Cooperative Education Program
Participating in co-operative experiences (co-ops for short) or internships as part of your education at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville can have an important effect on your career.
When you take a co-op or internship, you get to examine the world of engineering by performing real-world engineering tasks that allow you to apply what you have learned in classes.
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 loans remain in deferment.
- 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, an you must apply for the co-op or internship in your program. Currently, only mechanical engineering and engineering physics grants credit towards a degree or an internship or co-op.
- Contact the Career and Professional Development Office for listings of opportunities. They can also help you create your resume and discuss interview techniques.
- Join Handshake so you can start receiving offers from companies.
- Choose and interview for a position, obtaining a job description. This will be reviewed to ensure that you are completing engineering-related work. A letter detailing the start and end dates, and the full-time nature of the position, in also required.
- Be sure to fill out all items asked for in the application and attached the files including the letter of acceptance and job description. Your application will be processed after we receive these and then you may register for 3950 or 3970.
- The director of EMS co-ops and internships, Jim Almquist, must approve your application.
- Once approved, register for the course: 3950 for a co-op, or 3970 for an internship.
- Go to work and complete the assignments in your Canvas course. The first assignments are due about one month into your position.
- Your assignments will be graded, and you will receive either Pass or Fail for the grade.
A minimum of 800 hours of work is expected for a co-op, and 400 hours for an internship.
If you want to register for a co-op and do not meet the prerequisites, for example, if you are still in general engineering during the time you are working, you may apply to enroll in GE 1950. This is the same class as 3970 but does not satisfy any graduation requirements.
Mechanical Engineering Internships and Co-ops
Mechanical engineering students may use one credit of:
- MECHENG 3970: Internship or
- MECHENG 3950: Cooperative Education
towards the requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
In order to register for MECHENG 3970, you must have matriculated into mechanical engineering (from general engineering) and not yet have credit for MECHENG 4930: Senior Design Project.
If you anticipated moving into mechanical engineering after the spring semester, please include that in your application.
If you have previously completed MECHENG 3950 or MECHENG 3970, it is not necessary to register for another credit.
Engineering Physics Internships and Co-ops
Engineering Physics majors may take:
- ENGRPHYS 3950: Engineering Physics Cooperative Education
- ENGRPHYS 3970: Engineering Physics Internship
- ENGRPHYS 4990: Engineering Physics Independent Study
You can count each co-op and each internship as 1 credit towards up to 2 credits of the professional engineering elective requirement, provided that you can make a presentation, arranged by the Engineering Physics department, summarizing your experience after the internship or co-op.
If you have questions, contact the Director of UW-Platteville Engineering Partnerships
Kristi Gimmel Becker
174 Ottensman Hall
Most co-ops pay between $14.00 and $23.00 an hour. Internships pay between $11.00 and $20.00 an hour. We have collected statistics on past co-ops and internships.
Both co-ops and internships are full-time employment. You should work a minimum of 36 hours a week, for 10 weeks for an internships and 16 weeks for a co-op.
A Typical Co-Op Assignment
There is really no such thing as a typical co-op or internship, but this is an example:
The job requires you to use SolidWorks to design parts for an assembly. You would be expected to accurately depict the part and use Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GDT) to convey information about important fits.
As you gain familiarity with the company, you would be asked to help design parts by checking standards, or by using software packages that determine the stresses and loads on the part to ensure the part won't fail.
Working with another engineer, you would learn company standards and proper procedures.
You may be giving independent projects to complete, and many of these are then implemented by the company.
You receive academic credit for the co-op or internship, so you are expected to complete academic assignments.
Some of the main objectives for a co-op or internship are the understanding of professionalism and ethics, and effective communication. You will be given assignments via Canvas, such as an essay on an ethical dilemma that an engineer faced, and how it was resolved.
Another assignment might be to have your picture taken at your workplace. The assignments are graded, resulting in either a Pass or Fail for the entire course.
For the internship, you are expected to complete 3 assignments, and for the co-op, you should expect 9-10 assignments.
If you would like to complete a course while on co-op, a streaming video course may be an option for you.
A streaming video course in an alternative delivery method in which UW-Platteville faculty teach professional engineering courses to off-campus students. The lessons are recorded during live lectures in classrooms at UW-Platteville and UW-Platteville Fox Valley.
Lectures are made available to students online via Canvas. You need to view the lessons on a regular basis, according to the course syllabus. They will help you keep up with the homework assignments, any lab requirements, and the scheduled examinations.
You will interact with your professor during their office hours utilizing a variety of communication technologies.
You will use UW-Platteville's online learning environment, Canvas to view the course lectures, participate in discussion boards, take quizzes, contribute to group projects, participate in office hours, and upload or download files.
Students can use one of the four regional exam proctors located at Fox Valley, Washington County, Rock County, or Madison College.
If you are not physically located near one of the four regional proctors, you may nominate an alternate proctor. To learn about proctors visit the UW-Platteville Engineering Partnerships website. Please contact Hattie Techlow at firstname.lastname@example.org or 920.822.2854 to discuss your situation.
Textbooks and Labs
Your textbook(s) will be delivered to the campus you designate on the Streaming Video Course Approval Form unless you indicate that you will pick up your textbook(s) from the UW-Platteville Textbook Center. Textbooks cannot be delivered to your place of residence.
There are some upper-level engineering courses with lab components. If the course includes a lab component, you will travel to Fox Valley for Super Saturday labs.
Dropping a Streaming Video Course
You must notify your instructor and academic advisor if you drop a streaming video class. Follow the procedures listed on the UW-Platteville Registrar's website.
In addition, your textbook(s) must be returned to the UW-Platteville Textbook Center as soon as you notify staff you are dropping a course.
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 program
- 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.
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 Cooperative Education Program. 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.