Frequently Asked Questions for New and Prospective Students


General Information

  • What services does the ICC offer for newly admitted students?
  • The Internship and Career Center (ICC) supports students with their professional and career preparation and development as well as their student employment needs. We offer career Advising appointments in-person or virtually via phone or video. Our in-person services include drop-in peer advising and career related workshops in South Hall. During advising appointments, you can ask our advisors questions pertaining to finding jobs and internships, resume and cover letter writing help, interview practice, and any other career related topic. Check our services for more in-depth information

    The ICC also hosts Internship and Career Fairs every quarter. The career fairs are attended by hundreds of employers who want to hire UC Davis students! They are held either virtually on Handshake or in the University Credit Union Center (the "UCUC"). Students and alumni have a chance to network with employers such as Facebook, PepsiCo, Chevron, and many more companies eager to hire UC Davis Aggies. Learn more about the Internship and Career Fairs

    The ICC hosts employment- and career-related workshops in South Hall, with topics ranging from resume basics, interviewing skills, networking, how to find jobs and internships, and more.

  • What is Handshake?
  • Handshake is an online platform, where UC Davis students and alumni can connect with employers. It features a wide range of internships, career, and student employment opportunities, including UC Davis campus positions. Handshake is also the platform to register for our career workshops, make appointments with our advisors, and register for internship and career fairs. We encourage students to start working on their Handshake profiles as soon as possible and come see us if you have any questions or need help.
  • When can I access Handshake and the ICC services?
  • You can access Handshake and limited ICC services within a couple of weeks of submitting your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). Keep in mind that you may not be eligible for some on-campus jobs and internships that are only available for students enrolled at UC Davis.
  • How do I make an appointment at the ICC?
  • To make an appointment with one of our advisors, go to Handshake, click on "Career Center," and press "Appointments." You will be prompted to answer a few questions to ensure that you are scheduled with an advisor that best fits your needs. Appointments are offered in-person at South Hall or virtually via phone or video.

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  • What is the purpose of an internship?
  • Internships provide real-world experience and enable you to put everything you've learned into action. They help you narrow down interests by trying out positions and allowing you to maximize your academic success and preparation for the job market by pairing courses with work experience. When first looking for internships, it can seem very overwhelming, but remember that the university has a ton of resources to help students for this journey.

    If you are looking for an internship, it is important that you look on Handshake, stay updated by subscribing to your major department's email lists and ICC's weekly newsletters, meet with an ICC career advisor, and also meet with your major advisors and peer advisors. Peer advisors can be great resources because they usually have upper division standing in your major, so asking them what internships they have done can help with ideas. It may sound like a lot to cover but making use of every single one of these resources is key to successfully finding and securing internships.

    Keep in mind that when searching for opportunities, most internship programs know that you may have limited related experience. Their purpose is to help develop your skills to become qualified for future positions. In most cases, internships are looking for enthusiastic, passionate, and interested applicants whom they feel confident investing resources into. The first step to getting an internship is applying.

  • How do I find an internship or a job?
  • By using Handshake, an online platform where UC Davis students and alumni connect with employers and search and apply for internships and jobs. Over 100 internships and jobs, both on and off campus, are posted every day. Once you have access to Handshake, you can create your profile and begin applying to jobs. For on-campus jobs you can use the filters on Handshake to narrow your search to "on-campus" only.

    Network! Expand your professional network by utilizing LinkedIn and Handshake to connect with professionals in your field of interest in order to find job and internship opportunities. We're here to help. If you have questions, just ask!

  • What types of internships are available to UC Davis students and/or what types of internships are available for students in my major?
  • UC Davis has a robust internship program. There are internship opportunities for every major and in almost every profession you can imagine. We have internships locally in Davis and the Sacramento region, throughout the country, and even around the world in every continent except Antarctica.

    You can explore options and find internships that match your professional interests and goals. One of our most notable internship programs is Health-Related Internships (HRI), which provides students interested in health with the unique opportunity to intern at a hospital, clinic, pharmacy, dentist office, and other health-related profession. HRI internships span many health-related fields including medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nutrition, public health, and physical, occupational, and speech therapies. If you are interested in seeing where others have interned or found jobs related to your major, check out our "Majors Data." You can also explore by area of interest.

    Additionally, the University of California offers multi-campus internship opportunities including the UC Washington Program that provides students the chance to study, research, intern, and live in Washington, D.C.

    The best advice we can give you to find an internship related to your field of choice is to meet with an advisor and let them know of your career interests and goals. Your major advisor is another great resource to get information and learn of major-specific opportunities.

  • How do I pick an internship?
  • If you are looking for an internship, it is important that you look on Handshake, keep updated with your major department's email lists, subscribe to ICC weekly newsletters, meet with an ICC career advisor, and also meet with your major advisors and peer advisors. Peer advisors can be great resources because they usually have upper division standing in your major, so asking them what internships they have done can give you ideas. It may sound like a lot to cover but making use of every single one of these resources is key to successfully finding and securing the right internships.

