Service Learning and Internships

Faculty teaching courses in which students are asked to participate in placements with community organizations for academic credit must ensure a written placement agreement exists between the university and the host organization before students may be placed. Placements include, but are not limited to, service learning, course related volunteering, observation activities, internships, practicums, clinical experiences and student teaching.

Establish an Agreement

The California State University (CSU) has established a resource guide, “Managing Risk in Service Learning,” for use in establishing service learning partnerships. College associate deans should be a first point of contact in executing a service learning agreement; however, agreements between the university and a host organization may only be signed by SDSU Contract and Procurement Management. For a list of existing service learning agreements and additional information, requirements, and agreement forms see Service Learning Agreements.  

Learning Plan 

The Learning Plan is an important tool for articulating learning and service objectives as well as student participation guidelines, i.e., expected behavior, inherent risks at the learning site, and injury reporting. The Learning Plan should also define the beginning and ending dates of service and include the learning site contact/supervisor.  It is recommended both faculty and student sign the Learning Plan to document understanding of the service learning expectations and participant guidelines.  A copy may also be shared with the learning site contact/supervisor.  In addition to a Release of Liability (Waiver), the Learning Plan helps to reduce liability exposure for both the university and the learning site.  

The CSU has developed a Learning Plan template for use by campus departments. Participation Guidelines may be amended to include information specific to a particular placement, i.e., driving requirements.  

Release of Liability (Waiver)

Students participating in university planned or sponsored off campus activities must sign a Release of Liability (Waiver). Signed waivers must be maintained on file in the department planning or sponsoring the activity for three years.  


The university provides general and professional liability insurance coverage, as applicable, for service learning and internship placements provided there is a written agreement in place between the university and the host organization. For additional information regarding insurance coverage under the SAFECLIP and SPLIP programs see University Insurance Programs.  Professional Liability coverage may also be provided for international service learning experiences, subject to insurance underwriter review. 

The university does not provide medical insurance coverage for students injured during service learning and internship placements.  Refer to Student Injury Reporting for additional information and applicable insurance coverages.