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Econ 390: Internship for Economics

This course provides Economics majors and minors practical experience applying the knowledge and skills acquired in formal course work. As you would expect, for work experience to count towards Econ 390 credit, it must involve some application of economics.

The focus of Economics 390 is short-term practical experience--the commitment is initially for 1 semester only. You may repeat the internship, which depends upon both faculty and employer approval. While you can take this course more than once, only up to a maximum of 3 credits can be counted towards the Economics major/minor credits. Anything above 3 credits will be counted towards your overall graduation credits but not towards the Economics major/minor. If you are more interested in a long-term commitment with more supervision, consider enrolling in Econ 391, the Econ Co-op course.

Finding a Position

While you are welcome to look for an appropriate position on your own, we encourage you to visit the Manoa Career Center website to search for internship openings. The internship can be on-campus or off-campus, paid or unpaid. The internship must involve the application of Economics, the Social Sciences or Business Administration, and needs to be approved by the Undergraduate Advisor.

Enrolling in Econ 390

Students may enroll in Econ 390 for 1-3 credit hours. The number of credits must be chosen in consultation with the Undergraduate Advisor. The number of credits you earn depends on the hours you work. Roughly, each credit hour should transfer to 3 hours/week at the internship. Students need a position, a faculty mentor, and approval from both their faculty mentor and the Undergraduate Chair before the beginning of class. Students will also be asked to sign a mandatory waiver form before registering for this course. Students can enroll in 390 up to the regular add/drop deadline each semester.

How to Sign Up

  1. Discuss the internship with the Undergraduate Advisor and obtain permission to participate in the internship from them. The Undergraduate Advisor will also help you find the appropriate faculty mentor (someone other than the Undergraduate Chair) in the Economics department who will be responsible for meeting with you throughout the semester.
  2. Discuss the internship with your faculty mentor and obtain their approval. He or she may also refuse to be your mentor if he or she decides that the internship is not relevant to the study of economics.
  3. Sign a waiver form (both the student and the employer) and forward to the Undergraduate Chair, requesting permision to enroll in ECON 390. Please cc the Undergraduate Advisor and your faculty mentor on this email.
  4. The Undergraduate Chair will issue an override code so that you can register for the course.


Two short papers are required: one at the beginning of the semester and another at the end of the semester. The first paper serves as your internship proposal and outlines your goals and objectives for the internship. This proposal is due during the second week of the semester, should be 1-3 pages long, and should describe:

Your second paper is due the last week of classes, should be 3-5 pages long, and should describe:

In addition, you are expected to keep in contact with your faculty mentor regularly throughout the semester and keep your mentor apprised of your progress. The requirements above are minimum requirements, and the faculty mentor retains the right to request more in terms of quantity and quality as a condition for signing on as a mentor.

Professional Appearance/ Courtesy

ECON internships involve interaction with professionals outside the casual campus atmosphere at UH. Student interns represent both the Economics Department and the University and must conduct themselves professionally. Be prepared to honor all of your commitments during the semester.

You may want to contact the Mānoa Career Center for advice on how to produce a resume and a cover letter. They can also help you to develop interview skills and other job search skills.