1. What is an Internship?
An internship is a short-term work experience for current students or new grads, to receive training and gain experience in a specific field or career area. The important element that distinguishes an internship from a short-term job or volunteering is the intentional "learning agenda" that the intern brings to the experience.
Summer internships and internships for new grads have a learning agenda focusing on gaining skills and professional development. In most cases, these types of internships are covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and must be paid.
According to the Ministry of Labour website, "generally, if you perform work for another person or a company or other organization and you are not in business for yourself, you would be considered to be an employee, and therefore entitled to the ESA rights such as the minimum wage. There are some exceptions, but they are very limited, and the fact that you are called an intern is not relevant." Visit the Ministry of Labour website to learn more about the regulations regarding paid and unpaid internships.
Some programs and courses require a co-op placement or practicum internship as a part of the course’s stated learning objectives. These are generally unpaid. In most cases, unpaid internships that are not part of an educational course or program are not legal in Ontario. Calling it an ‘internship’ does not change this.
- Apply academic learning in work settings
- Clarify your career goals by reflecting on your internship experience
- Establish connections within a company or industry of interest
- Work closely with a mentor in the organization
- Learn of work opportunities within the company…internships can turn into job offers
- Earn course credit or earn money
TIP: Understand your goals for an internship so you can find ones that are right for you!
3. Internship Courses at UTM
Such courses are generally for 3rd and 4th-year students. Programs offering internship courses in the past include: Biology, CCIT, CPS, Economics, Education, Environment, Geography, Forensic Science, History, Language Studies, Management, Commerce, Psychology, Professional Writing, Sociology/Criminology, Visual Studies, Women & Gender Studies. Check the UTM academic calendar and departmental websites.
For more information about internship courses and experiential learning at UTM, visit the UTM Experiential Education Office. Please also visit the Beyond Classes page for various different opportunities offered by the University.
4. Alternatives To Internships
You may be able to get the same benefits of an internship through other on-campus opportunities.
Consider paid summer and part-time work, volunteering, community service, starting a small business, and other projects and involvements both inside and outside of the university. Please consult the Tip Sheets on each of these strategies and the list of resources below.
The Work-Study Program provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills, and experience through paid work on campus. Most academic and non-academic departments participate in the program, offering various summer and fall/winter opportunities. Domestic and international undergraduate and graduate degree students with a minimum of 40% course load may apply.
- Search for postings on the (CLNx) starting mid-August for fall-winter positions. Summer Work-Study postings come out in April – early May.
- View previous year’s Work-Study positions in DV3094 in our Work-Study binder.
- For more information, please visit the Work Study Program page.
5. Why Not Take The Initiative?
Approach an organization or company and propose a project or volunteer opportunity. Highlight how your skills can benefit them and why you are interested in them and what they do. To learn more about this strategy book an appointment with a Career Counsellor or Employment Strategist in person at the Career Centre (DV 3094) or by phone: 905 828 5451.
Off-Campus Internship Resources
U of T’s Career Learning Network (CLNx):
- Search for paid internships on the Off-Campus Job Board (the “Search Job Postings” feature allows you to specify paid internships).
- Search for unpaid opportunities on the Volunteer Job Board.
Talent Egg: Talent Egg is a popular online job board and career resource for students and recent graduates.
Career Edge: Career Edge provides paid internships for recent graduates and internationally qualified professionals.
Ontario Government: Paid internships with government | Ontario.ca
Campus Access: This directory contains a list of Canadian and international internship programs that offer students and graduates an opportunity to gain practical experience and explore potential careers.
Regular job sites may also have internships listed.
International Internship Resources
- GoinGlobal: On the CLNx search Resources > GoinGlobal > Internships > Search Jobs (Internships Organized by Country and provides tips on the host country)
- Firsthand: On the CLNx search Resources > Firsthand > Explore Internships (Information on Internships + Information on Companies and their Employability Rankings)
- InterExchange: Tips for Internships within the USA, USA Search Engine, Visa Application help.
- IAESTE Canada: International opportunities in over 80 countries and access to host-country social events
- UTM International Education Centre: For other questions regarding International Student Eligibility or Study Abroad
TIP: Internships can be competitive, so be proactive, start early and be aware of deadlines. Applying for an internship can be just like a job application. Find out how to make a strong application at the Career Centre - book an appointment with a Career Counsellor or Employment Strategist in person at the Career Centre (DV 3094) or by phone: (905) 828-5451. See our job search-oriented tip sheets as well for advice.
This tip sheet is intended as a counselling document and the information is subject to change.
Updated July 2023