Internships and Co-ops


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What is an internship or co-op?

Internships and co-ops are periods of institutionally supervised, work experience that supplement formal academic classwork. Students are employed by industry and government organizations in positions related to their major field of study. An internship is a single work term (semester, semester plus summer or just summer) arrangement. A co-op is a multi-work term arrangement where the student’s level of responsibility increases with each work term. Unlike a typical part-time or summer job, an engineering internship or co-op must involve the practice of engineering. Internships and co-ops are not required by the College, but they are highly encouraged because of the learning, development, and post-graduation employment benefits. Employers interested in hiring students for internships and/or co-ops, please visit our Employer’s Experiential Education Information page.

Why are they important?

Internships and co-ops are important because they offer great learning and professional development opportunities, and they lead to increased employment opportunities upon graduation. Participation in the experiential education program is a way to gain real-world work experience. Employers want to see experiential work experience on resumes and companies regularly use their internship programs as pipelines for hiring full-time employees.

What are the benefits?

Internships and co-ops are the bridge between classwork and the professional practice of engineering. They provide opportunities to make connections between theory and the application of engineering principles, and to develop skills and workplace habits. Internships also lead to a stronger resume, provide professional networking opportunities, and generally result in more full-time employment opportunities upon graduation. Many employers use internships and co-ops to identify engineering talent to recruit for full-time employment.  Additionally, for engineering students these are paid positions and the salary is at a competitive rate (see placement and salary statistics for more information). Registering these work/learning experiences with Engineering Career Services gets the experience documented on the ISU transcript and allows students to maintain full-time student status.  No tuition or fees are charged by the College of Engineering during the work experience.  Go to the Student Benefits page for a complete listing.

Internship and Co-op Policies

Good Academic Standing
While there isn’t a set GPA requirement, students must be in good academic standing to be able to accept and partake in an internship or co-op. Students that are on academic probation may not accept an internship. Students must complete one full semester after coming off of probation before participating in an internship or co-op.

Back to Back Semester Internships or co-ops
Students may not be gone from campus for a year at a time. This means that students may not go out on an internship for two semesters back to back; spring/fall or fall/spring (excluding summer). Students need to return to campus for course work between semester work terms. Students are able to get the most learning benefit when they alternate between academics and work experience as it allows them to apply what they are learning in both places.

Summer Internship Work Hours
Students on a summer internship must work full-time (40 hours) a week.  Part-time summer internships will not be registered.  We have found that working part-time (half of the summer) is too short of a duration to constitute a complete summer work experience. Students are free to do a part-time summer internship to gain experience, but we will be unable to register it.

Taking Classes While on an Internship
Students on a full-time internship are encouraged not to take classes during their work term. We have found students that do this end up dropping or failing the course because they don’t realize the time commitment the internship will take. When students register for an internship, they are registering for a full-time academic course and need to give 100% to the company they will be working for.

Students on a parallel internship need to work 20 hours and may take up to 9 credits of course work.

How to register your internship and co-op positions.

Registering an internship requires the completion of a small amount of paperwork and three easy to complete assignments during the work term.  Go to How To Register to link to the employment acceptance form and course syllabus.

Registration Deadlines and Start Times

Semester Registration Form Due Date Work Start By Date
Spring February 2 February 2
Spring/Summer February2 February 2
Summer May 31 June 6
Summer/Fall May 31 June 6
Fall August 31
September 5


Current Interns and Co-op Students – Share Your Experience!

Intern PhotoHelp take some of the mystery out of internships/co-ops and encourage fellow students to participate by helping Engineering Career Services in one or two ways.  Submit a photo or two of your work experience, or participate in our Intern Shout-Out Program.  Additional information is provided at the links below.

Calling All Internship Pictures

Internship Shout-Out Program