Experiential Education

The University Career Center defines “experiential education” as any experience that connects classroom learning with external organizations to provide students with work experience. Experiential education includes internships, clinical rotations, student teaching, cooperative education, and required observation hours.

Currently, the University Career Center reviews and accepts/denies any opportunities (both paid and unpaid) posted in Hire-A-Niner, our full-service system connecting students and employers. Opportunities requesting a connection to academic credit will be referred to relevant academic programs.

Our Employer Operations Team is available to assist you with:

  • developing a sustainable Co-op/internship program for your organization/consulting on interns
  • Co-op/internhip descriptions and projects to adhere to federal and state guidelines
  • marketing opportunities to UNC Charlotte students and connections with academic departments for credit requests.

To learn more about the University Career Center and experiential education programs across campus, click on Internships and/or Cooperative Education. If you have questions, please e-mail us at experiential-ed@uncc.edu.

UNC Charlotte broadly defines an internship as a work experience in a professional setting that is an extension of the academic experience.

Internships may be obtained through an established internship program or something that the student and the employer create together to fit the student’s skills and interests and the employer’s specific needs. Internships may be paid or unpaid and can vary in number of hours worked to accommodate the needs of both the student and employer. Employers are encouraged to consider students' academic schedules if they are participating in internships while still taking classes. Internships submitted solely as work experiences may vary in hours and length or duration. Some students seek academic credit for internships; academic departments often require that internships be a maximum of 20 hours a week during the Fall/Spring up to 40 hours a week in the Summer and are a semester in length. It is the responsibility of the student to submit the internship to the appropriate academic contact if they intend to seek academic credit. If you would like information on specific departmental requirements, contact Jim Novak, experiential-ed@uncc.edu.

The University Career Center reviews all internship postings to ensure they meet the criteria. Unpaid internships must meet all of the Fair Labor Standards Act requirements

A combination of goal-setting, training, supervision, and evaluation should be defined and agreed upon by all parties: the student, the employer, and a university faculty/staff administrator, especially if academic credit is involved.

Internships for Academic Credit

Employers seeking to assure a student gains academic credit for an internship (Especially unpaid opportunities) can work with the student via the University Career Center's Internship Portal. Academic internship courses are offered in all colleges at the undergraduate (60 are optional, 13 mandatory) and graduate levels (64 optional internship courses, 32 mandatory). Requirements vary by the college/department. Upon hiring a student, employers direct the student to the Internship Portal for processing. The academic department will then connect with all parties to develop and approve specific learning obectives, structure, and evaluation criteria.

Internships for F-1 and J-1 International Students

Employers seeking to hire UNC Charlotte students with F-1 and J-1 international student visas as interns can easily do so by providing the student with an offer letter contianing the following criteria: 

  • Written on company letterhead
  • Contain prospective CPT employer's name
  • Physical location/address of proposed internship (no P.O. Boxes)
  • Start date of employment (view the important dates above)
  • End date of employment (view the important dates above)
  • Number of work hours per week

The student then submits this offer letter and a job description through their Hire-A-Niner student account for consideration.  Once an internship has been vetted through the University Career Center, the International Student and Scholar Office authorizes Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 students or Academic Training for J-1 students.  More details and the benefits of hiring UNC Charlotte International students can be found in the UCC's Guide to Hiring International Students.

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.    
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.
  • 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.

 

Guide to Experiential Education for Employers