Banner Undergraduate Career Division of Undergraduate Education

Credit-bearing Internships

The employer specifies whether the student must register for academic credit or whether the student may choose to register.

  • An academic internship implies that you will be seeking credit for the experience. This means you will be completing a Learning Contract, obtaining a faculty sponsor and department approval, enrolling in a UK course and receiving a grade on your transcript. This option is recommended for most students. An academic internship may be paid or unpaid.
  • A non-credit internship implies that you will be working for the benefit of experience gained, but not for any type of academic recognition. This option may be preferable if you do not need additional credit hours. For-profit employers generally limit non-credit internships to paid positions in order to comply with Department of Labor laws. (International students are not eligible for the non-credit option due to immigration laws.)

Course Options for Academic Credit

To receive academic credit, you may choose to register for EXP 396 offered through Experiential Education and Career Services or, depending on your major, your department may offer a 399 course that might be a better choice. Check with your academic advisor to determine which credit option is the most advantageous for you, based on your degree program, the course requirements you have already fulfilled, and those you still need to fulfill.

The EXP courses have registration holds. The hold will be lifted by your Career Counselor when you turn in your completed Learning Contract, and then you will be able to register. The Learning Contract should be submitted before you start the internship, and the course can be added up until the last day to add a class for the semester.

  • EXP 396 Experiential Education
    • Learning Contract required
    • General elective credit
    • Variable credit hours
    • Pass/Fail (letter grade with departmental permission in some colleges)
  • Departmental 399 Course (such as PS 399, COM 399, PSY 399)
    • Learning Contract required
    • Departmental credit
    • Variable or fixed credit hours
    • Usually Pass/Fail
  • EXP 397 Experiential Fieldwork
    • Only for undergraduates doing a full-time internship and not enrolled in other classes
    • 1 credit hour general elective credit, but grants full-time student status
    • Offered Fall and Spring semesters only
    • Learning Contract required
    • Pass/Fail only

EXP 397 was designed for students who may want to take a semester off from classes in order to participate in a full-time internship program. This credit option may be desirable if you are covered on an insurance policy that requires full-time student status for eligibility or discounts, or if you have student loans that may go into repayment if you are not enrolled in school. In addition, if you are eligible to receive a Pell grant and/or other financial aid you may receive funds based on full-time enrollment, even though you are only charged for one-credit hour of tuition. This may not be the case for all scholarships, so be sure to talk with your Financial Aid Officer to confirm, based on your specific circumstances. Full-time status will also allow you to keep your priority registration privileges.

Be aware that credit limitations vary depending on your college. For instance, the Gatton College of Business and Economics allows students to earn up to three credit hours per semester, and up to six credit hours overall, through internships. The College of Arts and Sciences allows up to six per semester, and twelve overall. The College of Communications allows three credit hours overall, but only counts internship credit earned through the departmental 399 courses to fulfill graduation requirements (and there are prerequisites before students may enroll in those courses). Check with your academic advisor and the career counselor assigned to your college, so you can make informed choices.

Tuition is charged for credit earned through internship courses the same as it would be for other courses.

International students must receive academic credit for internships. 

Credit Hours = Work Hours

The number of credit hours you can earn from an internship is related to the number of hours worked. Below are the minimum work hours required to earn the credit hours specified. If the internship is paid, you may choose to work more than the minimum hours.  

1 credit = 48 total work hours
2 credits = 96 total work hours
3 credits = 144 total work hours

Divide the total number of work hours by the number of weeks you will be working to find how many hours you will need to work each week.

Receiving Academic Credit—Step by Step

Once you have an offer . . .

  • Ask a professor to work with you as your faculty sponsor
    • Must have faculty status (Staff can qualify if they have taught a class at UK).
    • Meets with you for discussion throughout the semester and is your accountability partner during your experience
    • Co-creates the assignments with the student to help the student meet their EXP goals
    • Determines your grade and submits it to Experiential Education and Career Services
  • Complete a Learning Contract and submit it to Stuckert Career Center, Experiential Education and Career Services, before you begin your internship
    • Learning Contract must be typed (download a blank form or view a completed Learning Contract - see attachments below)
    • Will need job description and number of hours you will be working per week
    • Set learning objectives
    • Work with faculty sponsor to determine assignments and meeting times.
    • Obtain approval signatures
  • Submit completed Learning Contract to Career Counselor for final signature either at the Career Center Front Desk or via e-mail
  • Register for the appropriate course (see course options)
  • Complete the evaluation sent to you at the end of the term by Experiential Education and Career Services

Learning Contract

You must complete a Learning Contract if you would like to receive academic credit for your internship. The Learning Contract serves as the syllabus for the internship course; it is not an employment contract, although the employer will receive a copy. The Learning Contact must be typed.

When completing the Learning Contract, you will need to know the internship site address and contact information as well as starting/ending dates and a job description. You will need to have identified a faculty sponsor so that you can discuss learning objectives and assignments. Be aware that the employer does not need to sign the Learning Contract.

Enrollement for Summer and Fall 2017 is OPEN!  Questions? Contact