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Guidelines for Writing Learning Objectives For Your Internship

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

Students in a lab wearing lab coats.

As you know, internships are a type of experiential education in which you develop a learning plan specific to what you want to achieve. Obviously, an internship does not come with a syllabus detailing the learning objectives for each project. Instead, it is your responsibility to articulate and identify what you want to learn and how this experience will accomplish that.

Defining your learning objectives should begin when you first start pursing an internship. As you research options and apply to sites your objectives will become more specific. By the time you accept an internship, you should be ready to articulate your learning objectives in a well-thought out manner to be discussed and finalized with your supervisor on site.

The following provides guidance on types of topics your learning objectives should address and a few samples.


  • How does this relate to what you are learning in the classroom?

  • How does this help you achieve your long term goals?

“This internship experience will allow me to use my skills in a real world work environment while building confidence and enhanced awareness of the kind of professional job I want to pursue after graduation.”


  • Enhance professional skills by participating in a professional environment

  • Identify professionals in my field and develop relationships and networking skills

  • Become aware of key characteristics which contribute to the success of a professional in this industry

“I want to learn how to work with clients and see what it is like to work as part of a collaborative team. “


  • Enhance verbal and written communication skills

  • Build confidence and ability in expressing ideas

  • Learn how to ask questions in any situation

“I want to enhance my presentation skills so hopefully I will have a chance to be in meetings and suggest recommendations for a client.”


  • Learn about the industry and future developing trends

  • Learn what the culture is like in a large corporation or small non-profit

“I want to gain knowledge of financial, marketing and operations by conducting informational interviews with members of various departments.”


  • Learn new techniques/software or apply existing knowledge in new ways

  • Create work to enhance processes, procedures and productivity

“I want to enhance specific computer skills relevant to the industry or job description.”
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