Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning Internship

UP 390, The Internship

The objective of the internship is to introduce students to professional employment and planning practice, by means of practical experience under competent professional guidance. The internship must be preceded and succeeded by at least one semester of course work in planning while in residence at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Internship

An internship must consist of at least 80 hours (two full-time weeks) of appropriate planning-related work at an off-campus agency. Generally, one hour of credit is awarded for each 80 hours of appropriate work.

The work must be planning, or clearly related to planning; that is, it must involve action directed toward the physical, economic, environmental, or social betterment of a community. The agency must be involved in such action, and the internship must be performed under the supervision of a professional in the field.

Internship credit will not be given for work that is primarily clerical in nature (typing, coloring maps, answering the telephone, mindless data entry), nor for manual labor (e.g., landscaping), nor for university research (including CERL). Typically, an internship consists of support tasks similar to those of an entry-level professional position. These might include field data collection, map preparation, data analysis, preparation of case memos, participation in public meetings, and preparation of reports to support planning activities. To receive internship credit, you must be actively participating in substantive planning work.

Internship credit will normally not be given for work in real estate, law, banking, engineering, architecture, or landscape architecture offices, unless the work of the office has a clear planning component that distinguishes it from the norm. Internship credit will normally be given for work for relevant public agencies, consultants in planning or economic development, community nonprofits, and private developers.

UP 390 internship credit is given only to students enrolled in the BAUSP degree program. Prior approval of internships by the degree director is required, and completion of the three forms and weekly log must precede the award of credit.

Most internships are during the summer break. Some students, however, are able to obtain internships of suitable quality and duration during the academic year. You must register and pay tuition and fees during the term or summer session in which the internship is performed, in order for the course to appear on the official transcript. Alternatively, students may choose to register for internship credit in a subsequent semester. Internships may be on a paid or volunteer basis, depending on your arrangements with the agency.


You need to submit four forms in order to complete your internship:

  1. Agency Offer of Internship. This one-page form is filled out by the professional who will act as your internship supervisor. The purpose of the form is to assure the necessary commitment of time by the supervisor, and to confirm that the tasks will be appropriate for a planning internship. It is your responsibility to provide this form to your internship supervisor once you have accepted the internship offer.

    Once you have received the Offer, you should submit it to the BAUSP Director for approval. You will then be able to enroll in UP 390, for the appropriate number of credits, as determined by the BAUSP Director. If you aren't sure of your total hours of work, or if the BAUSP Director needs further evidence regarding the planning component of your internship duties, you can enroll in UP 390 following completion of the internship (see below)
  2. Weekly Log. You need to maintain this during the internship. For each week you should summarize your activities, in a brief paragraph or bulleted list.
  3. Student Internship Evaluation. This form must be completed at the end of the internship in order to receive a grade of satisfactory for UP 390.
  4. Agency Internship Evaluation. Your internship supervisor must return this form to the Department at the end of the internship. It is your responsibility to ensure that s/he has the form and submits it in a timely manner. The form provides the supervisor with the chance to evaluate your skills and to reflect upon your contribution to the agency. You may not receive a grade for UP 390 until the form is submitted.

You should submit documents 2, 3, and 4 in one package to the BAUSP Director upon completion of your internship, in order to receive UP 390 credit. If you choose to enroll in UP 390 after completing the internship, the BAUSP Director will advise you regarding the appropriate number of credits.

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