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115 Tillman Hall
Rock Hill, SC 29733
803/323-4036 (fax)


Academic Affairs

Policy Title
Internships, Co-ops, Practicum, Externships and Clinical Internships
Policy Description
Internships, Practicum, Externships and Clinical Internships
Winthrop University values the experiences of applied work and observation that links students with employers.  These experiences include internships, co-ops, practicum, and externships.  The following definitions are used by Winthrop University: 


Internships are typically one-time work or service experiences related to a student’s major or career goal. Internships are usually completed for academic credit and may be paid or unpaid. The internship plan generally involves a student working in a professional setting under the supervision and monitoring of practicing professionals. Internship credit would be based on a minimum of 50 hours of work experience per one hour of credit. Programs requiring students to take full-time internships for a semester are exempted from the 50-hour per credit requirement. Faculty and the Center for Career and Civic Engagement serve as resources for students who seek this type of experience.

Cooperative education
Cooperative education provides students with multiple periods of work in which the work is related to the student’s major or career goal. The typical program plan is for a student to alternate terms of full-time classroom study with terms of full-time, discipline-related employment. Since program participation involves multiple work terms, the typical participant will work three or four work terms, thus gaining a year or more of career-related work experience before graduation. Virtually all co-op positions are paid and the vast majority involves some form of academic credit. Winthrop does not have cooperative education courses or experiences at this time.

A practicum is generally a one-time work or service experience completed by a student as part of a class for academic credit. Some practicum offer pay, but many do not.  Experiences are usually for less than 50 hours of work per credit hour and may take place on or off campus. Faculty and staff in the Center for Career and Civic Engagement serve as resources for students who seek this type of experience.

Externships/job shadowing
An externship or job shadowing experience allows a student to spend between a day and several weeks observing a professional on the job. Such experiences are unpaid; however, some colleges or departments may pick up travel and/or living expenses. Externships and job shadowing experiences are generally not done for academic credit.  The Center for Career and Civic Engagement serves as a resource for students who seek this type of experience.

Clinical Internships (Working Definition)
Clinical internships involve programs that require rotations through a variety of
clinical /educational settings during the course of a student’s academic program.  At Winthrop this explains the programs in educator preparation programs, athletic training, and social work and the graduate programs in human nutrition, school psychology, and social work. These experiences may or may not be paid.  The university typically engages in a contract with the employer to take a set number of students over a particular period of time. 
Policy Procedures
Requirements for Internships, Practicum, and Clinical Internships
All internships, practicum and clinical internships require written agreements. This agreement should articulate the responsibilities of the student, the employer, and the University.  In addition, the agreement or an addendum should outline the performance goals expected of the student.  An evaluation instrument(s) must be used at termination of the experience.  Onsite evaluation by a faculty or staff coordinator should occur at least once during the experience.  If such an evaluation is not feasible because of geography or other reasons, an effort should be made to communicate with the supervisor and student involved through telecommunications. Each student must register for the experience in the same semester in which the experience is pursued. 

Internal Control Considerations
Policy Author(s)
Academic Affairs
Effective Date
May 2010
Review Date
April 2010