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EKU Co-op/Internship Student Handbook

student handbook coverIntroduction

This handbook is provided as an aid for successful participation in the Cooperative Education/Internship (Applied Learning) Program (Co-op). As a co-op/intern student, you are expected to become familiar with the contents of this handbook. You should refer to it frequently to ensure that all requirements are completed at the proper times. You should check to make sure you are familiar with any additional requirements within your department.

From time to time, additional information and materials will be sent to you from the Center for Career & Co-op. Questions should be promptly directed to the Center’s Co-op staff and/or your Co-op Coordinator in your college or department.

You are embarking upon an exciting and unique educational venture. As a co-op/intern student, you stand to gain a great deal of education-related real-world work experience that will supplement your academic course work. Make the most of your opportunities. GOOD LUCK!

Philosophy of the Cooperative Education Program

What is Cooperative Education?

Cooperative Education provides you with an opportunity to blend theory with practice resulting in a balanced education. Learning within the classroom is enhanced with practical on-the-job training in business, industry, and/or government.

Co-op Credit

The university requires a minimum of 80 hours of career-related work experience for each semester hour of academic credit.  You are expected to work the entire semester unless prior arrangements have been made with the employer and the Director of the Center for Career & Co-op. Academic credit will be awarded for Cooperative Education/Internship only when you are enrolled at Eastern Kentucky University in the Cooperative Education Program. Co-op is a multiple semester program. A certificate is awarded to students who successfully complete the Co-op Program by working a minimum of two alternating semesters and a minimum of three parallel semesters.

Cooperative Education work plans:

  • Alternating Plan- Under this plan you will alternate semesters of work with semesters on campus. This will be the basic pattern for co-op students and two or more work assignments must be completed during the academic career.
  • Parallel Plan- The parallel plan allows you to gain work experience concurrent with enrollment in college classes.  You must work a minimum of three semesters; one semester must be either fall or spring. Many students will work part-time in the fall and spring semesters and full-time in the summer semester.
  • Special Plan- Special calendars may be developed to meet your needs, as well as those of your employer.

A maximum of eight hours may be applied toward meeting graduation requirements for the Associate degree, sixteen hours toward the Bachelor's degree and six hours toward the Master's degree. Individual departments may have different maximum hours allowed toward your degree. You should plan to co-op a minimum of two semesters with the same employer; however, if that placement is not beneficial or you would like to gain a different type of experience within your field, you may co-op with a different employer. Credit may not be awarded for past experience or for anticipated future experience. The salary for each position is negotiable but must fall within state and federal wage guidelines.


You will be assigned a supervisor by the employer to provide direction and coordinate the job duties. Your supervisor will be responsible for completing midterm and final evaluation reports online and submitting those to the Center for Career & Co-op.  Copies of these reports are made available to the Co-op Coordinator in order to assign the final grade.

Although your supervisor will appraise your performance, the grade will be assigned by the department in accordance with established criteria and through a comprehensive evaluation. The Co-op/Internship Program offers both letter and pass/fail grades, depending on your academic department. Check with your department for additional information.

To maximize your benefit in the program, your employer should make every attempt to provide you with a broad range of experiences related to your major, your goals and the nature of the training site. If you are not offered a broad range of experiences, meet with your supervisor requesting additional challenges. You should realize that you are expected to be a productive employee. Your employer and your Co-op Coordinator will sign a Job Information Form specifying your duties during this assignment. Occasionally, you will be allowed to work for several employers in varying situations as long as the work experience is related to your career goals and those of the program.

Eligibility & Responsibilities of Co-op/Intern (Applied Learning) Students

To participate in the Cooperative Education/Internship Program, you must demonstrate above average academic performance, maintain that level of achievement after placement with an employer, and meet all other requirements of the program. Specifically, this means that you must:

Academic Performance

  1. Maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 while participating in the Co-op/Internship Program. (Some departments may require higher GPAs.)
  2. Remain on or ahead of schedule for courses required for graduation.
  3. Satisfactorily perform the work assignments for each work period.

Co-op Performance

  1. Complete and submit all required assignments to the Center for Career & Co-op.
  2. Attend any meetings and conferences required by your Co-op Coordinator.

Penalties for Noncompliance of Appropriate Behavior and Ethical Conduct

Inappropriate conduct while attending Eastern Kentucky University may result in your elimination from participation in the Co-op and Intern program.

When evidence indicates that you are performing short of the outlined standards while in a Co-op or Intern position, the following course of action may be taken:

Termination-Failure to improve academic and/or work performance after being consulted by appropriate Co-op Coordinator/Center’s Director may result in a student being dropped from the program. A student can be terminated without having been warned.

A student dropped from the program may, in some cases, be permitted to re-enroll. Applications for re-enrollment will be considered on an individual basis by the Co-op Coordinator and Center for Career & Co-op Director.

Resignation-With the exception of programs requiring co-op, the Cooperative Education Program is open on a voluntary basis to students who demonstrate ability to do above average academic work at EKU. Once you accept employment, you are expected to remain in the Co-op Program until all requirements and your co-op/internship position have been completed. It is recognized, however, that extenuating circumstances may occasionally arise when you find it necessary to change employment or to resign from the Co-op Program. In taking such action, it must be accepted that a key element in making the decision to resign from a co-op position is that re-employment is possible–if so desired–and that the employer will provide a favorable letter of recommendation. Accordingly, resignations must be handled with extreme care and with prior approval from your Co-op Coordinator and the Center for Career & Co-op Director. When considering such action, your first contact must be with your Co-op Coordinator and then the Center’s Director. A frank discussion should be conducted, which reviews all factors leading up to the intended resignation. When approved, all resignations must be submitted immediately in writing and addressed to your employer, with a copy to your Co-op Coordinator and the Center for Career & Co-op Director.

The Co-op Student on the Job

There are several responsibilities that you as a co-op/intern student have during your employment. You will:

  1. Adhere to all policies of the employing firm, including personal appearance requirements.
  2. Report to work promptly, and in the event of illness or emergency, notify your immediate supervisor and the Center’s Co-op staff promptly. Attendance is extremely important.
  3. Direct your energies to the completion of work assignments.
  4. Gain the most from your co-op experience and ask for additional challenges to expand your breadth of practical experience. Each semester, your employer is expected to increase your level of responsibilities. If you receive no additional challenges, please contact the Center for Career & Coop as soon as possible.
  5. Continue to pursue academic requirements toward a degree.
  6. Not apply for unemployment benefits from State Office of Human Resources due to the fact that you are a student in a co-op position.
  7. Read and become familiar with the operation of the Co-op Program as explained in the Co-op/Internship Student Handbook.
  8. Adhere to all policies of the Center for Career & Co-op’s Cooperative Education Program.
  9. Adhere to all University policies.

Status as an Employee - During the work periods, you are considered a full-time or part-time employee of the company or agency furnishing employment. As such, you are subject to the employer's rules and regulations. In some cases, co-op students are placed in a separate classification and, in others, are worked into the regular job classification used for employees doing the same type of work. In either case, you will be advised by the employer of the policies governing working conditions, hours of work, and other matters concerning employment. It is expected that you will conform explicitly to these rules and regulations. Failure to do so will subject you to the disciplinary and corrective procedures of the employer and will be reflected in the evaluation completed for each work period by the employer. The evaluation is used in determining a grade for co-op.

Assignments Co-op/Intern Students Must Complete

Resume- Must be uploaded into your EKU Center for Career & Co-op C3 Express database account. Your resume must be completed prior to your appointment with the Co-op Career Counselor. Information to assist you in developing your resume can be found on the Center’s website prior to scheduling an appointment with our Career Counselor. If you currently have a co-op job, the resume is due prior to midterm.

Online Orientation - You must successfully complete the Co-op/Intern Orientation through your C3 Career Express account prior to your first co-op or internship experience or before an appointment with the Co-op/Intern Career Counselor in the Center.  After you activate or update your C3 Career Express account, you will be given access to the Orientation.  You simply login to your account, and a box containing the link to the orientation will pop-up.  You will have one opportunity to retake the Orientation if you score below 85 points.  The Orientation is a one-time required assignment for co-op/intern students. 

Evaluation - The Performance Skills Assessment is an opportunity for you to evaluate your own progress in developing knowledge and skills from your co-op experience. In addition, the assessment is designed to assist you in reflecting on your practical and theoretical learning gained through your co-op or internship. It is important that you make every effort to be as realistic as possible in order to track your own growth as you move forward in progressively responsible assignments. The Performance Skills Assessment must be completed each semester while participating in the program. You will receive a link through your EKU email account approximately three weeks before the end of any given semester.

Individual departments may require additional reports/journals prior to the end of the semester which are used to determine your final grade.

Timesheet - You must submit a timesheet of the hours worked with supervisor verification (signature). The timesheet is provided in the EKU Center for Career & Co-op C3 Express database in the Resource Library, or is available in the Center for Career & Co-op.

IMPORTANT:  Failure to submit any of the assignments can result in an IP (In Progress) for the semester instead of a grade, or may result in an "F" or "U" for the semester.

 Co-op Coordinator Visitation - A meeting with the Co-op Coordinator and the supervisor is conducted before the end of the co-op experience each school semester. However, the Co-op Coordinator may elect to contact your supervisor by phone or email. This may be very brief, assuming you have no problems at work or in school. Generally, this meeting includes both you and the employer. You will meet with your Co-op Coordinator at the end of each semester to facilitate reflection on your practical and theoretical learning gained through your Co-op or Intern experience.


  • Do a great job! Learn all you can!
  • Immediately communicate with the Co-op Coordinator and the Co-op Staff in the Center for Career & Co-op if problems occur.
  • Submit all assignments by the deadline dates.

The assignments will be automatically available to your Co-op Coordinator when submitted to the Center for Career & Co-op.

Housing and Activities- You may choose to remain in campus housing while on your co-op assignment. Although you may not be enrolled for a full academic load during the Cooperative Education semester, you will be considered a full-time student with respect to participation in campus activities if activity fees are paid.
Eastern Kentucky University
Center for Career & Co-op
SSB 468, CPO 62
521 Lancaster Avenue
Richmond, KY 40475
Ph: (859) 622-1296 Fax: (859) 622-1300
E-mail Address:

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