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Retailing Practicum and Internship FAQs

Let us help you find answers to your practicum and internship questions.

Practicums — “Front line” customer service oriented positions (e.g., customer service clerk, receptionist, telemarketer, sales associate, cashier, etc.)

Internships — Usually positions of a higher level and with more responsibility or authority than a practicum has.

There are 2 types:

  1. You have applied and been selected for an employer’s formal internship program and are called the “intern,” OR;
  2. You have applied and been selected for an assistant manager, assistant buyer, department manager, manager trainee, MIT (manager-in-training) or key holder position, or a similar position on a managerial or supervisory level.

It is also possible for retailing students to do two internships instead of a practicum and an internship. However, you still must enroll in RETL 295 first (your first internship) and then enroll in RETL 495 (your second internship) afterwards per pre-requisite requirements.

All students at the University of South Carolina are assigned an account in Handshake, the USC Career Center’s career management platform. You may use Handshake as part of your job search for work experiences. All retailing majors also are required to use their Handshake accounts to seek approval of the practicum or internship positions they acquire. Handshake can be accessed here.  

In addition to Handshake, Retailing majors may also seek jobs (practicums and internships) at other online career websites, such as the following:

  • (federal government positions)
  • (SC state government positions)
  • (nonprofit positions)

Don’t forget to network. You may also ask people you know, or are acquainted with, for job referrals. If they know of a job that you may be eligible for and interested in, they can be a valuable resource when job hunting. Be sure to share your updated resume with them.

The retailing internship director periodically emails information to retailing majors about practicum-internship opportunities when such information is received. 

First, it’s important to understand what the Department of Retailing considers “retailing.” Retailing is any job for an employer that either sells a product to the consumer or provides a service to the consumer, not to another business or organization. Therefore, the following fields qualify as “retailing”:

  • Traditional Retailing (in a store, boutique or shop)
  • Corporate Retailing (in the corporate headquarters of a retailer)
  • Real Estate
  • Property Management
  • Insurance
  • Banking
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing or Management
  • Event Planning
  • Corporate Buying
  • Fashion Buying
  • Fashion Design
  • Interior Design
  • Styling
  • Personal Shopping
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Asset Protection
  • Supply Chain or Logistics Management
  • Law/Legal Services
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Hospitality management, tourism management, sport management, entertainment management

Yes, students do have to pay tuition to enroll in RETL 295: Retailing Practicum and RETL 495: Retailing Internship, just as for any other courses. These are online, academic courses that require each student to work for at least 300 hours for each course but also require students to read the course syllabi, complete academic assignments, and submit those assignments online in Blackboard to earn grades and 6 credits for each course. Look up information about tuition and fees on the USC Bursar’s website.

Before you can do your practicum or internship, students must have completed the pre-requisite courses. The pre-requisite to RETL 295: Retailing Practicum is RETL 265: Principles of Retailing. The pre-requisite to RETL 495: Retailing Internship is RETL 295: Retailing Practicum. None of these courses may be taken concurrently/simultaneously. All approvals are done in Handshake; therefore, retailing majors are required to access their Handshake account through the USC Career Center. Then, you will follow these steps to seek approval:

  1. Secure a practicum or internship position.

  2. Submit your practicum or internship details into the “Experiences” section of your Handshake account, not into your profile. 

  3. When you enter your name into Handshake, please use your full name, the same name that USC uses for you. Please do not use nicknames. 

  4. Please enter your USC ID number from the back of your Carolina Card (begins with a letter) into Handshake. Please do not use your VIP ID number (begins with a number).

  5. Be sure to select the semester you intend to enroll in for your practicum or internship.

  6. The retailing internship director will either approve or decline your practicum or internship in Handshake, so you will need to look for your approval in your Handshake account. You will not receive an email unless it is declined. If you are declined, the retailing internship director will email you to tell you what the issue is and how it can be resolved. After you make the necessary change(s), you should resubmit your information into Handshake to seek approval. 

  7. After you receive approval, you will be able to register for the practicum or internship as early as the date when you are able to register for classes once your academic advisor has lifted your advisement hold.

Please pay attention to the deadlines for the practicum and internship. Each semester, information will be sent to students informing you of the deadline to post your practicum-internship details into Handshake and also the deadline to register for RETL 295 and RETL 495. 

No. All Retailing majors are required to work in their approved practicum and internship positions while also enrolled in RETL 295 or RETL 495 and may NOT do the work first and then enroll in the required courses after completing their practicum or internship positions. 

It is preferable for students to complete all 300 work hours in one semester. However, we realize that sometimes circumstances arise that are beyond the student’s control, such as your employer reducing the amount of hours you can work each week. If it becomes obvious that you will not be able to complete 300 work hours before the end of the semester, then you should complete and submit the Extension Request Form to the RETL 295 or RETL 495 instructor after discussing the matter with your practicum or internship supervisor. As part of your request, you will need to put on the form a new deadline that you and your supervisor have agreed upon to complete your work experience. When grades are posted at the end of the semester, you will be assigned an “Incomplete” (“I”) which will not affect your GPA. After you complete your practicum or internship, your instructor will submit a Make Up Incomplete Grade Form to assign you the letter grade you earned that will replace the “Incomplete.”

Yes, both virtual internships and micro-internships are allowed for both work experiences. If you have 2 or 3 internships, then we consider them micro-internships, and you must enter each micro-internship separately into the “Experiences” section of your Handshake account under the same semester. Please be sure you do not choose the “Micro-Internships” term option in Handshake. That option is for other majors. Instead, Retailing majors must choose either “College of HRSM” or “Department of Retailing” (if available) as your term and of course, either RETL 295 or RETL 495 when you are ready to post your details into the "Experiences" section of your Handshake account. Each of your micro-internships will need to be approved, and the number of hours worked for all your micro-internships must total a minimum of 300 hours for your practicum or a minimum of 300 hours for your internship. 

If you need to make any changes to the practicum or internship information in your Handshake account after it has been approved, please contact the Retailing Internship Director to request that your status in Handshake be switched from “Approved” back to “Pending.” This will unlock your account and allow you to make necessary changes. After you have made your changes, please contact the Internship Director again to request your status to be changed back to “Approved.” 


Students who have any technical issues with Handshake (whether entering your position information into Handshake or otherwise) should either:

  • Contact the USC Career Center (Handshake is managed by them) for help at either 803-777-7280 or, OR;
  • Call DoIT at 803-777-1800 for technical assistance.




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