Overview of co-ops and internships
Differences between a co-op and an internship
Reasons to pursue a co-op/internship
Finding a co-op/internship
Co-op Search Strategies Workshops
NKU’s Co-op and Internship Services
Co-op Enrollment Deadline
How to register for co-op credit (REQUIRED READING!)
Additional Information

Overview of co-ops and internships

Co-ops and internships are opportunities that combine learning with work and offer a unique experience for career exploration.  The essential component is that as you are working, you have structure and intentional objectives to learn about a career field.  These positions may be full- or part-time and short- or long-term.  Some employers have formal internship programs while others only offer internships/co-ops on an informal basis.  If you are already working in your field of study, you may be able to turn your current position into a co-op or internship.  Undergraduate and graduate students may pursue co-ops and internships.

Differences between a co-op and an internship

  • A co-op is a paid work experience, related to the student’s major (or minor), with academic credit earned.  The student enters into an agreement among the employer, a specific faculty member in the academic department, and Career Services staff. Co-op credit is initiated through Career Services.
  • An internship is a curricular work experience which may or may not be paid and may or may not be for academic credit.  Internship credit is arranged through the academic departments. NOTE: Not all departments grant internship credit.  

Reasons to pursue a co-op/internship

  • Explore potential careers
  • Learn how to conduct a job search
  • Build work-related skills
  • Experience a “3-month interview” because you and the employer will be evaluating each other for good fit, skills and opportunities, etc.
  • Network with people in your field
  • Become more marketable for your future job search
  • Earn 300-level academic credit, typically, which counts toward your total required hours for graduation

Before you begin your co-op search, you should reflect on:

  • Your interests, strengths, skills, and experiences
  • The skills you hope to gain or refine through a co-op
  • The types of careers that interest you

If you need career advice, such as deciding on a major, Career Services also offers assessments and individual advising appointments to help determine how your particular interests and skills might match skills needed for various careers.

Once you are comfortable with your major and want to begin pursuing your career goals, schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor for assistance with your co-op/internship search.

Finding a co-op/internship

To find out more about our co-op and internship services and the methods of locating an internship, please attend one of the Co-op Search Strategies workshops and seek assistance from a Career Advisor.  It is imperative that you also read the Required Guide associated with your College (links below, under How to register for co-op credit).

Co-op Search Strategies workshops

Fall 2015 dates:

  • Mon., Aug. 24, 5-6 pm, SU 105
  • Tues., Sept. 1, 4:30-5:30 pm, SU 105
  • Mon., Nov. 16, 4-5 pm, SU 105

NKU’s Co-op and Internship Services

  • Norse Recruiting, an online system that includes co-op/internship postings; details on workshops, career fairs, and other events; and an employer directory.  Employers can also use this site to search for qualified students.
  • On-campus interviews for some internship/co-op opportunities – schedule these through Norse Recruiting.
  • Walk-in Hours for a quick, 15-minute resume/cover letter review with a Career Advisor without an appointment. 
  • Individual appointments with a Career Advisor to discuss co-ops and provide help in tailoring your own co-op search plan.
  • Internship and co-op employment resources in the Career Library, located in Career Services.
  • Workshops on job search-related topics such as Interviewing Techniques and Resumes & Cover Letters.
  • Internet Resources with links to dozens of websites related to co-op searches
  • Annual career fairs where you can explore possible co-ops and/or full-time employment.  All students welcome!
  • Check out the Scripps Howard Foundation Internships.

Co-op Enrollment Deadline

The final deadline for earning 1 co-op credit is:
Fall 2015: Friday, November 6*

*IMPORTANT: Only hours worked between your enrollment and the end of the semester can be counted.  If you are working 25 hours/week and wish to earn 3 credits, your deadline is 12 weeks before the end of the semester (300 total hours needed ÷ 25 hours/week = 12 weeks.)  You will want to allow 1-2 weeks to complete the paperwork, obtain the job description, secure the signatures of your employment supervisor and Faculty Coordinator, and then submit to Career Services. The final deadline for 1 credit in any term is 4 weeks before the last day of class.  You'll find more details in the Co-op Handbook (required reading) below.

How to register for co-op credit

Students in most majors will take CEP 300 for co-op credit.  Graduate students may also enroll for CEP 600.  To find details on every step of the enrollment process, please click the link associated with your college, below.  The guide associated with your college is REQUIRED READING!

Who to contact:

  • Students: Career Services contacts and Faculty Coordinators can be found by major by clicking here.
  • Employers: Contact Julie Stockman, Associate Director for Employer Relations & Recruitment, at or 859.572.5900

Additional Information


What students are saying:

"I think that interning has made everything I learned in classes a lot easier to understand. It's easier to put things together when you see it in person."

"I think that my co-op opportunity was a very important part of my learning experience at Northern Kentucky University. The co-op opportunity has helped me gain experience in the construction industry. I feel confident that I have more knowledge to better prepare myself for full-time employment as a project manager."

"This was a great experience and I am very glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of it and to be a part of this organization."

What employers are saying:

"[Our co-op student] has exceeded our expectations as a co-op especially considering that this was her first real-world work experience in her chosen field of study. She always presents herself in a professional manner and she is always on time. She is able to adapt to changes in deadlines and scope of tasks given to her quickly. I look forward to working with her this summer full time so that I can challenge her with more complex projects and give her complete ownership of processes that she currently participates in, but cannot own completely due to her part-time availability. She is a great addition to our team!"

"[This student] has been a trusted and valuable member of our financial services team. His work ethic, energy, and willingness to participate in any task has made him a sought after resource in our department. We look forward to having more of his time over the upcoming summer. If he continues to hone his skills within the financial disciplines of accounting and finance he will have a successful future in business."

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