Academic Affairs

CSU Off-Campus Academic Activities - Frequently Asked Questions

This collection of frequently asked questions (FAQ) provides brief answers to commonly asked questions pertaining to CSU off-campus academic activities. The FAQs are designed to be continually updated.

Submission of new questions and responses are welcomed and encouraged. New questions and/or answers should be sent to:


Q: What was the impetus for Executive Order 1062 - Field Trip Policy and Procedures and Executive Order 1064 - Internships?

A: Both Executive Order 1062 - Field Trip Policy and Procedures and Executive Order 1064 – Internships resulted directly from recommendations put forth in the Off-Campus Activities Systemwide Audit (09-54). Previously there was no field trip or internship policy in existence. Auditors required that a policy at the system level be established. The timeline for releasing both policies was based on the requirements set forth in the audit.

Q: Is there a timeline for implementation of Executive Orders 1062 and 1064?

A: While both executive orders do not contain explicit deadlines for compliance, campuses are strongly encouraged to promptly assess current campus policies and procedures regarding both field trips and student internships to ensure compliance moving forward and well in-place for when auditors return. Campuses are to use this as an opportunity to:

  1. Review existing policies regarding field trips and internships;
  2. Determine what adjustments need to be made to bring campus policies in line with EO 1062 and EO 1064;
  3. Make the necessary policy changes; and
  4. Implement the revised policies.

Q: Is there an expectation that the written agreement between the campus and the hosting agency contains insurance requirements and indemnification language?

A: Yes. At a minimum there should be indemnification language in the agreement and in most circumstances this would be supplemented by insurance requirements. The indemnification language is the "promise" of indemnifying and the insurance provides some assurance the indemnifier can follow-through on the "promise."

Q: It is my understanding that SAFECLIP and/or SPLIP will apply for any student placement with a community agency/business provided the placement is for academic credit and there is a written agreement in place. Is this accurate?

A: A learning site would only be afforded coverage to whom the University is obligated by written agreement to provide such coverage as is afforded by these policies.

Students enrolled in Nursing, Allied Health, Social Work, or Education credential programs of the CSU who also perform community service or volunteer work for academic credit are covered by the Student Professional Liability Insurance Program (SPLIP).

Other CSU students performing community service or volunteer work for academic credit and students enrolled in radio, television or film academic programs of the CSU are separately covered by the Student Academic Field Experience for Credit Liability Insurance Program (SAFECLIP). See EOs 1012 and 986.

Q: Service learning is included in Section II Terms and Conditions of Executive Order 1064: "It [Internships] is an off-campus activity designed to serve educational purposes by offering experience in a service learning1, business, non-profit, or government setting." Does this mean service-learning is an internship?

1See "Managing Risk in Service Learning"

A: No, service learning is not an internship. The Center for Community Engagement in the Chancellor’s Office defines service learning as:

"A teaching method that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful and planned service experiences in the community that are substantially related to course content. Through reflective activities, students enhance their understanding of course content, general knowledge, sense of civic responsibility, self-awareness and commitment to the community." 2011 CSU Resource Guide for Managing Risk in Service Learning (page 4)

The resource guide provides forms and templates that outline recommended standards for campuses to follow. These guidelines have been designed so that there is a consistent approach within the CSU regarding several key risk management components. The standards outlined below meet the standards found in EO 1064; therefore, for this purpose service-learning was included in section III of the EO.

  • Develop a Risk Assessment Plan
  • Pre-placement Risk Assessment (this may or may not include
  • Service Learning Agreement
  • Student Orientation
  • Learning Plan

While some of the information in the resource guide will apply to other types of experiential education programs, such as internships, it is not intended to cover the intricacies that exist in each of the different types of experiential education; however, it may serve as a valuable resource to other experiential education programs. Campuses are encouraged to have a conversation with their campus risk manager and contracts and procurement officer about whether certain recommendations for service learning in the resource guide can accommodate the recommended standards for internships outlined in EO 1064.

Q: So, what exactly are service-learning internships? Does this fall under the category of service learning or internships?

A: To muddy the waters a bit, service-learning internships are beginning to crop up on many CSU campuses, particularly within the STEM disciplines. This type of experiential education program would fall under the category of internship which may or may not be tied to a course. With these types of placements, students may receive financial compensation while working with a non-profit or government agency; therefore, EO 1064 would apply to this type of off-campus activity.

By contrast, a service-learning course as defined by the CSU Center for Community Engagement is, "an academic course (in any discipline) that provides students opportunities to participate in organized service activities that meet community needs while linking the community service experience to the course content." In a service-learning course, students do not receive financial compensation and the service-learning placement is a critical component of the course material, but does not embody the entirety of the course. In a service-learning internship, students may receive financial compensation and the vast majority of the course time is focused on the community placement and resulting projects.

Campus Example

At CSU San Bernardino, service-learning internships are tied to a specific course. For example, chemistry students take CHEM 575 Internship, and they complete the vast majority of course requirements (typically represented by a specific number of hours per credit awarded) at the nonprofit service learning placement site. A final reflective paper is often the only non-placement based work that is required of the student. Students who meet financial eligibility requirements receive a student support payment at the end of the internship experience.


Q: If a CSU campus has several facilities (e.g., marine lab, museum, etc.) that are nearby, but not attached to the main campus and students visit for a class assignment, would these campus-owned, off-site facilities be considered field trips?

A: No, going to these facilities would not be considered field trips because they are campus property and therefore subject to the same rules, responsibilities, and procedures as on-campus facilities.

Q: There is a provision in Executive Order 1062 - Field Trip Policy and Procedures - that states we must "Provide for an alternate assignment for students unwilling to accept the risk of participation." What about cases where the field trip is a requirement for the degree?

A: In a major where the field trip is a part of the degree requirements you may treat this as applying to the specific field trip but not the degree requirement. In practice this means that a student may opt out of a field trip to one site, but the student should know that they must complete the requirement by participating in another field trip(s) either at another site or another time.


Q: Do paid internships fall under EO 1064?

A: If a student is getting academic credit for an internship and/or it is required for the major, then EO 1064 applies regardless of whether it is paid or unpaid. EO 1064 does not apply if the following is true: a student gets a paid or unpaid internship AND the university has no knowledge of that internship, AND the student is not receiving academic credit. In that case, this would just be considered a job, even if the job is classified as an internship position.

Q: Does the internship policy apply to social work, nursing, counseling, physical therapy, or occupational therapy and education under the purview of "clinical placements" as referenced in Executive Order 1064, Section III, Terms and Definitions?

A: The provisions outlined in EO 1064 do not include teacher preparation placements or clinical placements such as those for social work, nursing, counseling, physical therapy, or occupational therapy. These placements are under the purview of the Student Professional Liability Insurance Program (SPLIP) which provides general and professional liability coverage as well as educator’s errors & omissions liability coverage for students enrolled in nursing, allied health, social work or education credential programs of the CSU who also perform community service or volunteer work for academic credit. See: Description Appendix

Q: Does the internship policy apply if a student coordinates their own external placement independent of their degree program?

A: If a student, as part of a University degree program, enters into an internship for unit and degree credit, then the internship would fall under the purview of the University and therefore must comply with EO 1064 policy. However, if the placement is independent from any degree program and not for unit and degree credit, the campus may utilize their discretion to determine procedures and protocols given the guidelines of the executive orders to ensure overall campus compliance.

Q: Does Internship EO 1064 apply hand-in-glove with Service Learning?

A: This question can best be addressed in reviewing the definition in the EO:

III. Terms and Definitions

An internship formally integrates the student’s academic study with practical experience in a cooperating organization. It is an off-campus activity designed to serve educational purposes by offering experience in a service learning1, business, non-profit, or government setting. For the purpose of this executive order "internship" does not include teacher preparation placements or clinical placements such as for nursing, counseling, physical therapy or occupational therapy. An internship site is the organization at which the internship takes place.

1See "Managing Risk in Service Learning" for additional guidance.

The reason for the footnote is to draw one to the Managing Risk In Service Learning Resource Guide, thus having a reference to the similarities and differences of the two placements. Had there been a desire to make both the same, there would have been no need for a footnote. This is further supported by the fact that the Resource Guide met muster with Systemwide Audit and thus so long as a campus’ service learning guidelines, policies and practices address the items in the Resource Guide, they are good to go. There was no intent to have the two guidelines, etc. be the same. S imilar yes.

Q: If individual departments coordinate off-campus activities independently of a campuswide internship office, are individual department procedures held to provisions of EO 1062 and EO 1064?

A: All campus offices participating in any student internship placement or field trip activity must be in compliance with the policies and procedures as outlined in EO 1062 and 1064. It is at the campuses’ discretion to determine how the campus implements, monitors, and reports their off-campus activities.

Q: Do internships where students participate independently of their degree program for career experience and not used for any degree requirements or unit credit fall under the purview of EO 1064?

A: Internships independent from degree program and/or graduation requirements, where a student may participate in an internship or work study program on his/her own, are not held to the provisions outlined in EO 1064.

Q: Regarding item D bullet 2 of EO 1064 – "the student must complete a liability waiver form if the internship placement is not required as part of the student's academic program" –– if the placement is not a part of the student's program, it is highly likely that 'the University' will not know of the placement, which would make having the student complete the waiver form problematic at best. To what extent is the University required to try to determine if a student has such an internship placement?

A: There may be occasions where the University provides resources or assistance in placing students in an internship, though it may not be an academic requirement. In this and similar instances, the University needs to obtain the liability waiver. It is understood that on those occasions where a student independently arranges for an internship, that University personnel would not be able to obtain a liability waiver.

Q: Would an internship required as a pre-requisite for a required major course(s), though the internship itself not explicitly designated as a degree program requirement, fall under the purview of EO 1064?

A: Since the internship is required as a pre-requisite to a required course within the degree program, then the campus would have to comply with the provisions of EO 1064 as it relates to the pre-requisite internship.

Q: Is there a separate policy that covers on-campus internships? For example, students who are Environmental Studies or Geography majors who choose to do an internship in the geography department on-campus working in an on-campus recycling center, while others go off-campus to similar facilities, would the University only need a policy that addresses those going off-campus?

A: The minimum policy requirements offer good practices that should be adhered to regardless of the internship’s location.

Back to Off-Campus Academic Activities