Western Kentucky University

Frequently Asked Questions about Internships

Q: AT WHAT POINT DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER SHOULD I DO AN INTERNSHIP/CO-OP?

Ideally, you should consider obtaining internship/co-ops anytime after your first semester, freshmen year. Many students participate the year prior to graduation, although you can participate at any point during your college career.

Q: HOW LONG DOES AN INTERNSHIP/CO-OP LAST?

The length of an internship/co-op depends on many factors. It can be a short 5-6 week experience, or it can be a lengthier 2 year experience, alternating between school semesters and working full-time. Click here for more info: Internships/Co-ops

Q: WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO DO AN INTERNSHIP?

There is not a "best" time of year – it may depend on the employer's work requirements, your preferences, or may be somewhat pre-determined by academic major course requirements (e.g. if a course is required for graduation and is only offered at certain times during the academic year, it may be impossible to participate in an internship or co-op and take the required class at the same time if the course is only offered on campus). While some students may prefer to (or must) work during the summer, related internship/co-op experiences may be available throughout the school year, and the chances of "landing" a great internship/co-op experience may actually be better during the regular school year rather than summer, as the competition for available positions is usually less during the regular semesters.

Q. HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT OBTAINING COURSE CREDIT?

Come and visit with us in the Center  for Career and Professional Development (located in DSU 2001), your academic advisor or the faculty member listed as teaching the internship co-op course within your academic major for information about course credit.

Q.  WHO CAN ENROLL IN IDST 369 FOR CREDIT?

The IDST 369 is a course offered through your Center for Career and Professional Development which allows students to receive 1-3 hours of course credit for  an internship/co-op experience (1 hr credit for 10-19 hours of work/week (140 hrs. minimum); 2 hrs for 20-29 hrs of work/week (280 hours minimum); 3 hrs for 30 or more hrs work/week (420 hours minimum).

  • Declared IDST major (BIS students) or
  • Other declared major with no option for internship credit or
  • Other declared major and student has exhausted internship credits within major or
  • Other declared major and student has not met pre-requisites for course enrollment within their major.  This is available to juniors and seniors through Blackboard.  For more information stop in and see us. 

Q: I CAN'T GET COURSE CREDIT THROUGH MY MAJOR, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If course credit is not an option, the Center for Career and Professional Development offers a non-credit, non-graded Co-op 200 course, which allows a student to maintain his/her full-time status while participating in a an internship, co-op, practicum or curricular practical training.  While this section has been heavily focused on co-op/internships, practicums and curricular practical training (CPT for international students) are relevant work experiences as well.  For CPT related work experience, it is important you meet with your academic advisor in International Student and Scholar Services in advance of coming by the Center for Career and Professional Development.  Additional information which includes ISSS' website is listed below.  Co-op 200 is billed as a 1- hour (non-credit/non-graded) course. If you have questions about student billing or fees, please contact the Office of Billings and Receivables. Phone 270.745.6381 or 270.745.5370 or email: billings.receivables@wku.edu.

Q: I HAVE AN INTERNSHIP/CO-OP OFFER, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

Stop by our office to obtain the co-op/internship paperwork packet (required). If getting course credit you'll also need to meet with your academic advisor or faculty member to get enrolled in the course and learn about course requirements.

Q: WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR INTERNSHIP/CO-OPS?

To participate in an internship/co-op, students should be pursuing a degree, be enrolled on a full-time basis, have met any prerequisites, and be in good academic standing at WKU.

Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO BE PAID FOR MY INTERNSHIP/CO-OP?

Internships/co-ops may be paid or unpaid, but when paid, may pay anything from a token amount or stipend, to a substantial salary. Internship/co-op work schedules may involve working on a part-time or full-time basis. While many full-time, professional positions often require a person have experience when starting out, internship and co-op positions help you gain that critical experience and often, but not always, can lead to a full-time job offer at the end of the experience or after graduation.

Even if an internship/co-op is unpaid, gaining that "real world" work experience can be quite beneficial. If you are designing your own internship/co-op, consider that an employer may ask you to volunteer your services initially. Be realistic in seeking an internship/co-op and know the expectations of an employer prior to accepting a position. We hope students are able to obtain internships/co-ops that result in paid experiences, but we also realize that some organizations aren't able to provide a salary to interns/co-ops, but would gladly provide experience and skill-building that may lead to paying positions.

If you are a permanent Kentucky resident, you might be eligible for the KHEAA Work-Study Program (KWSP). The program reimburses Kentucky employers who hire KWSP eligible students, up to $2 per hour for student wages earned. If you are eligible for KWSP, you can present this program to a potential employer as another benefit if they hire you as an intern/co-op with their organization.  To find out more about this program, stop by our office.


Q: I AM AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT, WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES I MUST FOLLOW TO PARTICIPATE IN AN INTERNSHIP/CO-OP?

We work with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and students in adhering to regulations concerning maintaining students' status. For more information, contact ISSS in the Sophia-Downing International Center, 1536 State Street, (270) 745-4857, or review material provided on their website at http://www.wku.edu/isss/employment.htm.

If you have additional questions regarding Internships & Co-ops, please feel free to stop by during our walk-in hours, Monday through Friday (8:00 am to 4:30 pm), (270)-745-3095, DSU 2001, or by email career.services@wku.edu.  We look forward to meeting with you soon!

 Last Modified 4/1/14