Internships and co-ops provide professional experience in a career field of interest and are an important complement to academics.Components of Strong Internships
- Intern receives an orientation and training
- Intern has a specific project/responsibilities and opportunities to learn about organization's operations
- Employer supervisor supports the student in the pursuit of learning goals
- Intern meets organization’s leaders
Many UNL departments allow students to earn academic credit in conjunction with an internship. Credit policies vary among departments. Students should work with faculty and advisors to determine if credit is possible and how it might fit into curricular requirements. Tuition and fees are charged for internship courses. Learn more about this option.
Start searching for an internship early, ideally by the start of your sophomore year. National and international internships often have earlier deadlines, up to 12 months in some fields. Local internships may have deadlines closer to the term in which you would work. Research your field to identify the typical recruiting timeline.
Internships and co-ops are available throughout the year. Internships may be part-time or full-time, and may continue beyond a single semester. Co-ops are typically full-time for a summer and semester.
If you take a semester off for an internship, consult your academic advisor to stay on-track with your academic program. You should visit Scholarships and Financial Aid to determine any impact of your absence on scholarships or loans. If you live on-campus, work with Housing to cancel housing contracts.
If you pursue international internships, register your international travel with Education Abroad .
Internships may be paid or unpaid while most co-ops are paid positions. Average UNL internship pay rates are available for comparison purposes. The U.S. Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act has been cited in discussions about unpaid internships.
International students may still need to seek authorization even if an internship is unpaid. The article "Legal Issues: International Students And Unpaid Internships" gives more information.
Although some employers provide housing for their interns, most interns must research and obtain their own housing. Your employer may have some suggestions and resources.
An Internship Memorandum of Understanding outlines personal learning objectives and details of the internship. Talk to your advisor or faculty about possible learning goals. Complete this memorandum with your site supervisor to share a mutual understanding of the nature of your work and of your goals. Check with your department for their forms or use the Career Services Internship Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Evaluations provide valuable feedback for you, your employer, and Career Services. Academic departments appreciate seeing how the curriculum connects to internships. At the end of your internship, both you and your supervisor should complete an Internship Evaluation. Some employers have their own evaluation, but if not, you may use the following:
You will begin to develop your professional reputation in an internship or co-op. Make it positive by:
- Striving to fulfill your learning objectives
- Observing organization standards and rules
- Listening to instructions, asking questions, and accepting constructive criticism
- Maintaining positive and professional relationships with co-workers and clients
Know Your Rights
- COMMUNICATION - Keep your supervisor informed of your progress and if you are experiencing any significant problems in the work..
- CONFIDENTIALITY - Maintain confidentiality regarding your employer, customers, and co-workers; disclose information only on a “need-to-know” basis to complete work assignments.
- LIABILITY - Understand legal liability related to your work site and activities; UNL does not insure students during periods of temporary employment such as internships and co-ops. Consult UNL Legal Services if you have questions.
- HARASSMENT - Treat co-workers, clients, vendors, and others professionally. Unwelcome, uninvited behavior with sexual overtones is sexual harassment and is illegal. Alert your site supervisor or UNL Legal Services if you experience such behavior.
- ACCOMMODATIONS - If you have a disability, tell your employer what accommodations might be needed for you to successfully complete your work assignments. Employers must provide reasonable, but not necessarily the exact, accommodation requested.
If you are uncomfortable or unsure of how to address a particular issue in your internship or co-op, meet with a Career Services Advisor to explore options.
Handshake will provide opportunities from employers specifically interested in UNL students. Academic departments may send opportunities to students through newsletters, emails, or flyers. Check employer websites, general job search websites, and these below resources. Exercise caution throughout the job search process; visit Safety in the Job Search Process for tips to avoid fraudulent postings.
Schedule an appointment
There are 2 ways to arrange an appointment with a Career Services Advisor: