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The economics faculty strongly supports the idea of internships and would like to see each one of our majors do an internship as part of their program. Internships provide a good way for economics majors to satisfy graduation requirements while gaining practical skills and making valuable contacts.

While some companies or agencies are able to pay interns, some are not. Economics majors who work on internships that do not pay are eligible for special scholarship aid to help them meet their school expenses during the semester of their internship.

A typical economics internship finds a student working in a local business, government agency, or non-profit organization gathering and analyzing information. For instance, economics majors have served on internships helping to design an economic development plan for a small town, helping to find international customers for a local business, designing an economic forecasting model for a local consulting firm, and helping to write an analysis of the Idaho tax structure.

Internships are more than just practical experience. They are intended to provide learning fully comparable to that received in the classroom. Thus, an important part of each internship is the internship report in which the student reflects on the experience and carefully identifies the economics knowledge they have gained. No one should think that internships are less “rigorous” or less “academic” than regular classes. They are simply an alternative way of learning economics.

Course Number: ECON493, Economics Internship

Coordinator: Dr. Don Holley, (208) 426-1158 or (208) 426-3351

Prerequisite Courses:

  • ECON303, Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON305, Principles of Macroeconomics
  • BUSSTAT207, Statistical Techniques for Decision Making I
    • BUSSTAT207 also requires MATH130, MATH160, CIS104 and CIS105. Successful completion of a computer placement exam may replace CIS104 and CIS105 requirement. Contact CIS Department, Room B308, Business Building, or call (208) 426-1181 for more information on placement exam.

Formal Requirements:
Economics internships are open to economics majors who have completed ECON303 Intermediate Microeconomics, ECON305 Intermediate Macroeconomics, and BUSSTAT207 Statistical Techniques for Decision Making I (or the equivalent). Once the student and a member of the economics faculty have tentatively arranged for an internship, the student must write a one to two page proposal that clearly states exactly where the student will be working, what the student will be doing, and who will be the on-site supervisor, and exactly what economics knowledge the student expects to gain from the internship. University regulations require than an intern perform as least 50 hours of work for each academic credit awarded. Internships are graded on a pass/fail basis.

Report Requirements:
At the end of the internship the student must write an internship report. A suggested outline for the report would be:

  • Introduction (two or three paragraphs)
  • Describe the internship in general terms. Include the name of the company or agency, identify its principal goals, and state its size in terms of annual sales or budget and number of employees.
  • Tasks (one or two pages)
  • Describe exactly what you did for the company or agency. Include the intended outcomes of each assignment, the methods you used to accomplish the outcome, and the results achieved. If you produced any reports or publications as part of your assignment, attach copies as an appendix to your internship report.
  • Economics Knowledge Gained or Enriched (three to five pages)
  • Examine your internship in terms of the economic concepts and techniques of analysis you have learned in your classes. What has your internship experience contributed to your knowledge and skills in economics?
  • Evaluation (one or two paragraphs)
  • Provide your own evaluation of the internship. Was it intellectually challenging? Did it provide opportunities you would have missed out on if all your learning had taken place in the classroom? Would you recommend to other students that they seek an internship in the same company or agency?

Please see the Economics Department’s internship director or any member of the faculty for information and assistance.