Programs : Internships
The objective of the internship class is to provide students the opportunity to apply the theory and ideas learned in class to a real world hospitality/tourism setting. In addition this internship will allows students to work in one the most highly respected hospitality cities in the world, San Francisco.
About the Internship Program
Typically 60-80 students participate in the internship program each semester. They are all senior level students majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Approximately 40 hospitality and tourism companies participate in the program each semester. The company will provide a structured learning/experience program for the student, for example, that rotates through several departments or positions. Each student-company relationship must have a clear outline of responsibilities that is agreed upon prior to beginning the internship.
On this Page:
- How the Class Works
- Student Qualifications + Prerequisites
- Internship Requirements
- Participating Company Requirements
- Industry Work Hours
- Frequently Asked Questions
- HTM Internship Contact
How the Class Works
All enrolled students are required to attend the first, and only, meeting of the semester. See iLearn for meeting date, time, and class location. The following topics are discussed:
- Prerequisites are verified and confirmed
- Policies and procedures are reviewed
- HTM approved hospitality & tourism company list is distributed
First Ten Days
- Students contact 3 or 4 companies to arrange on-site interviews
- Companies make "offers" and students "accept" their internship position for the semester
- Internship Placement Agreement paperwork is completed and submitted. Failure to submit the IPA can result in failure of the class.
200+ hours are completed. All internship hours MUST be completed within the official dates of the SF State semester.
All assignments turned in by last day of the semester.
Student Qualifications + Prerequisites
Hospitality and/or tourism work experience is required for this class because we want HTM student’s internship experience to be as effective as possible for both the student and company.
Four criteria must be met to enroll in this class:
- HTM majors only
- Senior standing (prefer final semester)
- A minimum of 350 hours of work experience in the hospitality services industry is required for entry into this course. A). This consists of working (paid or unpaid) in businesses that reside in the hospitality or tourism industry. For example, restaurants and bars, hotels, travel agency, tour companies, etc. B). Students will need to provide a signed letter from your employer on letterhead demonstrating that you have a minimum of 350 hours.
- A minimum of 50 hour professional development. Students should be acquiring additional industry experience that will prepare them for the internship class and a future career in the hospitality & tourism industry. A). This consists of hospitality- or tourism-related experience, such as: Taste-of-the-Bay, Hotel Heroes, Hospitality Club Membership (e.g., PCMA, HMS, etc), company sponsored leadership or management training, etc. Vista Room experience does not count toward professional development hours. B). Students will provide a document from you to me demonstrating that you have a minimum of 50 hours.
Students, who do not have hospitality and/or tourism work experience, for example only have retail/customer service experience; will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Students in this case must provide for me the company name and type of work you have completed and it will be given consideration. If approved, proof of 350 minimum hours and 50 hours of professional development worked is still required.
Note: Guidelines for obtaining industry experience are outlined below under the heading of “Industry Work Hours.”
Internships typically involve a structured learning/experience program for the student that rotate through several departments or positions. You may choose to focus on only one department at your chosen internship location however you must have permission from the course instructor. Each internship must have a clear outline of responsibilities that is agreed upon prior to you beginning your internship (Internship Placement Agreement).
Participating Internship Companies
The internship must be completed with a company that has been approved by the course instructor.
- A list of participating internship companies who have been vetted and approved will be provided to students on the first day of class (not before). These companies represent a wide variety of hospitality and tourism entities.
- It is admissible to conduct your internship with another company within the hospitality and tourism industry that is not on the approved list. However, before approval of this company I must review and vet the company to make sure that you will meet all of the class requirements.
For students that are already working in the Hospitality Industry, you may complete your internship at your current place of employment, subject to the following rules:
- - Permission must be given, in advance, by the course instructor.
- - You must complete your internship hours in a different department(s) than the one you are currently working in.
The internship must consist of performing a minimum of 200 work hours (either on a paid or unpaid basis). The 200 hours must be completed by the last day of the semester.
In order for the internship to be counted toward class credit, the 200+ hours of the internship must be performed during the actual semester. For example, if the semester runs from January 24-May 13, then the intern hours must fall between those dates. Pre- or post-semester hours will not count toward the class. For example, a student may not use hours worked over the summer and apply them to the 200 fall semester internship hours.
The course includes a number of required assignments outlined below:
- Internship Placement Agreement
- Career Center Assignment
- Monthly Timesheet
- Mid-Term Assessment
- Student Management Project: This project involves a task that requires them to produce something that can be used by the company offering the internship. For example, developing a new marketing plan, update a training manual, or standard operating procedures.
Participating Company Requirements
Companies who wish to participate in the internship program must be approved by the SFSU faculty adviser.
