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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 Opportunities

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.