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Professional Practice (IT 498)

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Introduction

Following you will find the information, forms, and instructions necessary to register for IT 498—Professional Practice in Information Technology. We have attempted to provide instructions which are clearly written and complete. However, if you have a question after reading the instructions, please feel free to contact the IT Graduate Advisor.

You may print this information or bookmark this page and refer to the information throughout your internship. You can save yourself time and money by reading the information contained in this document.

 

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What is the purpose of Professional Practice in Information Technology?

Professional Practice in Information Technology is an optional supervised work experience arranged by the student and approved by the School of Information Technology. Work sites may be found by the student on campus, in the Bloomington-Normal area, at other locations in Illinois, and even out of state.

Professional Practice offers the student the opportunity to integrate classroom study with a learning experience in a work environment related to Information Technology. This work experience may benefit the student by providing documented work experience for his/her resume, providing supplemental income, allowing the student to experience working in his/her chosen field of study, and allowing international students to gain valuable work experience through Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

 

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Is Professional Practice offered for credit in the M. S. in Information Systems Graduate Program?

No. Professional Practice is completely optional and is not offered for credit towards the requirements of the M. S. in Information Systems degree program. A grade for IT 498 is not assigned; it is offered on a credit (CR) / no credit (NC) basis only.

Despite the fact that IT 498 is not offered for credit in the MS in IS graduate program, a student may still choose to register for Professional Practice because:

  • The student wishes to have the internship experience included on his/her transcripts.
  • The student is an international student on an F-1 visa wishing to gain experience through a paid internship off campus. These students must register for IT 498 and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) in order to be paid for working off campus.
  • The employing company requires that the student be officially registered for a Professional Practice/Internship course.

 

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Is Professional Practice required for my M. S. in Information Systems degree?

No. Professional Practice is completely optional.

 

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When am I eligible to register for Professional Practice?

In general, companies seek students who have completed a sufficient number of academic courses to complete, or to offer assistance in completing, assigned information technology tasks. Therefore, you must complete at least 18 credit hours in the M. S. in IS degree program (not including foundation courses) before you are eligible to register for IT 498. (Note: for a paid internship, international students must be on an F-1 visa for one full academic year before registering for IT 498 and requesting CPT).

You may register for IT 498 during the Fall, Spring, and/or Summer semesters.

 

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How do I locate an internship?

The student must locate an internship with a company in which s/he may apply skills in information technology. The School of Information Technology does not award or assign an internship to any student. Part of the Professional Practice experience is that the student seeks an assignment that is related to the area of information technology that the student finds most interesting.

The University and IT will provide assistance in locating internships through the following activities:

  • ISU offers an Internship Fair each fall and sometimes during the spring. Potential employers gather in the Bone Student Center in an “open house” format organized by the Career Center. Students may circulate through the room disbursing resumes and speaking with potential employers. Employers typically return at a later date to conduct more formal interviews and make selections.
  • The School of Information Technology receives several notices each year of available internships. These notices are posted on the IT Listserv, which is sent to all current IT students.
  • The Career Center is available to assist students in resume writing and interviewing skills.
  • The Career Center also maintains a list of available internships.

Please note that students are not limited to these resources and are free to research and inquire with nearly any company about a possible internship.

 

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What type of internships will be approved for IT 498 credit?

Professional Practice is a supervised work experience in local, state, national, or international businesses, agencies, institutions, or organizations. The position must be directly related to the student’s academic program. It also must be an integral or important part of the student’s studies and may include work necessary to complete a thesis. Professional Practice must be completed while the student is working on coursework for the degree.

 

Approval Guidelines

  1. Students should generally work for an Information Technology/Information Systems area of a company and should receive regular supervision, preferably by an IT/IS professional.
  2. The student must be assigned to an IS/IT task, which may include, but is not limited to, assignments such as application development or maintenance, or network development or maintenance.
  3. The internship must be between 10 and 16 weeks in length per semester registered.
  4. The internship may be between 15 and 40 hours per week.

 

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How do I get approval for my internship?

When you have located a position that you believe meets the criteria listed above, you will need to submit the position to the Graduate Advisor of the School of Information Technology for approval. To do so, complete all information on the forms listed below and submit the forms to the IT Advising Office in OU 302. Incomplete forms will be returned without action.

Submit all of the following materials at the same time:

  • Professional Practice Registration form
  • A letter of employment issued by the company on company letterhead (including your name, start date, and end date of employment). For on-campus internships, an email to itgradadvising@ilstu.edu with this information will suffice.

 

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How do I access the forms I need to complete, and how do I fill them out?

The following information has been provided to help you understand the purpose of each form required and how to complete that form. For each form, the student is expected to provide full, complete, and accurate information. The School will return to the student any form that is not completed and will decline to act on the internship application until all requested information has been provided.

In addition, the School may, at its option, check the accuracy of the information provided. If the information is found to be false, the School reserves the right to decline approval of the internship, or, if the student has already registered, the school may refuse to give credit for the internship.