Participating companies must meet the following criteria:
- Be an actively engaged company in the hospitality/tourism industry. For example, hotel, restaurant, DMC, convention facility, etc.
- Provide a structured learning/experience program for the student, for example, that rotates through several departments or positions.
- Each student-company relationship must have a clear outline of responsibilities that is agreed upon prior to beginning the internship.
- Provide 200+ unpaid or paid hours to the respective intern while helping the student achieve their stated goals, objectives, duties and special project.
- Provide a detailed description of work responsibilities that the intern is expected to perform. For example, intern will be shadowing front desk agents, reservationists, and PBX operators in order to learn about the front desk operations.
- Provide research or special project details that the intern must accomplish during their intern assignment. For example, assisting the room executive with a competitive guest room rate analysis.
- Provide a performance evaluation at the end of the semester as it pertains to the job requirements as agreed to at the beginning of the internship.
Industry Work Hours
Obtaining the prerequisite hours through an unpaid internship
For students who seek to obtain some or all of their 350 hours of industry work experience (the prerequisite requirements) through their own unpaid internship, please read the following:
- The pre-class internship must be arranged between you and the company.
- SF State will provide liability coverage for any student who needs field experience for HTM 557 or work experience for HTM 515 as long as it is a requirement for their curriculum and the site requests such coverage. SFSU liability coverage is NOT offered for paid positions.
For liability coverage, unpaid interns must read and complete the following information: Please find below the Safety & Risk Management weblink which provides information and a request form for students whose internships require evidence of insurance coverage.
- Student Intern Information: http://www.sfsu.edu/~hrwww/Safety_Risk_Operations/stu_interns/stu_interns.html#5
- Student Intern Insurance Request form: http://www.sfsu.edu/~hrwww/online_forms/safety_risk/Student%20Interns/Student%20Intern%20Insurance%20Request%20form.pdf
- Reminder: HTM 515 requires a minimum of 350 hours of work experience in the hospitality services industry is required for entry into this course. A signed letter from your employer(s) demonstrating that you have a minimum of 350 hours is required.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Do "any" previous work hours count toward the 350+ hours of industry work experience?
As long as your experience was gained through a business within the hospitality and tourism
industry, then yes it will count. Hours earned in non-hospitality and tourism industries will have to be approved by the professor.
2) What are examples of the 50+ hours of professional development requirement?
a. Volunteer activities such as Taste-of-the-Bay, Hotel Heroes, HARF.
b. SFSU Hospitality Club Membership involvement (e.g., PCMA, HMS, CMAA, etc), c. Company
sponsored leadership or management training, etc.
Note: Vista Room experience does not count toward professional development hours.
3) What if I don't have either the 350+ hours of industry experience or 50+ hours of professional
If you are having trouble meeting the course prerequisites, please see the professor.
4) Do the prerequisite hours have to be earned within some specific timeframe?
No. Prerequisite hours can be earned at any time in the past.
5) Can I turn in my proof of prerequisite documents anytime, even right now?
No. All prerequisite requirements will be requested and gathered approximately 10 days before the start of the semester. Documents received prior to that will not be accepted.
6) Can I use my previous work experience or internship experience towards the class and get
credit for it?
No. All class internship hours must be earned within the actual semester dates. These hours can however be used toward the required prerequisite hours.
7) Do I have to find my own internship before the semester starts?
No, the professor will provide a list of 40-50 actively participating hospitality and tourism
companies in the San Francisco Bay area.
8) Can I have the list of participating companies now so I can begin contacting them?
No. The list of participating companies will be issued on the first day of class to
9) I'd like to do my internship overseas or out of the San Francisco Bay area. Is that permitted?
Yes. As long as the internship company is pre-approved by the professor and you are able to meet all of the class requirements, internships are permitted outside of the Bay area.
10) Can I set up an internship on my own to gain the required pre-requisite industry experience?
Yes. Some hospitality and tourism businesses utilize interns throughout the year. Please note that the SFSU does not endorse any internship or work relationship that is not through the actual HTM515 class.
11) What does the final paper/project entail?
The final paper/project is intended to engage students in a real-world issue pertaining to your respective internship. The paper/project topic will be determined and agreed to by the intern supervisor and student. The topic should be beneficial to the company and educational to the student. The topic must also be approved by the professor. Once the topic is determined, the student is expected to define the research problem (problem statement), collect the necessary data, and report on the findings. The length of the paper is not specified, however, quality is preferred
over quantity. It is expected that papers should be at least 10+ pages long. Finally, it is expected that the paper/project and findings will be presented to the internship supervisor. Sample topics are provided on iLearn.
HTM Internship Contact
Andrew Walls, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Office: BUS 342
Phone: (415) 338-1217