The point of an internship is for the student to work at a temporary position and get on-the-job training and experience. While the employer gets the benefit low to no cost labor, an internship can’t last forever.
Typically, an internship program will last the length of the academic institution’s semester or quarter. The majority of universities operate on a semester system where each semester will last between about 14 and 16 weeks. The fall semester will normally begin in August or September and run through the beginning of December while the spring semester will begin in January or February and run through May or June. The majority of schools will also offer a summer term that last about 10-12 weeks in length.
It is important to note that if you hire an intern during the fall or spring semesters, it will normally only be a part time position because the student also needs to balance their academic life.
It is important to figure out the starting/ending dates of each semester at the university you choose because you will normally want to plan a few weeks ahead to hire an intern. If you plan on offering an internship for academic credit then you also need to take into account the dates for the students to register for classes. This is because students need to register for an actual class if they want to receive academic credit for their internship.
For example, if you wanted to post an internship in the spring for academic credit, then you would need to do so before the spring class registration period ends.
Knowing the length of a typical internship at a university lasts will also help you when you are designing the internship program. This way when you hire an intern, you will be able to gauge how much work the intern will be able to do for you and incorporate that into the job description. The last thing you want to do is plan on your intern completing a set amount of work and then realize that the internship won’t last long enough for it to be completed.