Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Internships, Co-ops, and Externships

What is an internship, co-op, and/or externship?

Why intern or co-op?

Where can I find internships and co-ops?

Paid or unpaid?

How do I earn credit for my experience?

I'm an International Student; can I do an internship or co-op?

What is an Internship?

An Internship is a supervised pre-professional learning experience that allows students to apply their skills and knowledge in a professional setting. These experiences are designed to enhance the student's preparedness for an intended career with a business, industry, or government agency. Internships can be either full-time or part-time lasting the duration of one semester. They are also available every fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students may complete multiple internships with the same company or change employers at the completion of the semester. Because Internships are a learning experience specific to your field of study, you can utilize them for credit toward your degree program.

What is a Co-op?

Co-op is short for cooperative education, a three way partnership, between employers, students, and IUPUI. Cooperative Education is a formal plan of education in which students alternate at least three semesters of full-time work with full-time study. Students must continue with the same employer for the duration of three- five work sessions (working semesters).

The “traditional” co-op begins at the completion of the freshman year and lasts for five work sessions, but many co-ops start later in the student’s academic career and last for three sessions. The student's duties will progress over the course of each session until he or she is performing the tasks that they would be expected to do upon graduation. Co-ops like internships are learning experiences that can be used for credit toward your degree program.

What is an Externship?

An Externship is a single-day job shadowing experience. Job shadowing is an activity in which students arrange to spend a few hours or days observing professionals working in their fields of interest. Students may see firsthand many of the rewards and challenges of a particular career as well as some of the job characteristics that no one ever thinks to tell you! For more information, click here.

Why Intern or Co-op?

  1. Earn a Competitive Wage While You Learn
  2. Earn Academic Credit
  3. Increase Understanding of Classroom Theory through Hands-On Application
  4. Confirm Your Choice of Major
  5. Investigate Potential Career Opportunities
  6. Sharpen Interpersonal Skills
  7. Become More Marketable Upon Graduation!

Where can I find an internship or co-op?

The job search process can be a daunting task.  The key to success is being proactive and treating the search like a job in and of itself.  Take initiative, stay active, and utilize the Office of Career Services to aid you in the process.

Tools you need:

  • Resume (link to resume section)
  • Cover letter (link to cover letters in resource section)
  • References (link to references in resource section)

Where to look:

  • ET Careers:  ET Careers is a centralized job and internship listing system exclusive to E & T students at IUPUI.  To access the system, you must be in the School of Engineering and Technology and have an established university GPA.
  • My CCO:  My CCO is the centralized job and internship listing system for Purdue West Lafayette.  As a Purdue student, you have access to this system after completing a semester within the School of Engineering and Technology. 
  • Career Fairs:  Career fairs are a great opportunity to connect with many employers seeking students with your talents.  Be sure to research the companies in advance and come prepared to make a great impression.
  • Company websites:  Research career opportunities with companies of interest by visiting their direct websites.  Many companies have a “careers” or “jobs” section to their websites that detail internship and co-op opportunities.
  • LinkedIn:  LinkedIn is a growing resource for professional networking and job searching.  Be sure to keep your profile and information professional and be proactive in reaching out to contacts.
  • Your professional network:  Your professional network is larger than you realize.  Use these resources to help you identify and cultivate your network to help you achieve your career goals.

Paid or Unpaid (may be either):

The Office of Career Services and Professional Development strongly encourages our employers to pay interns and co-ops.
(Average wages range from $10-$17 per hour with an overall range of $8-$25 per hour.)

Although the vast majority of these opportunities are paid, please keep in mind the primary purpose of interning or co-oping is to gain valuable experience in your field. Pay should be secondary to the resume-building experience provided by the employer.

When pursuing unpaid positions be certain to scrutinize the duties and responsibilities of each position to make certain that the opportunity matches your career objectives. If you are unsure of the credibility of the position, please feel free to contact our office for assistance.

How do I earn credit for my internship or co-op?

Important change in the Internship and Co-op Policy for the School of Engineering and Technology: 

Effective Spring 2017, to receive credit for their internship or co-op, students must enroll in the corresponding course during the same semester they are performing their internship or co-op. Only EDDP students will be permitted a one term deferral to enroll during Fall semester for summer internships and co-ops due to the unique financial arrangement with the partner institution.

While you do not have to earn credit to have a valuable experience, to earn credit, you must:

  • Be admitted to the Purdue School of Engineering & Technology, IUPUI
  • Be enrolled in one of the academic programs offered by the school
  • Have successfully completed your freshman year
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.3 for internships and 2.7 for co-ops
  • Most internships require at least 200 hours over at least 10 weeks (CEMT, BMET, and MSTE students should contact their departments for course requirements).
  • Beginning Spring 2017, students must enroll simultaneous with the internship or co-op experience

What does earning credit entail?

There is a NEW process to register for an internship course! We have transitioned to an electronic forms process to obtain credit for internships.  Please complete the following steps:

  1. Student completes requested information on Student Agreement Form found here:
  2. Once student completes requested information, a pop up notification will display the link to be sent to the employer by the student so employer can complete the Employer Agreement.
  3. Once both forms are completed, Career Services is automatically notified.
  4. Career Services will review and process paperwork.  Student will receive an email from ETIntern that will provide final instructions to get enrolled in the appropriate internship course.
  5. After you are enrolled, all assignments will be managed through Canvas.

I’m an international student; can I do an internship or co-op?

International students are eligible to do up to a year of internships/co-op experience utilizing Curricular Practical Training. Information on CPT and how to apply is avaliable through the Office of International Affairs website.