    When choosing an internship, make sure it aligns with your career and academic goals, and try not to limit yourself. Cast a wide net and keep an open mind. You never know how an experience will impact your career journey and trajectory!

  • I'm ready and extremely interested in doing an internship as soon as possible. Who should I talk to and how?
  • Schedule an appointment with an ICC Career Advisor or come by the ICC for drop-in peer advising. Our team can help connect you with internship programs and answer your questions about the application process. Our advisors can also help review your resume and cover letter prior to an internship interview.

    If you already have an internship in mind, our advisors can help you strengthen your interview skills and provide you with resources to increase your occupational awareness. The ICC hosts various career workshops throughout the course of the year, so check Handshake and register for workshops that could improve your skills.

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Timing and Timelines

  • When should I do an internship?
  • Typically, students start internships in their third year and continue into their fourth. If you're wondering what to do during your time at Davis, your freshman/first year should be a year of discovery, your sophomore/second year can be used to expand your horizons, your Junior/third year is the time to try out options, and your senior/fourth year is for making decisions. If you're a transfer student, you have an abbreviated timeframe to do things. Read more about the career planning cycle here.
  • When is the best time to apply for an internship?
  • On average, it typically takes three months to secure an internship from the time you begin applying. If you come to UC Davis as a first-year student, we encourage you to complete your first internship in your third year, whereas transfers are encouraged to complete their first internship in their second, third, or summer quarter. However, these are recommendations. All students have different paths, and your path may not follow these recommendations – which is perfectly fine. No matter what, when you choose to apply, the ICC will be here for you.

    Something to think about: not all majors require you to complete internships. To make sure that your academic path is proper for you, every student should keep in contact with their major and college advisors. This also ensures that you are staying on track to graduate.

  • Tell me more about what I should do in my first year at UC Davis.
  • While each path is different, typically, a first year freshman spends their time on self-discovery, which means learning about their values, interests, skills and personalities. Some things you to consider doing are taking a career assessment like the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) or a personality indicator like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)...or both. You can do so at Student Health and Counseling Services once you have enrolled. We also have other resources to help you discover your values, interests, skills, and personalities, so stop by and visit us in South Hall. Then, you can use your second year to learn about the areas you have discovered, and your third year testing out those areas by doing internships, community service, undergraduate research, and service-based learning. Of course, if you transfer in as a first-year transfer student (basically, a junior), and have not actively engaged in the self-discovery process or expanding your career horizons by learning about different professions, you'll have some work to do. Spend a quarter or so on self-discovery and learning (start with the Strong Interest Inventory), then do internships in your winter, spring, or summer quarters. Again, read more about activities by year, click here.
  • Can I get an internship before I start attending classes at UC Davis?
  • Yes, you are able to complete an internship before you enroll at UC Davis, but keep in mind that you will not be eligible for many internship opportunities posted in Handshake that require you to be enrolled at UC Davis. You may be able to find an internship on your own, and you can access many great resources on the ICC website to help you prepare, learn to network, and identify opportunities.
  • Do you recommend finding an internship or job right away when transferring? How do you balance out your classes and job/internship?
  • Because transfer students have less time at Davis than freshman, it is important to start exploring your career options through jobs/internships soon after transferring. We recommend meeting with an ICC advisor to discuss potential opportunities to help you further your career development.

    The ICC has several recommendations for transfer students on the "Transfer Student" page of our website.

    Balancing school life with an internship or job can be stressful, so it's important to utilize campus resources to support your journey. The Transfer and Reentry Center focuses on assisting transfer students through their transition, and has staff ready to answer your questions. The Office of Educational Opportunity and Enrichment Services also has resources to help students improve their skill-building, goal setting, and action-planning abilities. By building these skills, students can more efficiently manage multiple classes alongside job/internship responsibilities. Visit the OEOES "Success Coaching and Learning Strategies" page to learn more.

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Units and Pay for Internships

  • Do you get paid for doing an internship?
  • Each internship is unique, so the answer will vary. Some internships offer monetary compensation and others do not. When looking for internships on Handshake, you can use the filter options in the search engine to identify paid positions.

    If you are self-developing an internship or asking someone to take you on as an intern, it is unlikely that you will receive pay. However, that opportunity could eventually lead to a paid position.

  • How do I get academic credit for my internship?
  • If you intend to receive academic credit for your internship, you will have to consult your major advisor. To receive units for your internship hours, students must fulfill requirements set by major departments. There is another option if you cannot get academic credit. The ICC offers "Transcript Notation" (TN) for students who meet certain criteria. Transcript notation is the ability to note on your transcript that you completed an internship during the given quarter. To receive TN you must intern at least 40 hours in a given quarter, be supervised and evaluated by a professional, and complete a proposal, final report, and evaluation through Handshake.

