Two work experiences are required for undergraduate retailing majors: the practicum and the internship. (The practicum must be completed prior to the internship.) The type of experience is dependent upon your career goals. For example, if you are interested in fashion merchandising and digital innovations, you are encouraged to seek an internship with a fashion-forward department store. If you are interested in eventually owning your own business, you may elect do a practicum and complete an internship with an independent retailer. By doing so, you'll be able to experience the buying, selling, visual merchandising, and employee training aspects of a business.
- A practicum and an internship are required (RETL 295 and RETL 495).
- The practicum is typically taken during or after your sophomore year and can be any job in the industry.
- The internship is typically taken when you are a junior or senior, and it should be either 1) a managerial or supervisory position or 2) a formal internship program.
- 300 work hours are required per experience within the industry related to your major.
The practicum is an introductory experience often taken during or after your sophomore year. Most practicums are taken within the United States. The practicum consists of completing 300 work hours. Students also complete course work as part of the practicum experience. While enrolled in RETL 295, you may choose to complete additional courses. The majority of practicums are paid. Practicum: RETL 295 (6 credits required for graduation; pre-requisite is RETL 265).
Internships are required for students and may be taken during junior or senior years. The majority of students select internships within the United States. Students are also able to conduct an internship within their home town or abroad. The internships are full-time, consisting of 300 work hours throughout one semester (usually during the summer). Retailing majors are strongly encouraged not to be enrolled in any other courses while enrolled in RETL 495, but may enroll in up to two (2) additional courses totaling no more than seven (7) additional credits while pursuing their internship. Many students participate in paid internships; however, some internships are unpaid and are completed for credit only. Internship: RETL 495 (6 credits required for graduation; pre-requisite is RETL 295).
Retailing majors are required to use Handshake, the University Career Center’s career management platform, to post the positions they have acquired and seek approval for their practicums and internships from the Retailing internship director. Reporting Your Experience Guide for RETL 295 & RETL 495 in Handshake includes visual instructions and the link for Retailing majors to enter required information into Handshake. There is no application form for the Retailing practicum or internship; all approvals are only done in Handshake.
Retailing students’ practicum / internship approvals will be posted in Handshake. Retailing majors will be able to register for RETL 295: Retailing Practicum, and RETL 495: Retailing Internship only after ALL the following requirements have been met:
- You have met any and all pre-requisites.
- Handshake indicates that your practicum or internship has been approved;
- Your academic advisor has lifted your advisement hold (after you've been advised); and
- Your date and time to register have already come.
Work supervisors are encouraged to provide a rigorous, structured experience for interns to work in a retail environment. Interns are expected to be well-prepared, punctual, and enthusiastic employees. The supervisor provides an opportunity to merge academic knowledge with real-world experience, allowing the intern to grow in a management-oriented environment. Typically, the work supervisor assists the intern in identifying an appropriate project that provides mutual benefit to both the intern and the employer. Feedback is very important to us; therefore, we ask that all work supervisors complete an evaluation of the intern's work performance by an agreed upon deadline.
A sample of companies who have participated in the practicum and internship since
Ralph Lauren, Target, Nordstrom, Kohl's, Walgreen's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Northwestern Mutual Financial, Sherwin Williams, Belk, Carolina Panthers, Diamonds International, Ann Inc., Bergdorf Goodman, Express, Tory Burch, and Spanx and more.
Objectives of the practicum and internship:
- To provide students with opportunities to acquire skills in retail management and fashion merchandising
- To give students an understanding of the satisfactions and challenges of a career in the retailing industry
- To familiarize students with the overall structure, functions, and operation in the retail industry
- To teach the application of principles and concepts learned in formal course work
- To provide students experience in interviewing and position negotiating