The University Career Center describes “experiential education” to include internships, clinical sites, student teaching, cooperative education, required observation hours, or any other experience that partners with external agencies/organizations to provide students with “real-world” work experience.

Currently, UNC Charlotte does not have a centralized process or office that manages experiential education. The University Career Center reviews and accepts/denies any opportunities posted with the office – both paid and unpaid. Any experiential education opportunity requesting connection to academic credit are posted – but referred to relevant academic programs for further review.

Our Employer Operations Team is available to assist you with:

  • developing a sustainable internship program for your organization
  • consulting on internship descriptions and projects to fit with federal and state guidelines
  • marketing and operations for talent recruitment at UNC Charlotte and targeted connections with academic departments for credit requests

Cooperative Education

Most employers who hire new graduates rate related work experience as the top criterion used in selecting successful employees. If this describes your philosophy, you will benefit from becoming actively involved with the Co-op Program. This exciting relationship will help you identify and train prospective employees before they graduate.

Benefits

  • Cultivate and evaluate future professional staff members
  • Strengthen relationship with UNC Charlotte and promote your organization to students
  • Lower recruiting, training, and outsourcing costs
  • Student interns can offer a fresh perspective and new ideas to your organization
  • Demonstrate your organization's commitment to education
  • Build supervisory and mentoring skills of current staff
  • Alleviate staff workloads by allowing trained student interns to work on professional level projects
  • Past interns can serve as positive advocates of your organization upon their return to campus
  • Promotes teamwork between employees and students

What is a Co-op?

  • Paid career-related educational work opportunity to help students gain experience in a professional setting before graduating
  • Available to students in the College of Computing and Informatics, William States Lee College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Belk College of Business
  • Students may work 3 alternating full-time semesters of work with full-time semesters of school, 2 back-to-back full-time semesters of work, or 3 parallel part-time semesters of work with part-time semesters of school
    • College of Engineering students must commit to complete 3 alternating semesters
    • Engineering students may earn 1 complete year towards their professional license after completing three semesters of co-op and an accompanying co-op seminar
    • Computing and Informatics students need only 2 alternating semesters
    • Back-to-back schedules are NOT allowed for Computing and Informatics students
  • Students are enrolled in a zero-credit transcript notation course each semester they work in order to maintain their full-time status with the University.
  • Students in select colleges will complete a 1 credit co-op seminar follow-up course each semester they return to school

Program Requirements

  • Student eligibility: undergraduate student only; must be enrolled full-time, completed freshman level courses, and have a minimum GPA of at least 2.5
  • Students must meet with their on-campus faculty advisor to plan out their co-op work and class rotation schedule before starting work
  • Both students and employers submit a program evaluation at the end of each work semester. Evaluations are sent by email near the end of each semester.

Post a Co-op

Hire-A-Niner

Definition of internship according to NACE

“An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.”

In order to decide whether the experience offered to the student is a true internship, NACE provides the following checklist of criteria:

  • The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  • The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  • The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  • There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework. 
  • There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  • There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.  
  • There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

If all of the measures above are met, NACE considers that the position is indeed a true internship experience.

For additional information, please see:

FLSA Fact Sheet #71NACE position on internships

Internship development recommendations

Developing an internship experience in partnership with UNC Charlotte, the University Career Center recommends the following to our employer partners. 

Internships should provide:

  1. Work that is meaningful to intern and employer, such as research, analysis, and project management
  2. Performance goals that are clearly defined and appropriate for the intern’s level of experience (graduate vs. undergraduate)
  3. Opportunity for the intern to “own” or manage a distinct piece of work or deliverable
  4. Supervision by a company leader/sponsor with regular feedback and coaching
  5. Opportunities for the intern to meet, collaborate with, and learn from employees in the organization
  6. Projects/responsibilities should not be oriented towards clerical duties or office operations

On-campus summer intern housing

Housing Layout

UNC Charlotte offers safe, affordable housing on a traditional university campus for college students with internships in the Charlotte area. Intern Housing is for students enrolled at a college or university and working full-time in an internship or job in the Charlotte area. UNC Charlotte is located in northeast Charlotte, conveniently located off North Tryon, I-85 and I-485. Our campus is less than 10 miles and approximately 20-30 minutes from Center City (Uptown).

More Information

Policy on unpaid internships

For-profit employers providing unpaid internship may advertise those opportunities on Hire-A-Niner. However, the posting must clearly state that the internship is unpaid, prior to the position being approved and available to students. Although the career center staff will review and approve each posting, it is the employers’ responsibility to ensure that the unpaid position meets the criteria for acceptable unpaid internships, as established by the US Department of Labor. 

The employer, prior to making the decision to post an unpaid internship, should review the following six measures:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship

FLSA Fact Sheet #71