Experiential Education Program

The Experiential Education Program is designed to assist in connecting students and employers in developing career-related learning opportunities in internship, cooperative education (co-op), or externship experiences. The classifications sometimes vary depending upon the academic discipline. All positions are carefully supervised, professional-level and structured in which the student sets intentional learning goals and actively reflects on what has been learned.

There are many benefits in providing experiential education opportunities to University of Kentucky students. Whether you are looking to increase profitability and productivity, complete a project, or alleviate personnel shortages, hiring a student may be one of the most cost-effective decisions you will make – but there are more reasons to add students in a professional role to your team. Students are enthusiastic, present fresh ideas, contribute to the success of your organization, and provide a pool of potential employees with experience and training.


At the University of Kentucky, there are two forms of internship opportunities offered to students:

Academic Internships: An academic internship indicates that a student will be seeking credit for a career-related experience. This process includes creating a Learning Contract, obtaining department approval, receiving faculty supervision, submitting a time sheet and receiving an employer evaluation. An academic internship may be either paid or unpaid. Academic internships are typically done on a general elective, Pass/Fail basis with the amount of acceptable credit hours determined by the student’s college or department.

Non-Credit Internships: A non-credit internship implies that a student will be working for the benefit of experience gained, but not for any type of academic recognition. In this case, the employer should consider the intern as they would any other temporary employee. This option may be preferable to a student who does not need additional credit hours. Non-credit internships must be paid in order to comply with U.S. Department of Labor laws. Exceptions made are those internship positions affiliated with non-profit organizations.

How Will Your Internship Program Help Students?
By participating in this mutually-beneficial program, you become part of the educational process, sharing your valuable expertise and teaching students about your profession. Offering experiential learning opportunities helps students:

  • Obtain professional experience in their areas of academic study
  • Create opportunities to work with professionals
  • Learn about their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, values, etc.
  • Develop marketable skills such as professionalism, leadership and problem-solving
  • Build confidence
  • Define career paths
  • Make valuable contacts

How Can You Participate?

  • Develop a job description and determine pay. At least 75% of the student’s duties should be professional-level, non-clerical tasks. The average hourly rate ranges from $10.00 to $16.00 per hour, depending on the nature of the positon and specific to industry (i.e. engineering and accounting co-op or internships positions often pay more than the highest end of this range.)
  • Post your position in Wildcat CareerLink
  • Receive approval of your posting
  • Interview students and make offers directly to those selected
  • Provide a quality learning experience for the student with consistent guidance and supervision

If the student is enrolled for credit, sign the student’s completed time sheet and complete the final evaluation form provided by the Career Center. If you would like to recognize your intern for outstanding work, nominate your student for the James W. Stuckert Intern of the Year Award.

Other Experiential Education Opportunities

UK Alumni Career Network
The UK Alumni Career Network, a cooperative program between the UK Alumni Association and the Career Center, offers UK alumni, employers, and friends of the University the opportunity to provide career information and guidance to UK students. The level of involvement is up to you. Options include telephone or email communication with students seeking information about your profession, one-time informational interviews, hosting students at your workplace for shadowing and site visits, or engaging in mentoring relationships.

Informational Interviews - Conversations with students (in person, over the phone, or via email) to share in-depth information about a specific career field or company.

Shadowing - Offers students the opportunity to spend a set period of time (usually between a half day and a full day) with you or professionals in your organization to observe your work.

Mentoring - An ongoing communication (in person, over the phone, or via email) with students for the purpose of offering career development and job search assistance.

By participating in the program, you will provide valuable advice that will help students make purposeful career choices. Be prepared to provide the following information to students:

  • Describe your career path, the responsibilities that you hold, and any advice that you have about job opportunities in your field
  • Identify relevant skills/experiences for your career field or organization
  • Describe the changes taking place in your industry
  • Share any materials that might lead to a better understanding of your field/organization
  • Suggest ways that the student can gain additional experience or training in your field
  • Suggest other networking opportunities (i.e. professional organizations, conferences, etc.)
  • Give a tour of your workplace

The UK Alumni Career Network is not a job placement service, and students have been instructed not to ask for a job from the participating professionals. If at any time the conduct of a UK student or alumni contacting you through the Network is unacceptable, contact the Stuckert Career Center at (859) 257-2746.

To participate in these opportunities, sign up online at https://uky-csm.symplicity.com/mentors. If you already have a Wildcat CareerLink account with us, just log on to your account. Select the “Account” tab at the top and then the smaller gray tab labeled “UK Alumni Career Network." Once you have completed the information and selected the “submit” button, your profile will be active. Students have the responsilibity to make the first contact with you. If you have any questions about the UK Alumni Career Network, please contact Cindy Edwards at 859.257.1564