Cooperative Educational Program
Co-operative experiences (co-op for short) and internships are labeled as High Impact Practices; practices that engage students and result in more successful outcomes for those students. When a student takes a co-op or internship, that student gets to examine the world of engineering by performing real-world engineering tasks. Not only does this give the student some perspective on what he or she will be doing in the future, but it allows the student to see how the material learned in coursework can be applied. Additionally, many co-ops and internships result in full-time jobs after the student has graduated.
To apply for an internship or co-operative assignment, please review the section "Procedure for Obtaining an Intership or Co-op".
Co-op vs. Internship
An internship is for the summer term only. The typical duration is about three months, and the student receives 1 credit hour for their academic work. The co-op is either for the spring-summer term, or the summer-fall term. Because the student is still involved in academic work, he or she is still classified as a full-time student which has a couple of benefits. They can still be listed on their parent’s insurance, the financial aid office reports them as a fulltime student so loans remain in deferment , and they do not have to apply for re-admission when they come back to the university. Also, beginning with the Fall 2018 semester they earn 2 credit hours.
- First, the experience gained is invaluable. Students gain an understanding of what is in store for them once they graduate. They mature much faster, and they are able to bring much of what they have learned while working into the classroom.
- Second, it provides job opportunities. Even if the students do not end up working with the company which gave them the co-op or internship, the experience looks good on their resumes. Any company hiring a student would prefer a student with some relevant experience compared to a student who was purely academic.
- Third, the co-op and internship pays better than most summer jobs for college students.
Procedure for Obtaining an Internship or Co-op
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 GPA as shown below. 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 grants credit towards a degree for an internship or co-op.
Program Minimum GPA Notes Civil 2.0 Environmental 2.0 Industrial 2.0 Mechanical 2.0 Electrical 2.0 Chemistry 2.0 General 2.0
- Contact the Career and Professional Development Office for listings of opportunities. They can also help you create your resume and discuss interview techniques.
- Once you have registered in the Pioneer Career Network (PCN), you can start receiving offers from companies.
- You will still not be allowed to participate in a co-op or internship until the director of EMS co-op/internship (Jim Almquist) has approved your application. Look under "APPLY FOR CO-OP / INTERNSHIP" below for links to the application.
- Register for the course: In your program, register for either 3950 for a co-op, or 3970 for an internship.
- Go to work and complete the assignments posted in D2L. The first assignments are due about one month into your position (Feb or June).
- Your assignments will be graded and you will receive either Pass or Fail for a grade.
Apply for Co-op
A minimum of 800 hours of work is expected. A job description is also required. This will be reviewed to ensure the student is completing engineering related work. If you want to register for a Co-op and do not meet the pre-reqs (for example, if you are still in GE during the time you are working), you may apply to enroll in GE 1950 (same class but does not satisfy any graduation requirements). The application for the co-op courses is linked below.
Be sure to fill out all items asked for in the application and attach the files including the letter of acceptance and job description. The application cannot be processed without these and you be asked to send them in before you receive permission to register for 3950.
Apply for Internship
Mechanical engineering students may use 1 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: Internship, the student needs to have matriculated into mechanical engineering (from general engineering) and not yet have credit for MECHENG 4930: Sr Design Project. In order to apply, the student should have a letter from the company with start/end dates and stating that it is full-time employment. A minimum of 400 hours of work is expected. A job description is also required. This will be reviewed to ensure the student is completing engineering related work. The application is linked below. If you anticipate moving into mechanical engineering after the spring semester, please include that in the Note at the end. If you have previously completed MECHENG 3950: Cooperative Education or MECHENG 3970: Internship, it is not necessary to register for another credit.
EP majors may take Engineering Physics Cooperative Education (ENGRPHYS 3950,) Engineering Physics Internship (ENGRPHYS 3970), or Engineering Physics Independent Study (ENGRPHYS 4990). Each co-op and each internship can count as 1 credit towards the Professional Engineering Elective requirement provided that the student makes a presentation (arranged by the Engineering Physics department) summarizing their experience after the internship or co-op has been completed. However, no more than 2 credits total amongst these 3 courses (ENGRPHYS 3950, 3970 and 4990) may be used to satisfy the Professional Engineering Elective requirement.
Be sure to fill out all items asked for in the application and attach the files including the letter of acceptance and job description. The application cannot be processed without these, and you be asked to send them in before you receive permission to register for 3970.
