Western Kentucky University

Academic Credit for Internships

Many employers who are unable to provide pay to an intern/co-op student, require the student be enrolled in a course and receive credit for the experience as a way of ensuring you as a student are held responsible for the work assignment and job responsibilities. Being enrolled for class credit for the co-op/internship experience also means you have access to a WKU faculty or staff members to provide support and guidance as you begin to put your classroom knowledge "on the job", or learn new skills "on the job".  If you are not sure if you can receive class/course  credit, or even if a course is offered, check the online course catalogue or with your academic advisor or come see one of us in the Career Center.  Sometimes credit is offered either in your major or minor.  Make sure you understand the course expectations and you have a clear understanding of what it is you want to learn. 

If an internship/co-op/ course is offered and you have completed courses required prior to enrolling in an internship/co-op, (many internship/co-op courses require you take certain courses before you can enroll in an internship/co-op course), then you should contact your academic advisor to find out how to enroll in the course. .

There are times when you can gain relevant work experience without receiving academic credit.  In order for your transcript to show you were involved in an internship/co-op, it will be necessary for you to enroll in a course offering credit.   The exception to this is Co-op 200 (offered via Blackboard through Career Services), which will be discussed later.  While it doesn't have any credit attached to it your transcript will show you were enrolled.  We highly encourage you to seek credit  and work closely with your WKU course instructor while you're working in an internship/co-op position. If you do really well, perhaps your instructor might be willing to serve as a reference for you when that time comes.

If your academic department does not offer internship/co-op credit, the IDST 369 course (credit attached)  may be an option or the Co-op 200 course (non-credit/non-graded). 

IDST 369 Course

IDST (Interdisciplinary Studies) 369 is a course taught by instructors in our office.  You could receive 1-3 hours of course credit for your internship experience. It is taught through BlackBoard.

CO-OP 200 Course (Non-credit/Non-graded)

If you are interested in participating in a co-op or internship and are unable to receive credit in your major, come see us.  We offer a non-credit/non-graded online course, CO-OP 200.  Like the IDST 369 course, it is taught by instructors in our office through Blackboard, It allows students involved in a co-op/internship assignment to remain enrolled at WKU and be considered a full-time student.  Before you can enroll, a course pass is required and there are course assignments. Anyone wishing to enroll in this course must have at least an overall grade point average of 2.0.  This course helps students who will be involved in a co-op/internship experience and cannot receive credit through the major. You are probably wondering what are some of the benefits of enrolling in CO-OP 200 especially if I am not going to receive credit? 

  • As previously mentioned, your transcript will reflect you were enrolled in Co-op 200.
  • At your request, your counselor can obtain a letter from the Registrar's Office, which states that students on full time internship or co-op experiences are considered full-time students at WKU.
  • This full-time letter is accepted by most scholarship and insurance organizations as proof that you are considered to be a full time student while on your co-op or internship. Health insurance and student car insurance discount rates are maintained.  Scholarships are usually delayed and student insurance rates maintained.
    • Exception: This status is not accepted by Financial Aid for loans.  We strongly encourage you to talk with Student Financial Assistance about your individual situation.  (270) 745-2755.  Or, stop in and speak with one of their financial aid counselors for more information.  Potter Hall 317. 

Whether or not you are able to obtain academic credit for the work performed, it is still important that you, as a student, gain some "relevant work experience." The more career-related work experience you can obtain, the more advantage you have over those who did not gain any career-related work experience while attending WKU. For additional information, feel free to stop by the Career Center  located in Downing University Center 2001 to discuss the course requirements and get clearance to register for this course. Co-op 200.  It 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.

Internship/Co-op Packet of Forms

Whether enrolled in IDST 369, Co-op 200, a co-op or internship course within your academic major, or not enrolled in a course to receive credit for your co-op/internship, we will ask you to complete certain forms that will help guide your experience, increase the opportunity for learning on the job, and will help validate and verify the experience/skills obtained while participating in a co-op/internship. Generally, you will be asked to complete a 1-2 page Learning Plan, 1 page Data Report inwhich you provide us feedback and a 1-2 page Work Report Narrative.  Your employer/supervisor will be asked to complete a 2 page Evaluation of your work at the end of the work period. For IDST 369 there are additional course requirements.  For more information on this course stop by or call us.  These completed forms can become part of your portfolio to show other potential employers as you begin your career after graduation.

 Last Modified 2/11/14