How to Embed Internships and Programmes in the University Curriculum

How to Embed Internships and Programmes in the University Curriculum


Pagoda Projects works with universities worldwide to deliver work-integrated learning programmes as part of university courses, summer placements and extra-curricular activities. But when it comes to embedding programmes in the university curriculum, one size doesn’t fit all. In this article, we show the different ways our programmes are embedded into curricula by our partners.

Embedding Internships

Pagoda Projects offers internships, both in person and online. 

Our in-person programmes offer:

  • eight to twelve week-long internships, 
  • a full working week (typically 40 hours over five days), 
  • four certificated online skills courses (eight to ten hours each of online activity),
  • optional weekly organised dinners, trips and networking events to develop cultural competency and social capital. 

Our online programmes offer:

  • six to twelve week-long internships (typically eight weeks), 
  • online work for up to 40 hours a week (typically 30 hours), 
  • four certificated online skills courses as for in-person internships, 
  • cultural competence development through weekly discussions with a cultural mentor,
  • optional live online events and networking opportunities.

Our internships can provide the inspiration for a 20-credit work-based project as they do on multiple programmes for the School of Business at the University of Dundee. The MSc Management suite of programmes is a case in point: see Teaching and Assessment – Management MSc.

CASE STUDY: University Of Dundee - School Of Business Internships

What did students do on their internships?

In Summer 2022, 165 students studying masters programmes at the University of Dundee School of Business completed internships across multiple business-related disciplines connected to the 20-credit work-based project. 30% were in person in Berlin, Chengdu, Lisbon, Madrid, Manchester and Mexico City and the remainder were online with companies across the world.

What did students think of their internship experience?

159 students fed back on their internships (96%). Here’s what they said:

96% would recommend Pagoda Projects to another person

88% agreed the internship programme had a positive impact on their career readiness

88% agreed the internship programme made them feel more confident about their future after graduation

84% agreed the internship programme inspired them to explore more international opportunities in the future

87% agreed the internship programme positively impacted their overall university experience

How did students think the internship programme impacted their competency across 8 skills areas?

 Responses from 156 students

Watch the video to find out more

Another approach is to embed an internship and project within a 40 or 60-credit module, offered as an alternative to a traditional dissertation. This is done by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), which has embedded a 60-credit work-based project in its MA International Relations programme. 

Exciting developments based around Pagoda internships are possible across most disciplines in a 40/60 credit format. The University of Dundee has developed a similar approach with a 60-credit module in its postgraduate engineering programme: Engineering Project and Report (Industrial Placement).

Or perhaps you are looking to develop a Level 7 standalone module, incorporating an internship and work-based project in the summer after the completion of an undergraduate programme. With careful design of the module’s aims, content and learning outcomes, the standalone module can be recognised as prior certified learning by multiple masters programmes at your university and provide a highly effective bridge to those programmes and to higher level graduate outcomes.

Embedding Sustainable Global Experience (SGE)

Many HE providers are developing sustainability strategies and seeking to mainstream sustainability and carbon literacy across their provision. Students are increasingly expecting their institutions to provide this training for them. In the Students Organising for Sustainability Survey 2021-22, from 8,500 university and college students online in October and November 2021, 79% wanted to see sustainable development actively incorporated and promoted through all courses. 

Sustainable Global Experience (SGE) is a carbon-conscious programme designed to boost students’ employability and intercultural fluency. Students complete online learning, Carbon Literacy Training and a one-week sustainable field trip, visiting public and private sector organisations to showcase sustainability in action. The field trip culminates with a Sustainable Development business-focused group project. Watch the video from our Cardiff University cohort in Summer 2022. A full PDF summary of the programme and outcomes for our University of Liverpool cohort can be found here.

Our bite-sized Sustainable Global Experience programme can be embedded as a micro-credential, 15 or 20-credit module, for example, focusing on the UN SDGs or environmental sustainability and climate change. You might want to add to the Pagoda SGE, subject-related lectures and seminars provided by your university and introduce assessments to incorporate this via academic essay/project alongside assessment of our existing skills-based activity; group presentations, the Carbon Literacy Project training and our four skills courses. Pagoda has devised model 15-credit modules for partners to consider in their education for sustainability curriculum development. If you’d like to know more about this, contact us.

We welcome the opportunity to partner with you on programme design, sharing our expertise, ideas and resources with your own. Combining our certified Carbon Literacy Training, sustainable field trips and employability skills with your academic expertise will prepare students for a world of work where sustainability education is increasingly essential.

Embedding Custom Programmes and Experiences

Each year, through partnerships with universities and government organisations, we design custom programmes and global experiences, both in person and online. Some of which are embedded in the curriculum and fully credit-bearing. Examples of this include:

RMIT TCHE2589 Cross-Cultural Teaching and Learning (12 Australian credits).

Want to discuss your ideas with Pagoda?

Whether you’re looking to diversify your portfolio of work-integrated learning opportunities, widen participation for underrepresented student groups, or build internships into your existing programmes, we can help. Get in touch today.

Written by Professor Abigail Gregory, Director of Academic Strategy