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!

The EXP courses have registration holds. The hold will be lifted by the Career Center when you turn in your completed Learning Contract on Handshake. 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, B&E 396/397ENG Co-Op)
    • 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.

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. Undergraduate international students may register for one of the course options above, but international graduate students must be enrolled for graduate-level course credit approved by International Center (Experiential Education and Career Services does not have a graduate-level course option).


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

Up to 12 cr. 

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.

You should talk to your academic advisor to determine how many credits you should take EXP for as every major is different in their requirements for graduation. 


Once you have an internship offer . . .

  • Ask a professor to work with you as your faculty sponsor
    • Must have faculty status 
    • 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 on Experiences in Handshake 
    • Select EXP 396/650 or EXP 397 Full Time Internship under "Experience Type" 
    • Complete form with as much information as you have and this is recommended to be completed with your faculty sponsor.
  • Learning Contract will be reviewed by EXP Coordinator 
    • Your faculty sponsor will get an e-mail to approve your learning contract 
  • EXP Coordinator will enroll you in the appropriate course and section 
    • You will get an e-mail confirming that you have completed the enrollment process. 

During your internship semester, you will receive evaluations to reflect and update your experience as well as submit your accrued hours for your internship at the end of term to verify that you are eligible to earn the credits that you submitted at the beginning of the semester. 

Questions? Contact or call 859.257.2746 press #2.