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Other Types of Experiential Education

  • Can I do an internship abroad?
  • Yes! Internship opportunities abroad are great ways to increase marketability to employers in a growing global economy and gain real-world understanding of diversity and cultural competency. Meet with an ICC advisor to help guide you through the planning process. Subscribe to the International ICC newsletter to stay up to date with the international opportunities available. Additionally, the Study Abroad Program through the Global Learning Hub offers many exciting Internship Abroad Programs
  • How do I get involved with research?
  • UC Davis offers a variety of undergraduate research opportunities. To find a research opportunity, we recommend that you check out Handshake, visit the Undergraduate Research Center and develop professional relationships with professors/researchers that can offer valuable knowledge, guidance, references and letters of recommendations for your future career positions.

    There are other programs available to students interested in research including Mentorships for Undergraduate Research in Agriculture, Letters and Science (MURALS), McNair Scholars Program, and more.

  • Is Going to Washington D.C. or Sacramento for a quarter for everyone?
  • The Washington Program and the UC Center Sacramento are residential programs that develop leadership skills through internships and coursework. If you desire to be a leader in industry, or want to know more about how leaders govern industries, you should investigate them and consider participating.

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Next Steps – Life After Davis

  • What can I do to start developing my career readiness in my first quarter?
  • There are a variety of things you can do to get a jump-start on career readiness.
  • How can I attend virtual career fairs and employer info sessions? How can I access them?
  • All of our virtual career fairs are held on Handshake. Virtual career fairs give you the opportunity to meet recruiters and other employees through video sessions. First, you'll register for the fair, then you will be prompted to sign up for employer sessions. Don't forget to sign up for the employer sessions!

    Attending video sessions, instead of in-person fairs means there is no waiting in line to talk to recruiters. When you register for a virtual career fair, you sign up for specific session times—securing your spot to meet with the employers you're interested in. For more information, visit our page on virtual career fairs.

    Employer information sessions are also virtual. Register for sessions through Handshake.

  • What can I do to make sure that I am marketable when I graduate?
  • While this does depend on the field you are going into, there are some general things that can be recommended for all students. Much of what you do during your time at UC Davis helps to build a marketable resume, so being as involved as possible on campus is very useful. The general recommendation is to attend class, join clubs, intern, volunteer, and possibly get a part-time job. Some skills that make you marketable are analytical, organizational, time-management, leadership, and communication. These are all attainable and expressible through campus involvement! Review the full inventory of NACE career competencies (defined career skills published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers). For more career-specific ideas, make an appointment with a career advisor on Handshake.
  • Does ICC also help with recommendation letters? Who are the best people to ask to write your recommendation letters if you're not close with professors?
  • The ICC can review your recommendation letters and provide feedback regarding your formatting during advising sessions. Here is our webpage about creating reference lists. It covers who you should ask to be your reference and how to properly format your list.

    The best people to be your references are those who can attest to your work quality and speak highly of your performance. This could include current or former supervisors, faculty mentors, campus staff or advisers, coaches or anyone in a professional position who can speak about your character, skills and work ethic.

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Student Employment

  • How do I find a position with student employment (part-time on-campus job)?
  • By using Handshake, an online platform where UC Davis students can connect with on- and off-campus employers and search and apply for student employment positions. You can use the filters on Handshake to narrow your search to "on-campus" only, or type "STDT" into the keyword search. There are three types of on-campus positions: STDT 2 – entry-level jobs that require commonly available skills and experience, STDT 3 – positions that require specialized knowledge or independent judgment in performing duties, and STDT 4 – positions that require extensive knowledge or training. As with other jobs, the more knowledge or experience required, the more money students receive.

    You can also find on-campus jobs through ASUCD. ASUCD is one of the largest student employers on the UC Davis campus, and employs over 1000 students in various roles including working for Unitrans, Coffee House, Cal Aggie Newspaper and more.

    In addition, you can connect with your professors and TAs during office hours and ask them about on-campus jobs. Many professors and TAs are involved in research, and through connecting with them, you may find research and lab opportunities that interest you.

