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What is an Internship or Co-op?

What is an Internship or Co-op?
Earn Credit For Your Internship On-Campus Internships Off-Campus Opportunities
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General Definition of an Internship

Internships are work/learning experiences that provide a hands-on way for students to confirm choice of major and/or career in a way that is more substantial than a part-time job. They may be linked to an academic department and/or done for academic credit. An internship lasts between two-four months, and may be part-time or full-time. Some are paid while others are not.

Credit and Compensation are not synonymous or interchangeable; Only the University can determine if an internship meets educational objectives for academic credit. Regardless of whether or not the student earns credit, internships are to provide substantial opportunities for mentoring, networking, shadowing, and learning about the career field. A quality internship does not exploit or take advantage of the student.

Credit Internships (Academic)

Academic internships are when a student earns course credit while interning. Specific guidelines and requirements at UConn vary by major. This work/learning arrangement is overseen by a faculty or staff member at the university, in partnership with a designated employee of the selected internship site. The university representative determines whether or not the host site meets academic requirements regarding terms and conditions for assignments, internship tasks, work hours, and compensation. An integral component of the internship experience is the inclusion of learning activities separate from a student’s work tasks. These activities must exist for the sole benefit of the intern, and not for the gain of the company. Examples of learning activities include the opportunity to observe meetings or client appointments, the ability to shadow staff in other departments, and homework-like assignments to be evaluated by members of the professional staff.

Cost to the student: Credit internships during the school year are included in the tuition for the semester for full-time students. Extra tuition and fees are associated for academic internships completed during break. Credits must be earned during the term in which the internship takes place, which means credit may not be acquired past the add/drop date or retroactively.

To discover which academic departments at UConn offer internship courses, search the Earn Credit for Your Internship section on this website.

Non-Credit Internships (Non-Academic)

Non-credit internships are found and completed independently by students to supplement their formal education and to gain practical work experience.

Learning agreements, networking, reflection activities and journals are strongly encouraged to make the experience more meaningful. These internships may or may not be paid, with compensation ranging from salaries, stipends, and hourly payments to travel allowances, housing and food subsidies, or scholarships. Hours are not regulated by the university, so it falls upon the student to make sure the amount of time working is reasonable and relevant. Staff at the CCD can help students ensure the opportunity is legitimate and worthwhile.

NOTE: Unpaid internships in the US are subject to scrutiny by the Department of Labor and the Courts. When participating in an unpaid internship, students are encouraged to ask if the employer is aware of the guidelines in the Fair Labor Standards Act or the 2nd Appeals Court to ensure liability compliance. For additional information regarding these guidelines and how students may be impacted, please contact the Center for Career Development.

On-Campus Internships

On-campus internships allow students to gain practical experience without commuting. These opportunities may be paid, unpaid, for credit, or not for credit. Depending on department policies regarding payment, work-study funds may be used for UConn on-campus internships. Students may participate in on-campus internships by applying to existing, posted positions through HuskyCareerLink and/or JobX (student employment). They may also approach a department on campus to determine if that office or work area is open to having an on-campus intern. To see which departments offer positions throughout the year, search On-Campus Internships; this page will be regularly updated as the CCD learns of additional opportunities.

What is a UConn Co-op? (Cooperative Educational Experience)

UConn Co-ops are paid, full-time working opportunities lasting at least the length of a semester, which occur while a student is still registered at UConn. Although working full-time and not earning credit, participants keep their full-time UConn student status. Official enrollment in the Center for Career Development’s Co-op Program gives students the option to opt out of campus housing and meal plans without penalty, and full tuition is waived in place of a smaller continuing education fee. Co-op program students are eligible to list the Co-op on their official transcript and may take up to 6 credits while participating. For more information regarding specific policies, please contact careercoop@uconn.edu.

Contact

Additional questions about internships and co-ops may be directed to the Center for Career Development at (860) 486-3013 or email internships@uconn.edu for internship related queries. For co-op questions, contact careercoop@uconn.edu.