Co-op & Internship Frequently Asked Questions for Students

To gain relevant work experience and transferable skills such as communication, leadership, and technical engineering skills. This will give you a competitive edge when searching for post-graduation positions. Employers indicate when interviewing full-time candidates, candidates that rise to the top are those with work experience, communication, and teamwork skills. You will also be paid for your work! 

The only difference is in the duration of the work experience. Internships are at least 10 weeks during the summer, whereas co-ops are at least 16 weeks during the semester or a semester and summer combined.

Once you have added the course, you will be considered a full-time student. (You will not pay tuition).  You will be considered full-time, but not by credit hours, so scholarships and financial aid will be put on hold until you return to full-time classes. Check with the Financial Aid Office (515-294-5627 or and/or the Scholarship coordinator in the Engineering Student Services Office (515-294-7186 or for specific information.  

Yes. Please refer to the ELO website ( regarding the cost of tuition and fees for online classes.  

Internships will likely not delay your graduation since they occur in the summer.  A co-op may delay your graduation date by a semester. However, the professional development and competitive edge these experiences give you when seeking post-graduation employment are worth it. Please check with your academic advisor for specifics related to your coursework.  

Fill out the intern/co-op application in CyHire. You can find the directions here. Once it’s completely approved, Engineering Career Services (ECS) will email you information on how to add the course to your schedule. At that time, we will have you drop your other classes without any penalties or fees assessed. 

The best place to start searching is through the Jobs section of CyHire and by networking with employers recruiting at Iowa State (see Events section of CyHire). More information on searching for positions can be found here in Module 5 of our Canvas Prep Resource.

Yes, if the position you have accepted is engineering-related work. You can fill out the co-op/intern application to register, and ECS will contact the company. You can find the directions here. 

Housing information can be acquired from the employer.  
1. Ask them for suggestions of safe locations to search.  
2. Ask if they have other interns that you could possibly live with. 
3. Look on local Facebook groups to see if there are any subleases available.  (Please keep your personal and financial safety in mind if you are not renting directly through your employer or a legitimate property management company) 

You will need to contact the Department of Residence at 515-294-2900,, or stop in to 2419 Friley Hall. You can also view information on their website here –  http:// It is best to do this BEFORE leaving for your internship/co-op. 

You will receive a RAN number via e-mail. Contact your academic advisor if you didn’t receive one. 

Average internship/co-op salary information can be found here on our website.  

Talk to your supervisor or the HR Department of your employer. If you do not feel comfortable with doing that, please contact Engineering Career Services at If you have registered your experience, you can also view the canvas course ‘Dealing with Challenges in the Work Place’ module. 

  • Once an international student has completed one academic year at ISU, you can complete an internship or co-op. However, some employers require U.S. citizenship for their positions. 
  • If you are on an F1 Visa you should be eligible for CPT. Please contact ISSO ( regarding your CPT status. 

Graduate students must work with their major department and professor to register for a co-op/internship.