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SMD Unpaid Academic Internship and Shadowing Program Program Requirements and FAQs

Check the Program Selection Grid for SMD/SMH Educational Experiences to determine whether this is the proper program for your needs.

Email for more information/questions.

Requirements of the SMD Unpaid Academic Internship and Shadowing Program

  1. Interns must be students enrolled (including periods when school is not in session) in a course of instruction that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate. Graduating students enrolled in an institution who plan to continue their education also qualify*(see details on page 4). No more than six months should elapse between the end of one program and the start of the next.

    Shadows may be anyone.
  2. Interns must obtain a statement from their school which attests that he or she is a student whose course of instruction leads to a degree, diploma or certificate. This statement must be on school letterhead and may be from the school’s Registrar or from a professor at the school. The statement should include the current registration status and the expected degree completion date. The department must submit this statement with the intern’s application. University of Rochester students do not need to obtain and submit such a statement.
  3. Internships may last no longer than 6 months and, if appropriate, may be renewed. In order to renew, a new application form, including an updated statement of enrollment, will be need to be submitted and approved.

    Shadowing experiences may last no longer than 160 total hours and may not be renewed. In rare cases, exceptions to this rule may be granted at the discretion of SMD Finance and Administration.
  4. Level of supervision – it is required that the intern/shadow be supervised at all times either by the Advisor or an appropriate delegate.
  5. At the end of the experience, interns must complete at least one final project (see below). Shadows do not need to complete a final project.
    1. Oral report – this must be presented to the lab group or to a wider audience.
    2. Written report – this must be provided to the Advisor.
    3. Poster presentation – must be presented at a formal poster presentation of some kind.
  6. Below is a list of related institutional programs, policies and training that may apply to your intern/shadow. The Department is responsible for complying with all polices and training requirements in a timely manner. Compliance-related documentation should be retained at the departmental level. The department must be able to produce all documentation within 24 hours for audit purposes. The Department may also have additional, department-specific, policy/training requirements.
    1. Will any part of the experience take place in a laboratory? If yes, the EH&S Guidelines for Visitors to Laboratories must be adhered to and any related lab safety training is required.
    2. Will the intern/shadow receive technical experience or participate in an internally or externally sponsored research program? If yes, an Intellectual Property Agreement is required.
    3. Will the intern/shadow have access to patient information? If yes, HIPAA and Mandatory In-Service training are required.
    4. Will the intern/shadow do any clinical shadowing as part of the experience? If yes, in addition to this approval process compliance with Strong Memorial Hospital Policy 12.07 for clinical shadowing is required separately.  Please note that clinical shadowing experiences with no research component are not appropriate for our program and application process. Departments should instead pursue the process noted in SMH Policy 12.07.
      1. Policy 12.07, Short-Term Observational Experiences, can be found in the Strong Memorial Hospital Policy Manual, located here on the URMC intranet.
    5. Will the intern/shadow have any hands-on patient contact? If yes, (1) compliance with Strong Memorial Hospital policy 12.07 is required and (2) a Health Assessment via UHS is required. An Affiliation Agreement may also be required. See SMH Policy 12.05 for details.
      1. Policy 12.07, Short-Term Observational Experiences, and Policy 12.05, Affiliations with Other Institutions for Educational Purposes can be found in the Strong Memorial Hospital Policy Manual, located here on the URMC intranet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What information is needed for the internship/shadowing application?

An application must be submitted via our online REDCap form. For required information, see Pages 5-6.

How is a shadowing experience different from an internship?

A lab/research shadowing experience is appropriate if the individual will be doing no work, will be constantly supervised and will simply be observing his/her supervisor. Shadows may perform minimal mirroring of experiments, techniques, etc. Shadows are not required to complete a final project.

Can a person not enrolled in an educational program complete an academic internship?

No, interns must be enrolled in a course of instruction that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate. Individuals interested in an internship to find out what graduate school or lab work is all about should seek out a paid position, such as a lab tech position.

Can a person not enrolled in an educational program complete a shadowing experience?

Yes, individuals not currently enrolled in an academic program may complete a shadowing experience.

Can a person under 18 complete and internship or shadowing experience?

Yes. Interns/shadows under 18 have additional requirements including submission of the Parental Consent Form and the Adult Supervisor’s Training Compliance Form. Additionally, the Department Administrator is responsible for completing the Background Check Process. Interns/shadows under 18 may not start until all requirements are completed.

The intern/shadow is not “in the system”; what about liability insurance?

Everyone in the building is automatically covered under the University’s general liability insurance.

Can Visiting Student/Scholar and International Medical Student Intern or Shadow?

Visiting student/scholars are not eligible for clinical shadowing, clinical observerships, clinical internships or other clinical experiences. They are eligible to shadow or intern for research only with no clinical component experience.

How does the intern/shadow get a University ID?

Forward the approved application to the ID office at

How does the intern/shadow arrange for a parking permit?

The intern/shadow must visit the parking office with (1) their University ID and (2) their approved application form.

Does the intern/shadow have to pay for parking?

Yes, the intern/shadow will be required to pay for parking.

Can the department pay a stipend to the intern?

No, interns may only receive payments for reimbursements for incidental costs incurred related to completing the internship (e.g., parking). Unpaid interns may not receive payment in the form of wages or a stipend.

How does the Department arrange for the health assessment?

