Internship and Cooperative Education
Co-ops and internships provide valuable real-world experiences that supplements formal academic classwork. You may be employed by industry and government organizations in positions related to your major field of study. Unlike a typical part-time or summer job, an engineering co-op or internship must involve the practice of engineering, be on site at the employer’s facility and students must be paid. Co-ops and internships are not required by the College of Engineering Mathematics and Science but are highly encouraged.
Co-op vs. Internship
Internships are designed for the summer term only. The typical duration is about three months, and the student receives 1 credit for their academic work. 400 hours of work are required, in a full-time position.
A co-op is either for the spring-summer term, or the summer-fall term, and requires 800 hours of work in a full-time position. Because you are also completing academic work, you are still classified as a full-time student:
- The financial aid office considers you a full-time student, so federal loans remain in deferment. If you are receiving aid beyond federal loans, we recommend for you to confirm your eligibility with the financial aid office.
- You do not have to apply for re-admission when you come back to the university.
Also, co-op students earn 2 credits for the experience.
Benefits of a Co-op or Internship
- You will gain an understanding of what awaits you after graduation with a degree in EMS.
- Even if you do not end up working with the company where you have a co-op or internship, the experience looks good on your resume, and the skills you gain are a valuable add to your academic work.
- Co-ops and internships often pay better than most summer jobs for college students.
Upon completion of the internship or co-op you will:
- Understand the ethics informing decisions that are made in a company and the implications of those decisions on customers, society, and the work force.
- You will know how to act in a professional manner.
- You will be able to communicate effectively, including in graphical, written, electronic and oral forms. This will allow you to effectively transfer information from one constituent to another in an organization.
Finding and Applying for an Internship or Co-op
Ideally, before you seek an internship or co-op, you should have taken some basic engineering courses, such as Thermodynamics or Statics.
Certify that you meet all of the requirements for an internship or co-op. Different programs within EMS may have different requirements. You must be a student in good standing with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
You must not have taken your capstone course, Senior Design, and you must apply for the co-op or internship in your program. Currently, only mechanical engineering and engineering physics grants credit towards a degree for an internship or co-op.
There are many benefits for employers who hire UW-Platteville EMS students for co-op and internship positions:
- Opportunity to evaluate a possible future employee based on performance, rather than just an interview
- Favorable publicity on campus, affecting students outside the co-op experience
- Opportunity to address lower-priority projects with lower-cost employees
- Co-op students hired permanently tend to progress faster, go further, and stay longer than employees who did not have a co-op experience
- Training costs decrease because a substantial portion is done at co-op salary rather than permanent salary.
Four-year plans by degree
- Civil Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Engineering Physics
- Environmental Engineering
- Industrial Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering - Biomedical Emphasis
- Mechanical Engineering - Manufacturing Design Emphasis
Employers should provide a job description and any requirements the co-op student must meet. Interviews may be done on campus, by phone, or on site. The Career and Professional Development Office staff will arrange on-campus interviews for employers.
Terms of employment including time period, salary, fringe benefits, and transportation are negotiated directly between the employer and the student. A supervisor for the co-op student should be designated, and orientation to the company should be provided. A student is required to work a minimum of 26 hours per week.
Two formal evaluations completed by the supervisor, and reviewed with the student, are required by the College of EMS Internship and Cooperative Education office. Recognizing that the co-op student is a trainee, the assigned work should provide a varied experience.
There is no obligation to hire the student for another work period or as a permanent employee. View the salary statistics for salary information from previous years.