A new Arts and Science paid internship program will help the University catch up to other Canadian schools.
The program — approved at the Feb. 24 Senate meeting — will begin in September. Following their third year, undergraduate ArtSci students will have the opportunity to apply for a 12-16 month internship relating to their field of study.
Students in the program will receive financial compensation from their employers, academic credit and recognition on their transcripts. Participating students will have their degree path extended to five years, due to the length of the internship.
Compared to other universities, Queen’s has fallen behind in co-op, internship and other professional opportunities — especially for its ArtSci students.
Career Services, the Faculty of Arts and Science and ASUS should be commended for their efforts to establish the program.
A full-year to 16-month period will allow students to gain tangible skills and immerse themselves wherever they’re working — with the added bonus of potentially being hired by these companies after they graduate.
The program is still a pilot project that needs to get its bearings. It has definite benefits, but limitations in flexibility and accessibility may pose a problem for some students.
Because of additional living costs, dedicating 12-16 months to an internship and returning for a fifth year of study won’t be financially viable for all students, even if they receive a salary.
The Faculty of Arts and Science should consider establishing a bursary or scholarship for students who support themselves financially, so that they’re able to pursue an internship.
Introducing an option for shorter summer internships later down the line would also improve accessibility and allow students to gain experience in a variety of fields.
Students may also have trouble obtaining international internships, as non-Canadian companies may be unwilling to negotiate credits. It’s another consideration for a program with exceptional potential to benefit students.
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