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Internships & Co-Ops

Additional Resources

Overview of the Experiential Learning Program

The Georgia Southern University Experiential Learning Program provides undergraduate and graduate students academically enhancing employment opportunities in a variety of industries and sectors through co-op, internship, and job shadowing opportunities. The Experiential Learning Program encourages relevant quality work experiences for all students who desire to enrich their academic program of study with planned, progressive, and monitored work experiences. These employment opportunities build upon strong instructional programs to ensure that students receive an outstanding education that prepares them intellectually, technically, culturally, ethically, and socially for the demands and opportunities of an increasingly changing world.

What is an Internship?

Internships are hands-on experiential learning opportunities where students can apply academic knowledge in professional settings to further adapt skills for the “real world.”

What is a Co-op?

Co-op, short for cooperative education, is an experiential learning program that balances classroom theory with multiple periods of practical, hands-on experience prior to graduation. The typical co-op plan is for students to alternate terms of full-time classroom study with terms of full-time, discipline-related employment.

Internship Spotlights

Check out some of the internships and co-ops Georgia Southern students have had on our Internship Spotlight page!


Internships
Overview of Internships

Internships are hands-on experiential opportunities where students can apply academic knowledge in professional settings to further adapt their skills for the “real world.” Internships offer an excellent bridge between academic work and the professional world.

Internships can be:

  • Full or part-time
  • Paid or unpaid
  • For academic credit or non-academic credit
  • During the academic semester or summer
Goals and Benefits of Internships

Participating in an internship will offer students a myriad of opportunities that will be beneficial while still a student at Georgia Southern University and in the future. These goals & benefits include:

  • Gaining relevant work experience prior to graduation
  • Increasing understanding of classroom theory through practical experience
  • Exploring career goals and options
  • Enhancing marketability to employers upon graduation
  • Sharpening communication and interpersonal skills
  • Gaining an understanding of professional cultures and expectations
Internship Eligibility

Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and remain in good academic standing with the university prior to starting their internship. Incoming first-term freshmen are requested to complete one complete academic year before the start of an internship experience. Freshmen are encouraged to begin their search during their second semester and may reach out to the Office of Career and Professional Development staff for assistance in the internship search process. Transfer students may begin an internship experience after completion of one academic term at Georgia Southern University.

Internship Registration

Make your internship official!

Prior to starting your internship, it is critical that you contact the Office of Career and Professional Development to register for the appropriate tuition-free, audit-credit internship course in order to remain enrolled full-time at Georgia Southern while you are working. This course will allow the internship to be officially recognized by the University on the student’s transcript and prevents gaps in enrollment (for insurance purposes, housing, student fees, student loans, etc.) The number of audit credits depends upon the number of hours worked per week.

Make an appointment with your Career Development Specialist, or email the Assistant Director of Experiential Learning, Caitlyn Cofer, at ccofer@georgiasouthern.edu. You may also stop by our office located on the 1st floor of the Williams Center Room #1047.

To register, you’ll need to complete the following:

  • Experiences application by going to Handshake, then selecting “Career Center” on the top menu, and then “Experiences” and then finally “Request an Experience.” If you are unsure of the answers to anything, simply put “n/a.”
  • Provide a copy of your offer letter as an attachment to your Experiences application
Resources to Find an Internship

There are many great sources to finding internship positions. The following listed websites are provided below to further assist you in your internship search. Please keep in mind that to qualify as an internship, a job must be related to your major and must be supervised.

Co-ops
Overview of Co-ops

Co-ops allow students to alternate semesters of academic study with semesters of full-time, paid employment positions related to their academic and career interests. Co-ops are common for, but not limited to, majors in business, chemistry, computer science, engineering, information systems, and information technology.

Qualities of a co-op include:

  • Ongoing work experiences
  • Builds progressively upon responsibilities each work term
  • Always paid
  • Typically for non-academic credit, but academic credit may be available in certain situations for one work term
Goals and Benefits of a Co-op

By participating in a co-op through the Georgia Southern University Experiential Learning Program, students will:

  • Gain practical work experience related to your chosen major
  • Further clarify your academic focus and career goals
  • Integrate practical knowledge into classroom learning
  • Gain an understanding of professional cultures and expectations

Students who participate in co-ops are able to work on longer, more important projects and are able to take on increasingly responsible and diverse roles in their work sessions. Students also earn a significant and competitive salary while working. While not guaranteed, many co-op students are offered interviews or full-time positions with their host employer upon graduation.

Co-op Eligibility

Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA and remain in good academic standing with the university prior to starting and throughout their co-op
experience. Incoming first-term freshmen are requested to complete one complete academic year before the start of a co-op experience.
Freshmen are encouraged to begin their search during their second semester and may reach out to the Office of Career and Professional
Development staff for assistance in the co-op job search process.

Transfer students may begin a co-op experience after completion of one academic term at Georgia Southern University. For special
consideration or questions, please contact the Assistant Director of Experiential Learning.

Overview of Co-op Work Terms

Work terms are often called “rotations” due to their rotating nature between work and academics. The Experiential Learning Program supports three plans for cooperative education: Parallel Co-op Rotation Plan, 3-Session Co-op Rotation Plan, and Extended Co-op Rotation Plan.

  • Parallel Co-op Plan: Students will work full-time for an employer during their first summer work rotation, and then part-time during the fall and spring semesters.
    Students will take a reduced academic load (6-11 credits) during the fall and spring semesters.
  • 3-Session Co-op Rotation Plan: Students begin their co-op in the fall, spring, or summer semester of their sophomore or junior year and complete three work rotations with the same employer. This program is a transcript-recorded experience and provides a certificate upon completion. See below for potential course and work term sequences for this plan.
  • Extended Co-op Rotation Plan: Students start their co-op positions after their first year, or in the fall semester of their sophomore year, and complete four or five work rotations with the same employer. As they progress through their rotations, students begin to perform jobs they would expect to do upon graduation. This program is a transcript-recorded experience and provides an academic certificate upon completion. See below for potential course and work term sequences for this plan.
Co-op Registration

Make Your Co-Op Official

Prior to starting your co-op, it is critical that you contact the Office of Career and Professional Development to register for the appropriate tuition-free, audit-credit co-op course in order to remain enrolled full-time at Georgia Southern while you are working. This course will allow the co-op to be officially recognized by the University on the student’s transcript and prevents gaps in enrollment (for insurance purposes, housing, student fees, student loans, etc.) The number of audit credits depends upon the number of hours worked per week.

Make an appointment with your Career Development Specialist, or email the Assistant Director of Experiential Learning, Caitlyn Cofer, at ccofer@georgiasouthern.edu. You may also stop by our office located on the 1st floor of the Williams Center Room #1047.

To register, you’ll need to complete the following:

    • Experiences application by going to Handshake, then selecting “Career Center” on the top menu, and then “Experiences” and then finally “Request an Experience.” If you are unsure of the answers to anything, simply put “n/a.”
    • Provide a copy of your offer letter as an attachment to your Experiences application
International Students
Overview of Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT, or Curricular Practical Training, gives international students authorization to gain employment training and to work in paid internships positions. Students have a chance to work full-time (more than 20 hours per week) or part-time (20 hours or less per week) earning money in US dollars and gain work experience in their area of interest.

Qualities of an experience eligible for CPT:

  • May be paid or unpaid
  • Can be anywhere in the United States (does not have to be local)
  • Can be part-time or full-time
  • Must be relevant to the student’s major/program of study
  • Requires that a student be enrolled in an internship course. If an internship course is not available in a student’s major, then the student may seek approval to enroll in the non-credit COOP program.

For more information about the CPT process, please visit the Office of International Student Admissions and Programs website or view this information sheet

CPT Approval Process

Below are the steps an international student should take to receive CPT approval for their internship or co-op:

  1. Receive an official internship offer. International students may participate in the internship/co-op search process just like any other student. Once the student applies, interviews, and receives an offer, the student will begin the CPT approval process by submitting their experience on Handshake. 
  2. Submit internship information on Handshake “Experiences.” Access to Handshake is available through the MyGeorgiaSouthern homepage. Once in Handshake, select “Career Center” and then “Experiences.” After selecting “Request an Experience”, students should select a form for their college/major/concentration. If a specific form is not available, complete the form titled “International Students – General Internship and Co-op Application.” *Note: Depending on the student’s major, there may be additional steps outside of Handshake as well.
  3. Upload an official offer letter into “Experiences” in the Attachments section. The offer letter should be from the employer and should include the start and end date, an overview of basic job duties and job title, and any other relevant information about the employer. To upload the offer letter, submit “Experiences” application first, and then go back into the submitted experience and use the “Attachments” feature on the left side. 
  4. Wait for the experience to be reviewed and approved by the department and other relevant parties. The experience details, job offer, and any other relevant information will be reviewed by the Department Chair or another relevant faculty member in the student’s program of study. If the internship is to be completed for non-credit, the experience will also be reviewed and approved by the Assistant Director of Experiential Learning (Caitlyn Cofer: ccofer@georgiasouthern.edu) in the Office of Career and Professional Development.
  5. Experience is approved and the student applies for CPT in the ISSS portal. Once the student receives their official approval email from Handshake, the student will submit a formal CPT application in the ISSS portal, upload their approved experience, and include the final approver (listed in their approval email) as the “Recommender.” The recommender will then approve one last time, and the Office of International Student Admissions and Programs will process the request and provide the student with a new I-20. 

For more information, please consult the Office of International Student Admissions and Programs here. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Which international students should report their internship in “Experiences”?
    All international students! “Experiences” can be used to both report an internship or co-op that a student already has started to make it part of a student’s profile on Handshake for employers, and to request credit or non-credit internship or co-op hours for an upcoming experience. For students requesting approval for an upcoming experience, reporting to Handshake Experiences is STEP ONE in the process for CPT approval.
  • Which “Experiences” application should an international student complete?
     Depending on the student’s major or college, there may be a major or college-specific application for them. If one is available (i.e. Business and Public Health), the international student should complete the application. If the student does not see a specialized application for their major or college, then an international student should fill out the “International Student – General Internship and Co-op Application.” This general form designed specifically for international students is for non-credit and credit for all majors that do not have a specialized form.
  • How can a student view the status of their application?
    To check on the status of a student’s experience, the student may back into their application. The status will be available on the overview of the experience at the top right. When clicking on the experience, students will also be able to see where they are in the approval process, if there are any notes or messages, and ask questions about their status.
  • What other forms or documentation is needed for approval in Handshake “Experiences”?
    Depending on the student’s major, other forms may be required in Handshake or even outside of Handshake. After the student completes their Experiences application, they will receive further instruction about the next steps. ALL students are also required to upload their job offer that includes their proposed start date, information about the position, and contact information for the company and/or supervisor.
  • What if a student has a question about their experience or application?
    The best thing for a student to do is to go back into Experiences and to their application. In their dashboard, they’ll see a “Comments and Activity” section. In that section, they can ask any question and all approvers attached to that form will be notified and have the opportunity to respond to them.
  • When should a student submit their CPT form in the ISSS portal?
    A student should submit their CPT form in the ISSS portal after one of two things: 1) they receive an approval email from Handshake regarding their experience, or 2) they receive an email from a faculty member informing them that they are approved and ready to apply.

Last updated: 7/13/2020