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, they earn 4 credit hours.

Why Participate?

  • 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


  1. 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  


  2. Contact the Career and Professional Development Office for listings of opportunities.  They can also help you create your resume and discuss interview techniques.
  3. Once you have registered in the Pioneer Career Network (PCN), you can start receiving offers from companies.  
  4. 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 OR INTERNSHIP" below for links to the application.
  5. Register for the course:  In your program, register for either 3950 for a co-op, or 3970 for an internship.
  6. Go to work and complete the assignments posted in D2L.  The first assignments are due about one month into your position (Feb or June).
  7. Your assignments will be graded and you will receive either Pass or Fail for a grade.

Apply for Co-op or Internship

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.

Student Outcomes

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

Kimbery Clark

Dohler Company

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   154 Ottensman  (608) 342-1904

International Internship Opportunity

For information on international internship opportunities visit the Educational Abroad Office located in 111 Royce Hall.

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