  • When should I look for a student employment or part-time job?
  • There are almost always jobs available on campus, and you can apply as soon as you have access to our system shortly after you submit your SIR. You must be enrolled to start working, but in some cases, you can start as early as summer. Typically, fall quarter and beyond is when students start working. Only you know when it's best for you to look, and if you need to work immediately, sooner rather than later is best. Otherwise, we're here whenever you're ready; so come see us and we'll help you find a great job.
  • What's the advantage to working on campus?
  • On-campus jobs are very beneficial to students. Campus employers understand that you are students first, and know that your schedules have to be flexible around classes and exams. In short, they understand student life. Of course, you can find similar experiences off campus, but on-campus employers know student life quite well.
  • I have work-study. What is it, and how does it benefit me?
  • Work-Study is a financial aid award offered by the federal government and/or the state of California. To see if you have this award, review your personalized financial aid notice at MyAwards. At UC Davis, work-study pays 75% of your wages until the amount is extinguished. That means any department that hires you will accrue 75% savings on your work while you still receive your entire paycheck. It significantly increases the probability of you being hired in an on-campus job, and all on-campus jobs can be converted to work-study positions - even if they don't mention it in their descriptions.
  • I want to apply for a work-study job on-campus, but Handshake says I am not eligible even though I am. Can I still apply?
  • To see if you have this award, review your personalized financial aid notice at MyAwards, then print out your certificate. It's good for 30 days. Work-study eligibility is not automatically imported into Handshake for UC Davis students, so checking MyAwards is crucial. It may appear that you do not qualify for certain on-campus student employment opportunities, but you CAN still apply for these positions. When you apply, submit your Work-Study Eligibility Certificate along with your other application materials.

    Eligible students can obtain a Work-Study Eligibility Certificate with a 30-day expiration through MyAwards. Work-Study Eligibility Certificates will become available in mid-June. (Reference:

  • If I decide not to get a job during my first quarter, will there still be a lot of on-campus jobs available during the winter quarter?
  • Yes. Although there are more on-campus opportunities during the fall, there are still opportunities during winter, spring, and summer. The process for applying is the same, so continue to check Handshake when you're ready.

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International Students

  • I am an international student, what advice do you have for me pertaining to my career development?
  • International students seeking part-time jobs on campus, internships or volunteer opportunities off-campus, or a full-time job after graduation, it is essential that you fully understand your eligibility to work in the U.S. prior to your job or internship search. Go to the UC Davis Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) office and make sure you clearly understand the employment restrictions and requirements based on your special visa status. You can go to SISS during open hours or make an advising appointment with an SISS staff member. Attend SISS workshops to stay informed about federal regulations and requirements for CPT (Curricular Practical Training) and OPT (Optional Practical Training).
  • Can I do internships?
  • Yes, though a little more complicated, the short answer is yes! Start with Services for International Students and Scholars, and they'll help you get set up for your experiences both on- and off-campus.
  • Can I work on campus?
  • As a student in F-1 or J-1 status, you may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during school vacation periods. You may work 40 hours per week if summer is your first or last semester of enrollment at UC Davis under certain conditions. Please consult with your SISS International Student Advisor to confirm eligibility. On-campus employment includes any job for which the University of California, Davis will pay you. It might also include work with commercial firms performed on school premises if such work provides a direct service to students (such as the CoHo). Finally, some graduate students may be authorized to work at off-campus locations that are educationally affiliated with the school. This affiliation may be through association with the school's established curriculum, or related to contractually funded research projects at the post-graduate level. Before you accept any such employment, you should check with SISS that it complies with the regulations to be considered on-campus employment. Your on-campus employment must stop once you complete your studies. All J-1 employment must be authorized.

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First-Generation Students

  • I am a first-generation college student, what advice do you have for me pertaining to my career development?
  • Come see us and let us be your guides and mentors. Nobody does anything alone, and our advisors have years of experience that you can learn from and build upon.

    If you're a senior, as a first generation college student you've learned to navigate complex systems, processes, and higher education institutions. These experiences have likely taught you valuable employable skills including being resourceful, resilient, and solving problems. As you approach your job search and career development, consider how to most effectively incorporate these skills and experiences into your application materials and interviews. Ask us for advice on any topic. We know employers, and we know what they seek. We also know students and what they have to offer, so, utilize us as resources. Also consider reaching out to other staff, faculty, alumni, and prospective employers who identify as a first generation college graduates. They'll often impart their words of wisdom and offer support.

    If you're a first, second, or third-year student, come see us. We'll guide you along your path and make sure you're doing everything to graduate career-ready.

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What to do when I don't know what to do...

  • What can I do with my major?
  • The possibilities are practically endless. It is a common misconception that you must go into the field of your major. However, if you are looking for ideas that are related to your major, the ICC recommends visiting the "What Can I Do with My Major or Degree" page and making use of information on individual majors through our "Majors Data" page. These sites provide extensive lists of potential field concentrations, employers, and strategies for application, and well as useful placement data.

    The ICC itself is a great resource for this. Making an appointment with a career advisor through Handshake will allow you to speak one-on-one with an experienced career advisor that specializes in your career field.

  • What if I don't know which major to choose yet?
  • There are excellent assessments that can point you in the right direction, and you can access them once you have enrolled. Come talk to us and we'll help you figure out which ones are best for you. Some assessments help you figure out majors, some help you figure out jobs, and some even help you figure out yourself.

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