The internship as a university tool for teaching and learning

A project with a great deal of potential: the foundation Stiftung Mercator is funding universities in Münster, Düsseldorf and Hannover

Almost all students do them. And yet they have little systematic recognition as a format for skills training on university degree courses – we are talking about internships.

A joint project being run by universities in Münster, Düsseldorf and Hannover, with funding from the Stiftung Mercator until the end of 2020, has set itself the goal of developing the internship into a structured tool for teaching and learning. The perspectives of students, teachers and internship providers will be equally considered to develop a model that will be transferable to other universities.

In essence, the aim will be to introduce qualifications from academic studies into practical tasks in a systematic manner, to reflect on this transfer process and then to integrate findings into further studies. The aim is to raise awareness of the relevance of theoretical-scientific study content.

The project will involve intensive dialogue between lecturers, students and employers to establish common interests and define goals, and develop concrete scenarios for achieving them. By clarifying different roles, functions and processes, the internship shall be subject to quality assurance and quality shall be less random than before. The internship will also be experienced as an integral part of the course and no longer, as has often been the case in the past, an unrelated "parallel experience".

In a conference held at the end of the project, models and findings will be presented to the (expert) public.

The project "Making better use of student internships – something to be desired in university education across Germany" is being funded by the Stiftung Mercator.

E-learning unit "My Internship"

Self-learning unit for students on internship search and application, preparation, life as an intern and using the experiences for starting a career.


The project is investigating student internships at universities from different perspectives and addresses three main target groups: students, teachers and employers.  

At the Leibniz University Hannover, the focus is on the students. The goal is to enable students to transfer the theory they have learned in their studies to things that they learn on the internship. In particular, this means reflecting on the experience gained during the internship and relating this to the content of their degree course.

A survey of students at the Leibniz University is being used, among other things, to carry out an evaluation of already competed internships and to identify quality criteria from the point of view of the students. Using this as a basis, offers and general assistance are to be developed (further), e.g. with regard to finding an internship and preparing for it, doing the internship itself and subsequent reflection. Focus is placed, in particular, on the interrelationship between experience gained on the internship and the content of the degree course, and on the planning of the student's professional future, taking the internship into account.

The project is funded by the Stiftung Mercator.