Career Center

Definitions of Internship and Co-op

What's the difference between an internship and a co-op?

Internships

Internships are usually work experiences which may last a semester, a summer, or sometimes longer. They may involve working on a full-time or part-time basis, they may be paid or unpaid, and they may or may not involve academic credit. Since many internships do relate to academic disciplines and may carry academic credit, they are generally administered directly through the individual academic departments. However, Center for Career Development works with these departments to make them aware of internship possibilities, and students are encouraged to explore these opportunities both through academic departments and Center for Career Development.

Cooperative Education

Cooperative education, commonly called "co-oping," is available to students in five different majors: engineering, computer science, chemistry, business administration, and environmental studies. Co-oping allows the student to integrate classroom theory with practical experience in industry and business by alternating semesters of paid employment (a minimum of three work rotations) in his or her major field with semesters of study. Students can gain as much as a year of practical work experience in their field prior to graduation—greatly increasing their marketability.

For Employers to participate in the co-op program, there are three simple guidelines to follow.

  1. A job description submitted for approval to the Director of Center for Career Development for each co-op position available.
  2. Both the student and the employer must sign a work agreement before work begins (the student is responsible for picking this form up from the Center for Career Development).
  3. An evaluation must be completed to provide feedback on the student's performance at the end of each work session.

Student Requirements:

  • Enrollment in the School of Business Administration, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, or a program leading to a chemistry major or an environmental studies major.
  • Completion of the sophomore year of study.
  • Completion of the "EXED 090: Building Your Professional Image" class (a non-credit seminar conducted weekly by the Director of Center for Career Development).
  • A 2.25/4.0 grade point average.
  • Individual employers may have additional requirements as part of their hiring process.

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