Internships and Co-ops

Sara Diericks DSC01775_internships and co-ops

Internships and co-ops are periods of institutionally supervised, work experience that supplements formal academic classwork.

  • An internship is ten or more weeks of engineering-related work during the summer (May-Aug).
  • A co-op is a single work term of a semester (Jan-May or Aug-Dec) or a semester plus a summer (Jan-Aug or May-Dec)
  • A parallel co-op is two semesters of part-time work (20 hours per week) while taking 6 to 9 credits of coursework, or one semester of part-time work while taking 6 to 9 credits of coursework plus full-time work during summer. The work experiences must be with the same employer.

During the freshman and sophomore years, intern opportunities in industry for students are limited. After the sophomore year, more industrial internships become available. The Fall and Spring Career Fairs are excellent opportunities to pursue job opportunities.

Internships and co-ops allow students to apply the principles studied in the classroom to industrial settings and may make subsequent course work more meaningful.

Furthermore, students are paid as engineers in training, which helps to pay educational expenses. Students that have relevant work experience gain a competitive advantage when searching for a permanent position after graduation. However, this does lengthen the time to graduation and may have possible limitations in participating in some outside activities.

Learn more about internship and co-op opportunities at the Engineering Career Services website.

Keep the end goal in mind.

Below is a snapshot of companies in select areas that hire Chemical Engineering majors graduates from Iowa State University. Want to see even more potential employers? Check out this list of employers that hire ChE’s.