Internships and Cooperative Education

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Cooperative education (co-op) provides an opportunity for students to apply what they learn in the classroom to career-related employment by alternating periods of full-time study with periods of full-time paid employment. The co-op program requires a commitment from the student for a minimum of three work periods.

Internships provide the same valuable paid work experience but are arranged with the employer for only one or two work periods.

What are the benefits of cooperative education and internships?


Students interested in cooperative education are strongly encouraged to apply during their freshman year. Applications may be submitted the semester a student will complete freshman courses. In general, the student must:

In all cases, decisions on a student’s eligibility and scheduling will be determined by Career Services and the student’s academic advisor.

Cooperative Education Schedule

Cooperative education is voluntary and does not include credit hours. Work periods alternate with periods of study that are approximately equal in length. The program does not add to the required course work. Approximately one additional year is necessary to complete all academic degree requirements and participate in cooperative education. If a student is interested in a shorter-term program, they might consider an internship to obtain employment experience.

The Process: Initial Steps

During a meeting with the Career Services Director, qualified students will be assisted with the following:

The Process: Faculty Participation

When a student accepts an offer for co-op employment, an individualized work/school plan will be developed. Career Services, the employer, the student and the student’s academic advisor will be involved in this process. The work/school plan projects student co-op work periods and academic curriculum needed for graduation.

The Process: Choosing Employers

A student will usually stay with the same employer throughout the co-op program.

On Assignment

During each work period, Career Services is the main point of contact on campus for participating students. Career Services is responsible for documenting and ensuring the quality of the co-op experience.

Students will supply up-to-date contact information, submit work term activity reports and participate in the work team evaluation as required by Career Services.

Career Services will coordinate the distribution of class registration, financial aid and housing information to the students during transitions between work and study periods.


Co-op is an employer-paid work experience allowing students to earn money to help with financial expenses. Rates of pay vary depending upon the employer and will usually increase with each additional work period.


To remain in full-time student status during each work period, the co-op student must register for a designated non-credit co-op course. The co-op work record will appear on the student’s official academic transcript.

Tuition and Fees

No fee is required to apply to the co-op program. However, a modest administrative fee is required before starting each co-op work period. All prior college account balances must be paid before the co-op registration can be processed.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is not awarded during a co-op work period. If students need financial assistance for returning study periods, you must apply following regular Financial Aid Office procedures. Within federal regulation guidelines, the Financial Aid Office will work to ensure that participants are not penalized on their eligibility for financial aid.


During the co-op work period, the student may remain on campus, live at home or arrange for housing at or near the work site. Some co-op employers assist students with relocation expenses and arrangements. Students remaining on campus must pay the normal housing and meal plan fees.

Participating Programs

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