Formal Internship Programs

Across OHSU there are several interns and volunteers participating in a variety of activities within various programs, departments, schools, centers and institutes. An OHSU Formalized Internship Program is an sustainable and defined program designed to support, educate, and propel its participating students towards their future goals in medicine and medical research. Participating students do not necessarily have to be receiving academic credit from their home institutions to participate - but the program itself must meet the following criteria:

  • Sustainable: the program is intended to be offered on a regular basis for the foreseeable future
  • Standardized and competitive application process: Application materials and deadlines are defined, criteria on how candidates will be evaluated is established, etc.
  • Defined start and stop dates: internships should be short-term and limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning; programs can create an extension mechanism, but it must accommodate the intern’s academic commitments
  • Project-based work: Interns should not be given repetitive work, or work that displaces the work of paid employees; their experience should be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including hands-on training provided by educational institutions
  • Educational Milestones: There should be defined milestones for each participating student, that shows that they are progressing in their training towards their end-goal
  • Scoped for the benefit of the student: When looking at the scope of the program/student's assigned tasks the primary beneficiary must be the participating student; it is expected that hosting these students will impede on the business operations of their hosting site (read more about the Fair Labor Standards Act "Primary Beneficiary test" for Unpaid Interns and Students)
  • Formal review process: Near or at the conclusion of the program, participating students should have a formal review conducted by their leadership; examples include (but are not limited to): final presentation of knowledge/skills/abilities learned, final evaluation or GROW conversation with supervisor, etc.
  • Compensation: Interns and hosting site should clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee - and should therefore be a student worker employee. Stipends (which are funds for living expenses, not compensation) can be issued if the Formal Internship Program has been approved by the Provost's office. See "Can we issue a stipend to participating students?" below for more information.

Formalized internships are not a classification of their own - they may have a variety of OVV classifications participate in a single program. Example:  Both Experiential Volunteers and Non-OHSU Student Interns may participate in a single Formal Internship Program.

Certificates of Coverage, Liability Insurance, and Medical Coverage

Additionally, a single program's participants may not necessarily covered by a single source of liability coverage. Liability insurance may be provided by a sponsoring entity of the program. If a sponsoring entity does not provide coverage then the classification of the individual will determine what is provided or needed:

If your department, school, center, or institute is interested in creating an internship program, please draft a proposal that defines the parameters of your program. Be sure to discuss how your program meets the requirements outlined above (see "What is a Formal Internship Program"). Once complete, send your proposal to for review. OVV will send the final draft to the Executive Vice Provost for final review and approval. 

See approved Formal Internship Programs below for examples.

If you have any questions, please contact

Formal Internship Programs that successfully met OHSU requirements and have been approved include:

  • CURE Program
  • Occupational Health Sciences Internship Program
  • EXITO Program
  • Saturday Academy Apprenticeships in Science & Engineering (ASE)
  • Cell and Developmental Cancer Biology Internship Program (CDCB)
  • Murdock Scholars Program
  • Partnerships in Scientific Inquiry (PSI)
  • Summer Equity Program
  • University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) Internship Program
  • Quantitative Bioscience & Biomedical Engineering Program
  • Portland Urban League: Urban Tech Jobs Program
  • Chemical Biology and Physiology Summer Undergraduate ResearchProgram (CBP-SURP)
  • Vollum NGP: Neuroscience Summer Undergraduate Program
  • Biomedical Engineering: Fluorescence Molecular Imaging Internship Program
  • School of Dentistry Pre-Matriculation Research Internship Program
  • Partners in Science Program
  • ONPRC Undergraduate Summer Program
  • Department of Surgery Summer Clinical Research Internship Program
  • Brendon-Colson Center for Pancreatic Care (BCCPC) Summer Internship Program
  • Risk Management Internship
  • Campagna Scholarship in Neurological Surgery
  • Galbraith Lab Internship
  • Knight Scholars Internship Program
  • Healthcare Administration Internship program*
           (*Not registered through OVV, but through Healthcare Volunteer Services)

The expectation should be that there are no stipends for interns and volunteers. However, there are some cases where it might be approved.

OHSU's Central Financial Services (CFS) and Human Resources Compensation have indicated that stipends can be issued to "students participating in a formal OHSU internship" (see Scheduled Disbursement Form), and defines these students (in the Scheduled Disbursement Instructions) as "A person at least 16 years of age who is enrolled in or on vacation from or is otherwise registered in a high school, college undergraduate program (minimum 6 credit hours) or college or university graduate program (minimum 4.5 credit hours) and is participating in a formal internship training program at OHSU. This classification is intended to be short term, i.e. for summer internships. If  they are appointed to a sponsored project, it must be specifically stated in the award as part of the overall program. To learn what a "Formal Internship Program" is, see above.

In addition, the OHSU Provost's Office has reviewed a list of approved OHSU Formal Internship Programs and deemed which ones are appropriate to issue stipends to their participants. This is based on:

  • Whether the program is considered a pipeline program;
  • If the funds are written into a grant; or
  • If funds are issued to OHSU from an outside affiliated entity to disburse

For a list of approved Formal Internship Programs that have been approved, please see "What Formal Internship Programs exist at OHSU?" above.

If your program is not on the list, but you believe it should be, please e-mail  

If your student is not part of an approved Formal Internship Program, see our Frequently Asked Questions under "Eligibility, Requirements & Compensation" for more information about stipends.

How to issue your participating students a stipend:

If your program is listed above, you can use the Scheduled Disbursement Form to request stipend payments be disbursed to your participating students. 

Students who participate in Formal Internship Programs fall into one of two possible classifications:

  1. Non-OHSU Student Intern - if the student is receiving academic credit from their home institution for this experience
  2. Experiential Volunteer - if the student is NOT receiving academic credit from their home institution for this experience

It is possible that one Formal Internship Program may have a mix of Non-OHSU Student Interns and Experiential Volunteers participating; it comes down to whether the program requires they receive academic credit from their outside home institution or not.

If you have any questions, please email