Guidelines on Unpaid Internships

The University of Virginia (UVA) Career Center acts only as an intermediary between employers posting job opportunities and candidates searching for part-time employment opportunities. All hiring and compensation for work performed by student employees is handled directly between the student and the employer. 

All job postings are posted at the discretion of Student Employment. We do not post jobs that appear to discriminate against applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, disability, gender or any other protected group status (Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) standards). UVA does not guarantee or take responsibility for the truthfulness or accuracy of employer information, position listings or the hiring, recruiting or other practices of any private employer entity. UVA makes no representations or guarantees about the quality of student/alumni applicants as we do not perform background checks on individuals applying for jobs. Employers and students/alumni are urged to perform due diligence in researching each other when applying for or accepting private, off-campus employment. 

The UVA Career Center abides by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Principles for Professional Practice. The UVA Career Center may deny and/or remove access rights for organizations that do not support the policies and procedures of NACE, The University of Virginia, or that violate state and/or federal law.


An internship is an on-site work experience that is either directly related to a student’s major field of study or their career interest.  It can be paid or unpaid, and held during the summer or throughout the academic year.

Unpaid internships must be in compliance with the seven criteria established by the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division standards for internship programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Please examine the list below in order to evaluate whether the primary purpose of the internship is to benefit the student’s educational and professional pursuits. UVA is not responsible for ensuring the employer’s internship meets any of the requirements set by the Department of Labor and the employer is responsible for ensuring their compliance with standards.

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under the close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion, its operations may actually be impeded.
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship;
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship; and
  7. The internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet #71 PDF -

More to Explore

David Lapinski, Director of Employer Relations and Experiential Education

UVA offers a wide variety of large career events to meet the needs of organizations recruiting UVA students. 

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