Please click on the links below to access each form in order to print it out.

  • Professional Practice Registration Form

    This form is submitted along with others for initial registration. Be sure to provide all information requested. If you do not know who your immediate supervisor will be, provide the name and telephone number of the person who hired you. All information on this form is required. Incomplete forms will be returned without action.

  • Letter of Employment

    Students who have an internship position located on campus at ISU may have the ISU supervisor send an email confirming employment to itgradadvising@ilstu.edu. The email must include the student name, start date, and end date of employment.

    Students with positions OFF CAMPUS must submit a letter from the employer on company letterhead confirming employment as an intern. The letter must include the student’s name, start date, and end date of employment.

  • Professional Practice Student Evaluation form

    Each student must complete an evaluation form regarding his/her internship. This form is due by the last day of finals of the semester in which the internship is completed. Credit will not be given for Professional Practice if this form is not submitted.

  • Employer Evaluation Email

    Each employer must send an email to Dr. Tibor Gyires at the completion of the internship. The email must include the start and end dates, general duties performed, and whether or not the student completed work satisfactorily. The email must be received by Dr. Gyires by the last day of classes of the semester during which the internship is completed. Credit will not be given for Professional Practice if this email is not received.

 

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What is the deadline for submission of IT 498 registration request forms?

The deadline for submission of IT 498 Professional Practice Registration request forms is as follows:

  • Spring and Fall semesters—by 4:00 PM on Friday of the second full week of classes.
  • Summer session—by 4:00 PM on the first Monday of June

The Graduate Advisor will review the documents to be certain all information has been provided and that the internship meets School criteria. If the internship is approved, a permit will be entered that will allow the student to register for one credit hour of IT 498. The student will be notified by email when the permit has been entered. It is the responsibility of the student to officially register for the course. If the student fails to register, credit will not be awarded. Under no circumstances will credit be awarded retroactively for Professional Practice.

 

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What is the deadline for submission of IT 498 evaluation forms?

The deadline for submission of IT 498 Professional Practice Student Evaluation forms and employer evaluation email is the last day of classes of the semester during which the internship is completed.

 

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How many credit hours of IT 498 must I register for?

You must register for 1credit hour of IT 498 for each semester you participate in Professional Practice.

 

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Will I receive a grade for IT 498?

IT 498 is being offered for Credit/No Credit only. Therefore, a grade will not be assigned, and a student’s GPA will not be affected. On the transcript, CR will appear if credit is given for the experience and NC will appear if credit is not given for the experience.

In order to receive credit for professional practice, it is the student’s responsibility to see that both the Professional Practice Student Evaluation form and the Employer Professional Practice Email are received by the appropriate IT personnel. The deadline for submission of these forms is the last day of classes of the semester during which the student is registered.

Until forms are received, an “I” for incomplete will be recorded. University policy requires that the “I” be changed to a “NC” if the grade is not submitted in a timely fashion. To avoid having a “NC” on his/her transcript for Professional Practice, the student is responsible for seeing that evaluations are submitted promptly.

Grading Criteria

  • Students who voluntarily leave an internship before the final course withdrawal date and drop IT 498 will receive a WX.
  • Students who voluntarily leave an internship after the final course withdrawal date will receive a NC.
  • Students dismissed from an internship before the completion date will receive a NC.
  • The School of Information Technology reserves the right to issue a grade of NC based on information in the employer evaluation indicating things such as, but not limited to, the student being continually late for work, failing to complete assignments on time, or being dismissed from the position.

 

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May I register for Professional Practice for more than one semester?

Students may register for professional practice hours up to 2 times. The student will register for one credit hours each semester Professional Practice is taken. Registration procedures are the same for each semester.

International students should note that there are restrictions on the number of hours they can work under CPT without affecting the length of their OPT. For further information, consult International Studies.

 

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Must I register for IT 498 if I receive an internship offer?

Not necessarily. A student may wish or need to register for IT 498 if:

  • The student wishes to have the internship experience included on his/her transcripts.
  • The student is an international student on an F-1 visa wishing to gain experience through a paid internship off campus. These students must register for IT 498 and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) in order to be paid for working off campus.
  • The employing company requires that the student be officially registered for a Professional Practice/Internship course.

 

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How do I register for Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

International students interested in registering for CPT should visit the International Studies web site for CPT registration instructions and forms. When the student submits his/her IT 498 registration forms, s/he should stop by to have the IT Graduate Advisor sign the CPT Advisor’s Form.

 

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What if I cannot find an internship?

It is the student’s responsibility to find an internship. In the event that an internship is not found, the student simply will be unable to register for Professional Practice. Please remember that Professional Practice is completely optional.

 

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Illinois State University

SchoolofIT@IllinoisState.edu

School of Information Technology
Normal, Il 61790-5150
Phone: 309.438.8338

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