UCLA students increasingly choose film and television internships as a way of bridging the gap between the University and the entertainment industry because they provide practical, on-the-job training and valuable relationships that greatly enhance prospective job opportunities after graduation. Internships also help students discover new fields of interest.
UCLA interns are hard-working, intelligent individuals with an ambition to succeed, and regularly receive high marks from employers. In return, employers provide a supportive job training environment and allow students to gain valuable practical experience to complement their respective studies and prepare them for the job market.
1. Overview of the Internship Program
a. Internship Duration
Students may intern between 12 - 20 hours per week during one university quarter (10 weeks). UCLA academic quarters run from late September to mid December (Fall); January to March (Winter); and April to mid June (Spring).
b. Summer Internships
Summer internships may run from June through July (6 weeks), June through September (10 weeks), or August through September (6 weeks). During the summer, students may work up to 40 hours per week.
c. Course Requirements
Undergraduate students must be either juniors or seniors and enroll in FILM TV 194 and 195, which offer academic credit for fieldwork and includes a weekly mandatory seminar taught by the faculty adviser. The seminar includes discussions of contemporary entertainment industry trends and issues.
Graduate students enroll in FILM TV 498 "Professional Internship in Film and Television," which offers academic credit for fieldwork. Students have to submit a research paper profiling the internship company and examining the marketplace at large.
2. Your Responsibilities as an Internship Sponsor
As an Internship Sponsor, you are required to:
- Provide a supportive learning environment to your internship student.
- Discuss your intern's objectives and outline your intern's responsibilities in the Student Learning Agreement at the beginning of the quarter. Please have your intern return the full Internship Package to the Internship Office for final internship approval. You may download an Internship Package here.
- Provide liability and workers compensation insurance to your internship student while on company premises. UCLA's insurance program provides student's health coverage for enrolled students, but it does NOT cover liability coverage or workers compensation for activities performed off campus. Please complete and sign the Worker’s Compensation Agreement as part of the Internship Package to indicate your understanding of these terms.
- Adjust the intern's work schedule to allow the student to attend mandatory classes on campus.
- Ensure that your intern is achieving the learning objectives detailed in the Student Learning Agreement. Check in with your intern periodically to assess your intern's progress in achieving their objectives.
- Provide a final evaluation of the student via the Supervisor's Evaluation. This evaluation will be sent to you approximately two weeks before the end of the quarter. Please complete the evaluation and return it to the Internship Office. This evaluation is confidential, and will not be shown to the student without your consent. You may find it helpful to use this evaluation as a discussion point during an exit interview.
- Review and approve the intern’s final time sheet.
- Update your internship listing prior to each quarter that you would like an intern.
3. Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act
The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the term “employ” very broadly. Internships in the “for-profit” private sector will most often be viewed as employment, unless the test described below relating to trainees is met. Interns in the “for-profit” private sector who qualify as employees rather than trainees typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over forty in a workweek.
The Test For Unpaid Interns
There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program. The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:
- 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;
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
- The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
- 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;
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
For more information, please visit The U.S. Department of Labor.