See section 'Process to arrange for Health Assessment through University Health Service' below

How often does an intern need a health assessment?

Health assessments and PPD testing are required annually.

How does the intern/shadow get an email address (if applicable)?

The Departmental Administrator can request an account

How does the intern obtain housing (if necessary)?

The intern may contact Residential Life to discuss housing options.

Can a University of Rochester intern receive academic credit for the internship?

University of Rochester undergraduate interns may be able to register for independent study. The required Instructor's Faculty Permission Code (IPC) must be obtained from the SMD Advisor. The Advisor obtains the code from the SMD Registrar, Tracy Pezzimenti.

The intern and SMD Advisor may refer to for useful information. Questions not answered here may be directed to the College Center for Advising Services at (585) 275-2354.

Can a non-University of Rochester intern receive academic credit for the internship?

Non-University of Rochester undergraduate interns cannot receive University of Rochester credit for the internship. Interns may check with their home institution to determine whether credit at their home institution is available/applicable.

Can graduate student interns register for Visiting Student in Residence?

Visiting graduate students enrolled in biomedical and health sciences PhD programs may be able to register for Visiting Student in Residence through the SMD, particularly if the student needs access to health insurance and the experience will be greater than 8 weeks. Please contact Tracy Pezzimenti to determine if this would be more appropriate than applying to the internship program.

*For students who are transitioning between programs, where should the Statement of Enrollment (SOE) come from?

Graduating high school seniors must obtain a SOE from their post- secondary institution. Undergraduate, graduate, and other students who are seeking an internship while transitioning between programs must provide a SOE from both their current and future institutions.

Process to arrange for Health Assessment through University Health Service

  1. Register the prospective intern:
    1. Department/lab Administrators should call Barb Tripp at 275-1155 to register the person with UHS. (The phone is covered if Barb is away, so turnaround should generally be within one day, regardless.) If not already in the UR system, the following information is needed, at minimum:
      1. First and last name of intern
      2. Birth date
      3. Local Address
      4. Telephone number at which the intern can be reached
      5. Name, phone number and account number through which the intern will be placed (i.e., the person making the phone call.)
    2. Once registered, an appointment can be made either at the same time or in the future.
  2. Make the appointment:
    1. Department/lab Administrator should call Barb Tripp at 275-1155.
    2. The appointment will use the standard “yellow questionnaire” and will cover a Risk Assessment and immunization review, including PPD as appropriate. As always, it is most helpful if the individual can bring an immunization record with them to the appointment (not necessary if a UR student). Most students will be able to get their immunization record from their home school or doctor’s office. The appointment is best made when the immunization record is in hand.
    3. The current standard charge is $50 for the visit, $12.50 for a PPD (which includes a return for the read) plus any additional immunizations or lab tests required at the time. It’s most helpful for the department/lab to send a blue 312 UR requisition with the person when they come, or send it in advance to Barb Tripp, UHS PO Box 270617.
  3. Additional care:
    1. Such individuals suffering an acute injury or exposure directly related to their service in the lab can be directed to UHS for care. The standard Medical Center UHS number is 275-4955. The Office is open Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, except Tuesdays, 9 am to 5 pm. All care is by appointment unless a serious acute situation exists, such as active bleeding, serious chemical exposure and the like, in which the person should be walked over directly. A MERT response should be called if the injury is life-threatening.

Required Information for the Internship/Shadowing Application

It is the Hosting Department's responsibility to complete the SMD Unpaid Academic Internship and Shadowing Program Application Form. Prospective interns/shadows are not to complete the form under any circumstances. Applications submitted by prospective interns/shadows will not be accepted. Please complete the form electronically. Scanned and/or printed forms will not be accepted. You are allowed to leave the form and return later.

  1. Intern/Shadow Information
    1. Full Name
    2. E-mail
    3. Phone Number
    4. Street Address
    5. City
    6. State
    7. Zip Code
    8. Academic Program (i.e., High School Diploma, Associate’s, Bachelor’s, etc.)
    9. Field of Study
    10. Current Educational Institution
    11. URID if a University of Rochester undergraduate student
    12. Is the applicant registered for academic credit related to the experience?
    13. Is the applicant 18 years or older?
      1. If yes:
        1. Emergency Contact Name
        2. Emergency Contact Relationship
        3. Emergency Contact Phone Number
      2. If no:
        1. Parental Consent Form
        2. Supervisor’s Training Compliance Form
        3. Background Check Results
  2. Information about the Experience
    1. Hosting Department
    2. Advisor’s Full Name
    3. Advisor’s E-mail
    4. Department Administrator’s Full Name
    5. Department Administrator’s Email
    6. Is this an internship or shadowing experience?
      1. If internship and not a UR student:
        1. Statement of Enrollment
      2. If shadowing experience:
        1. Total number of shadowing hours
    7. Start Date
    8. End Date
  3. Policies and Training Requirements
    1. Will any part of this experience take place in a laboratory?
    2. Will the individual receive technical experience or participate in an internally/externally sponsored research program?
    3. Will the individual have access to patient information?
    4. Will the individual do any clinical shadowing as part of the experience?
    5. Will the intern have any hands-on patient contact? (For interns only.)
    6. Delegates’ Full Names
    7. Delegates’ Official University Titles
    8. Specific educational goals of the experience
    9. Nature of the work that will be performed (for interns only)
    10. Type of final project (for interns only)
      1. Oral report
      2. Poster
      3. Written report