Graduate Programs Internship, Co-op and Work Authorization Process

The College of Business Administration Graduate Programs Office provides two options for students to gain real world, off-campus work experience. Our experiential learning offerings currently include internship and cooperative education courses.

Policy and Process

An internship or co-op will allow you to apply the skills and knowledge you have acquired in the classroom while gaining real-world experience. Internships and co-ops are optional in most graduate programs. However, students enrolled in a full-time course of study are strongly encouraged to pursue an experiential learning opportunity.

  • An internship is a for-credit course which can be used to fulfill degree requirements and is charged at the regular tuition rate.
  • A co-op is a credit/non-credit course which will appear on your transcript and can be used to fulfill the experiential learning requirement of the Experiential Accelerated MBA. The co-op has a nominal flat fee for enrollment. During the 2018/2019 academic year the co-op will be used infrequently, primarily for students who are offered a second semester of off - campus employment. This is because the CBA does not yet offer a graduate co-op course – one is currently under development - and so has only limited access to the co-op.


  • An internship should be pursued after the completion of most Gateway or Foundation level courses.
  • Internship hours must equal a minimum of 50 hours worked per credit for a maximum of three credits.
  • Students with full admission status are eligible for internship credit.
  • Those with non-degree or certificate program admission status are ineligible.
  • Students holding a Graduate or Student Assistantship may be required to resign the GA award in order to be eligible for the internship since outside employment is restricted by the Graduate School.


You must obtain approval from a CBA Graduate Advisor before starting the search for an Internship by submitting an Experiential Learning Initial Approval Form. The approved form will be scanned and emailed to you and copied to the CBA Internship Coordinator who will assist you in your search for an internship.

Finding Internship or Co-op Opportunities

  • You may find resources online, through the UA Career Center, via email from the CBA Graduate Programs Office or the CBA Internship Coordinator.
  • Take advantage of all opportunities available to expand your possibilities.
  • Many corporations have official internship programs that require early application, so being aware of CBA, UA Immigration and employer requirements is essential if you are to successfully find placement.

After receiving an internship offer you must provide your CBA advisor with an official offer letter, on company letterhead, outlining the dates of employment (which must be within the dates of the semester), the salary, the number of hours to be worked, a brief description of the position and the name and phone number of the supervisor, as well as Curricular Practical Training paperwork from UA Immigration if you are an international student.

The advisor will:

  • complete the internship paperwork in one or two days
  • provide it to you for processing at UA Immigration
  • add you to the internship course

Internship or Co-op Course

At the time of approval an advisor will add you to 6700:695 Internship in Business or 6000:600 Graduate Business Co-op Education which are taught by the Director of Graduate Programs. The Internship credits will fulfill the MBA Action Learning requirement or, in some instances, an MBA concentration requirement with the Director’s approval. MSM and MA Economics students will use the internship for elective credit. Students are expected to write a paper relating their internship experience to the program of study. For MSA and MTax students the internship course will be additional credits above program requirements.

The Co-op course does not fulfill any degree requirements. Students will be added to the class by the CBA advisor.

Course Assignments

Students are expected to contact the internship or co-op instructor after being added to the course by an advisor. The course requires completion of a paper relating the internship/co-op to your graduate courses and career goals as well as several projects to be completed with the employer and an exit survey. A grade of CR (credit/passing) or NC (non-credit/failing) will be provided.

Resigning or Leaving an Internship

Students enrolled in an internship course for credit MUST communicate with an advisor and the course instructor if for some reason they want to drop out of the internship program. Failure to do so will result in a grade of Non-Credit for the course, which is equivalent to a failing grade.

If you experience difficulty with an employer or the job does not match the description you were given upon being hired, we need to be aware of this because it could affect whether that employer is permitted to recruit UA interns in the future.

UA ARMY Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC)

New students accepted into the UA Accelerated Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program would be eligible to compete for international summer internships which may be used to fulfill program requirements in the MBA, MSM and MAE degree programs. Recent internships have been in Poland, Bulgaria, Latvia and Hungary.

To learn more about Army ROTC at The University of Akron, contact us at to talk with a scholarship advisor.

For International Students

The CBA prefers that every international student participate in an internship as part of his or her program of study.
  • International students are limited to internships of up to 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters and up to 40 hours per week in the summer.
  • Internships may be completed in the last semester of enrollment if the student has program requirements remaining.
  • Additional information on internships (also known as Curricular Practical Training) is available from the UA International Center or
  • Two semesters of full-time enrollment (nine credits per semester) are required prior to participation in an internship. A student enrolled in the second semester of full-time study, may begin looking for an internship opportunity for the following semester.
  • No second internship will be awarded but a student may be approved to pursue a co-op for additional employment.
  • If all required courses are completed, the student is ineligible for an internship and must apply for Optional Practical Training through the UA international Center Immigration at

Immigration Workshops and Authorization

Prior to contacting the CBA Graduate Programs for authorization or contacting a potential employer, international students are expected to attend the fall UA International Center Immigration workshop related to Curricular Practical Training (internships and co-ops) and are expected to be aware of regulations and required paperwork. It is your responsibility to know these requirements.

After authorization, students may work with the CBA Internship Coordinator to search for opportunities.

Students should also review the following, particularly if they start in spring or summer semesters:

  • CPT/OPT seminar materials on this page under “Employment Information for International Students”
  • OPT module in their Brightspace account
  • International Center e-newsletter updates, and/or
  • Forms & Documents page of our website - select “Employment Authorization.”

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Is Post-Graduation Job Training

Upon completion of degree requirements, most international students are permitted one year of employment by the USCIS.

  • During the last semester of enrollment, students visit UA Immigration to determine the eligibility process for OPT and to pick up the required paperwork.
  • An advisor in the CBA Graduate Programs Office can fill out the advisor paperwork indicating the degree completion date and the date of graduation. This form must be presented to the UA Immigration specialists for processing.
  • Internships may not be pursued during the period of Optional Practical Training because a student has completed all degree requirements.
  • International students should discuss employment options with the UA International Center immigration specialist to gain a better understanding of the opportunities which they are permitted to pursue.
  • Contact for an appointment or assistance.


Students seeking Optional Practical Training or Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training should be aware that a number of UA international students have experienced delays in USCIS processing of their OPT applications. The processing times used to hover around 90 days; now they are closer to four months.

Therefore, graduating F-1 students should plan ahead, apply for OPT as early as possible (90 days before program completion date), and request an OPT start date 1-2 months after their program completion date (they can request a date that is up to 60 days after program completion). Keep this in mind when telling potential employers when you expect to be eligible to work.

Contact the UA International Center for assistant at as early as possible if you are pursuing an OPT.

Student Employment for STEM Programs

Students in the MSM ISM, MSM Supply Chain, and MA Economics programs are generally eligible for an additional 24 months of OPT because they are US government-recognized STEM programs.

Fulbright, USAID and LASPAU Students

Fulbright, LASPAU, AMIDEAST and USAID students should consult with the agency which granted their visa to determine eligibility and restrictions.