Sports Medicine Internship Program
1st and 2nd Quarter Observation Period
3rd Quarter Probationary Period
Professional Phase-Quarters 4-9
NATA Certification

Participation in the UCLA Undergraduate Sports Medicine Internship Program is a rewarding and educational experience. As a participant of the program, the intern receives the opportunity to work and travel with national caliber athletic teams and coaches. Under supervision, the intern will learn to recognize, evaluate and treat a variety of athletic injuries, as well as design and apply rehabilitation concepts. The intern will acquire skills and knowledge valuable to all health care fields. As with any internship, self-motivation, dedication, and initiative play a key role in the intern's success.

After completing the internship program our students pursue post-graduate education in athletic training, medicine, physical therapy and other allied health fields. Typically, our students major in physiological science, biology, or psychology.

Once a student has completed the first year at UCLA, they can apply to the Sports Medicine Internship Program. Applications for the fall quarter must be received by June of the previous school year. The application requires two letters of recommendation and a written essay. The Sports Medicine Internship Program requires a three-year commitment and only accepts students in the fall.

The prerequisites for the program include:

  • Must be a full-time UCLA undergraduate student with no less than three years remaining until graduation
  • Show proof of current CPR/AED/First Aid Certifications
  • 2.5 or Higher Cumulative GPA (must submit transcript or DPR)
  • Completion of an Anatomy Course by the 1st Quarter of the 2nd Year in the Program

Timeline of Program

Observation Period- First and Second Quarter

The Observation Period is a learning experience for the intern and is part of the acceptance process. The student is required to work a minimum of 6-10 hours per week in the Acosta Athletic Training Room. These hours will consist of various experiences including learning basic athletic training skills, knowledge of the use of therapeutic modalities, first aid and emergency procedures, and daily Athletic Training Room operations. In order to be accepted into the program, the student will be evaluated on 1) grade point average, 2) competency and skill acquisition, 3) interview, and 4) staff evaluation. This phase of the program has a two-fold purpose. It allows the potential intern to participate and observe if the program suits their career objectives, and gives the Sports Medicine Staff the opportunity to evaluate the students.

Third Quarter-Probationary Period

Once admitted to the program, the "probationary period" begins. The intern will be evaluated each quarter and performance and goals will be discussed. A 2.5 GPA must be maintained at all times during the course of the internship. If unable to meet criteria, the intern will be placed on one quarter of probation. Failure to progress in the problem area may be means for dismissal from the program.

The time commitment during this quarter will consist of approximately 10 to 15 hours per week. Students will rotate through a variety of experiences and acquire new skills through demonstration and practice. The intern will be expected to function and meet certain responsibilities. At the end of the quarter, the Director will evaluate the probationary interns for advancement into the next phase of the program.

Professional Phase-Quarters 4-9

The seven remaining quarters of the program function to expose the intern to as many clinical and educational experiences as possible in order to meet the challenges of their career goals. Each intern is assigned to work with a UCLA athletic team and assist the certified athletic trainers and team physicians in providing healthcare to the student-athletes. The time commitment during this portion is 15-25 hours per week. Interns in the second and third year of the program will receive a monetary stipend.

Benefits of the Sports Medicine Internship Program:

  • Professional Networking. Work side by side with doctors, orthopedic surgeons, certified athletic trainers, physical therapists, dietitians, podiatrists, and other allied health professionals.
  • Sports Medicine Classes. Expand sports medicine knowledge through two required UCLA Extension classes.
  • Educational Inservices. Monthly sessions offer more educational experiences. Topics vary to cover professional development and skill enhancement.
  • Travel. Advanced students will travel with UCLA's intercollegiate athletic teams

Summary of Internship Timeline
Application to Program:
Deadline June 8th, Orientation During Fall Zero Week

1st Year:
Fall - 1st Observational Quarter
Competency Workshops

Winter - 2nd Observational Quarter
Competency Workshops
Interview During 8th Week to Determine Acceptance into SMIP

Spring - Complete UCLA Extension 10-Week Intro to Sports Medicine Course
Competency Workshops

2nd Year:
Fall - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment
Formal Peer Presentation at Monthly Inservice

Winter - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment
Complete UCLA Extension 10-Week Advanced Sports Medicine Course

Spring - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment

3rd Year:
Fall - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment

Winter - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment

Spring - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment
3rd Year Case Study Based on Surgical Observation and Formal Peer Presentation

NATA Certification Requirements

Due to the change in the NATA requirements, one must graduate from an accredited CAAHEP curriculum program in order to be eligible to take the National Athletic Training Certification Exam. The UCLA internship is NOT an accredited program, so career planning is essential. For more information on colleges and universities with accredited undergraduate and graduate programs, please go to

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Who should I ask to write the letters of recommendation for the application?
    • The letters of recommendation should come a professional source, i.e. professor, high school teacher, former coach, employer. Letters should not be written by family members or someone with who you have a social relationship.
  • Can I apply if I am not currently enrolled at UCLA?
    • No. We only accept UCLA undergraduate students.
  • Can I apply if I am a senior in high school and have been accepted into UCLA?
    • No. You must apply during the end of your 1st year at UCLA.
  • Can I just be in the program for one or two years?
    • No. We invest time and money educating the student interns in order to provide a high level of care to the student-athletes. We do not accept student interns who cannot commit to three years in the program.
  • Can I submit my CPR/AED/First Aid certification from an online course?
    • No. The class must be taken in person and the certification needs to be through American Red Cross or American Heart Association.
  • What are the GPA requirements and how much weight does this hold in my acceptance?
    • Students who apply to the program MUST have at least a 2.5 GPA. If you struggle academically, the added time requirements of the SMIP program will likely create greater academic strain. A higher GPA does have greater weight in the acceptance process.
  • What is the acceptance rate?
    • We generally accept 20-25 students for each class in the fall. The number of applicants has varied year to year.
  • Can I apply for the program if I am a sophomore and am considering staying for a fifth year?
    • No. You must apply during the end of your 1st year at UCLA. The total commitment for the program is three years.
  • Do I need to submit a hard copy of the recommendation letter?
    • A PDF signed copy of the recommendation letter via email is acceptable.
  • Do I need to have sports medicine experience in order to apply?
    • No. We have students with a variety of backgrounds. The majority of our students are Physiological Science or Biology majors, however this does not have a significant impact in the application process. We are looking for individuals with an interest in sports medicine and healthcare.
  • Is it possible to maintain an outside job and be a part of the SMIP program?
    • There is a significant time commitment with the SMIP program. Individuals have been able to perform lab hours and maintain outside jobs, however it can prove to be very difficult. Flexibility in your outside job is a necessity, as SMIP time commitments come first.


Applications can be obtained at the Acosta Athletic Training Room (located across from Pauley Pavilion) or by clicking the link below for a PDF copy.

SMIP Application Get Acrobat Reader

Applications for the Fall are due by June 8. As a reminder, unofficial transcripts will be accepted with your application. Notification for admittance into the program will be sent in late-July.

An orientation will be held during zero week in the fall. All qualified applicants should plan on attending. Notice of time and date will be sent in early September.

Any questions should be directed to:
Tandi Hawkey
JD Morgan Center
PO Box 24044, Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 825-4880

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