Internship and Experiential Education FAQ's


What is Experiential Education?

A crucial component of a college education and allows students to enhance their personal and professional development through direct career-related experiences and reflection. Experiential Education includes internships, co-ops, fellowships, externships, and volunteer experiences. Experiential Education may be paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time, local, national, or international. These experiences can help students to clarify career goals, gain valuable professional-level experience, strengthen skills, and develop a professional network to positively impact job and graduate school outcomes. 

What is an Internship?

A supervised career-related work experience that allows you to apply classroom learning to real-world situations. Internships may be linked to an academic department or done independently. Internships are usually the length or equivalent of an academic semester or summer and can be part- or full- time, paid or unpaid.

What is Cooperative Education (Co-Ops)?

A structured method of combining classroom-based education with practical work experience. A cooperative education experience, commonly known as a "co-op", provides academic credit for structured job experience. Co-ops alternate semesters of on-campus study with semesters of full-time employment. 

What is a Fellowship?

Short-term opportunities lasting from a few months to several years that focus on the professional development of the fellow. Fellowships are typically sponsored by a specific organization seeking to expand leadership in their field. Fellowship programs can be designed to support a range of activities including graduate study in a specific field, research to advance work on a particular issue, developing a new community-based organization or initiative, training and reflection to support the fellow's growth, opportunities to further explore a particular field of work.  

What is an Externship?

An experiential learning opportunities, similar to internships but generally shorter, provided through partnerships between educational institutions and employers to give students short practical experiences in their field of study. 

What is Job Shadowing?

An activity where you can “shadow,” observe, and follow someone in their potential field while the professional is at work. Usually for a set period of time, shadowing can last anywhere from one hour to a week or longer. It all depends on the program, employer, and industry. 

What is a Volunteer?

Volunteers help nonprofits make an impact on the health and strength of their communities. Most volunteer opportunities are unpaid. Volunteers are given the opportunity to practice skills, learn new techniques, and observe others who may be more adept in a specific role or opportunity. 

What is Service-Learning?

A teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with reflection and instruction to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.  

What are Field Hours?

The number of credit hours you can earn from an internship experience is related to the number of hours worked. Time used to complete training, meetings with UK Sponsors, work on academic assignments required by UK Sponsors, and hours spent on-site with the organization. 

Below are the minimum work field hours required to earn the credit hours specified. If the internship experience 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 field 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.