Expectations for Students
A typical co-op assignment
There is really no such thing as a typical co-op or internship, but an example of one can be given. One job may require the student to use SolidWorks to design parts for an assembly. The student would be expected to accurately depict the part and use Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GDT) to convey information about important fits. As the student gains familiarity with the company, the student would be asked to help design parts by checking standards, or using software packages that determine the stresses and loads on the part to ensure the part won’t fail. The student would work with another engineer who would verify that the student’s work met company standards and followed the proper procedures. Sometimes, students are given independent projects to complete and many of these are then implemented by the company.
Upon completion of the internship or co-op, the student will be expected to:
- understand the ethics of the decisions that are made in a company and the implications of those decisions on customers, society, and the workforce. He or she should be able to act in a professional manner.
- understand effective means of communication, including graphical, written, electronic and oral forms. Also, understand the importance of good communications and being able to effectively transfer information from one constituent to another.
Assessment: Reports and assignments
Assessment: Reports and assignments
The student receives academic credit for the co-op or internship, and as such, he/she is expected to perform certain academic assignments. Some of the main objectives for a co-op/internship are the understanding of professionalism and ethics, and how important the ability to communicate effectively is. The student will be given an assignment via D2L, such as write an essay on an ethical dilemma that an engineer faced and how it was resolved. Another assignment might be to have a picture taken of the student at their workplace. The assignments are graded, resulting in either a PASS or FAIL for the entire course. For the internship, the student is expected to complete 3 assignments, and for the co-op, the student is expected to complete 9-10 assignments .
What does a co-op or an internship typically pay?
Most co-op’s pay between $14.00 and $23.00 an hour.
Most internships pay between $11.00 and $20.00 an hour.
What is the minimum amount of time I have to spend at a co-op or internship?
In terms of weekly hours, you must be a full-time employee. By law, this means that you should be spending a minimum of 36 hours/week. In terms of weeks, a minimum of 10 weeks of employment are expected for an intern, and 16 weeks for a co-op student.
What semester should I seek an internship or co-op?
Some companies will hire a student who has only completed one year of college. To get the most meaning out of the internship or co-op, students should wait until they have had some basic engineering courses, such as Thermodynamics or Statics.
Some companies that have participated in the past
The following is a partial list of companies that have participated in the internship/co-op program in the past.
|3M||ADC Custom Products||Alliant Energy|
|Amerequip Corp.||APG Engineering||Aptar|
|Bemis||Briggs & Stratton||C3 Corporation|
|CNH Industrial||Cole Manufacturing Corp||Colony Brands Inc.|
|Curt G Joa, Inc||Eagle Window & Door||Ecolab|
|Endries International||Extreme Eng. Solutions||Freudenberg-Nok Sealing Technologies|
|Global Controls Inc.||Grande Cheese Co||Greenheck|
|Husco International||J.H. Findorff & Son Inc||Jax Inc.|
|John Deere||Johnsonville Sausage LLC||Kenall|
|Kohler Power Systems||Kolbe Widows & Doors|
|Loos Machine & Automations inc||MasterCraft||Maxcess-Webex|
|Mercury MMarine||MidAmerican Energy||Miniature Precision Components, Inc|
|Multi-Conveyor LLC||Naval Surface Warfare Center||Neenah Foundry|
|Nercon Engineering & Manufacturing Inc||Oshkosh Defense||Oxbo International Corp.|
|Pace Industries||Parker Hannifin Corporation||Pointe Precision|
|Precision Plus||Rice Lake Weighing Systems||River Valley Testing Corp|
|Rivian Automotive||Rockwell Collins||Saint-Gobain North America|
|San Jamar Inc||Seagrave Fire Apparatus||Sears Manufacturing Company|
|Seats Incorporated||Spectrum Industries Inc||SSI Technologies Inc|
|SubZero & Wolf||Sussex IM Inc||Swift Manufacturing & Engineering Inc|
|The Metrix Company||Trane||Universal AET Inc|
|Viking Packaging Technologies||Visa Lighting||Voith Meri Environmental Solutions Inc|
|Vollrath||Waupaca Elevator Company||Weasler Engineering|
|Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Co Inc||Woodward||Zenith Cutter|
|Zero Zone Inc|
Information for Companies
Companies wishing to hire students for co-operative assignments or internships should contact the Career and Professional Development Office.
For more information about co-ops and internships for students, please contact
Jim Almquist firstname.lastname@example.org 154 Ottensman (608) 342-1904
International Internship Opportunity
For information on international internship opportunities visit the Educational Abroad Office located in 111 Royce Hall.