides a one-page overview.
  • An unpaid student placement agreement between the University of Toronto and the partner organization needs to be in place prior to students engaging in an academic internship. This agreement will clearly outline items such as responsibilities, provisions and policies to be followed for both the University and the partner organization. 
  • Students engaging in an academic internship (for credit for an unpaid placement) receive workplace insurance coverage through the University or Ministry of Colleges and Universities.
  • Students engaging in an academic internship (for credit for an unpaid placement) have general liability coverage through the University.


  • Students receive supervised guidance over an extended period, leading to deep learning and skill development.
  • Tailored internships meet specific course expectations and benchmarks while being structured to provide learning-outcomes for students.
  • Internships provide students with realistic perspectives on specific industries, professional and community settings.

Ideal time to participate:  

  • This will depend on students’ academic, professional and personal goals. 
  • Academic internships are generally completed in the latter portion of an academic program, as they support the exploration and application of discipline-based learnings acquired in earlier years. 
  • Students may want to discuss further with their academic advisor or registrar’s office.

How to access / locate opportunities:  Courses and programs of study that incorporate academic internships exist across the University. Students can check with their academic unit or registrar to discuss the best way to locate these opportunities.

Resources for Faculty, Staff and Librarians

Next Steps for Partners / External Organizations

  • Academic internships take place in various academic units and divisions across the University. While there is no definitive list of academic internships, these opportunities are available in a range of fields.
  • If partners are interested in hiring students for an academic internship, reach out to one of our divisional experiential learning offices or the academic unit most related to the field of work.