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Career Center

Build Internships & Co-Ops

Internships are proven to be well worth the investment for employers. This effective recruiting tool can increase retention and ultimately result in cost savings for your organization.

Internship or Co-op?

While both internships and co-ops are hands-on experiential learning opportunities for students, understanding their differences will allow you to create a more strategic recruitment plan for your organization.


  • available to students of all majors and class levels
  • usually only one semester long
  • may be for class credit depending on your academic department
  • available year-round, usually during the summer or part-time during the school year
  • may be paid or voluntary


  • available to students with at least 30 hours of USC coursework and a minimum GPA of 2.5
  • usually 2-3 semesters long
  • paid
  • not for academic credit, but is noted on the student's transcript
  • available in two formats:
    • Parallel: work while attending school, 20 hrs/week for three consecutive semesters
    • Alternating: alternate between a semester of full-time school and a semester of full-time work (40 hrs/week). Students are required to work at least two semesters, but this provides some flexibility to live and work in other parts of the country.

Community Internship Program

The Community Internship Program (CIP) connects students and employers through the facilitation of internship opportunities. CIP provides the structure and support needed to ensure that both the employer and student have a valuable internship experience.

To participate in the program, employers must:

Review, sign and mail agreement.

The Community Internship Program Employer Agreement [pdf] does not obligate an organization to hire a student through the program, but outlines employer eligibility requirements and details of the program structure.

Please mail a copy of the signed agreement to:
Community Internship Program (CIP)
USC Career Center
Thomas Cooper Library, Level 5
Columbia, SC 29208

Register for a Handshake account and post the internship position.

How to Create a Handshake Account

  1. On the Handshake login screen, click on the "Sign up for an Account" link.

  2. If you are a new employer or contact, your Handshake profile will be reviewed and approved within 72 hours.

Review and interview candidates.

This process is up to the discretion of each employer. If you are interested in conducting your interviews on campus, please contact Barbie Smrekar at

Hire a USC student.

Once the internship position has been accepted by the student, employers should prompt students to report their hire in Handshake and complete the required Goals Worksheet.