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Often the vocabulary associated with experiential education (out of class work experience) can be confusing. Many times, this vocabulary can be found being used interchangeably and therefore referring to numerous opportunities. Learn more about the following definitions and what they mean to you.




Internships are typically one-time work or service experiences related to your major or career goal. The internship plan generally involves you, the student, working in a professional setting under the supervision and monitoring of practicing professionals.

Internships can be paid or unpaid, and you may or may not receive academic credit for performing the internship.


Cooperative Education

Cooperative education provides you with work experience that is related to your major or career goal. The typical program through the UW Oshkosh campus includes a one-semester, full-time opportunity while not taking any other classes. Virtually all co-op positions are paid and the vast majority involves some form of academic credit.



A practicum is generally a one-time work or service experience completed by you, the student, as part of an academic class. Some practica offer pay but many don't. Almost all are done for academic credit.


Externships and Job Shadowing

An externship or job shadowing experience allows you, the student, to spend between a day and several weeks observing a professional on the job. Such experiences are unpaid; however, some colleges and universities pick up travel and/or living expenses. Externships and job shadowing experiences are generally not done for academic credit.

by reinecka — last modified May 09, 2012 03:28 PM

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