Undergraduate engineering students can gain significant technical experience in industry before graduation through both internships and the Cooperative Engineering Education Program, or co-op, an experiential learning program. Co-op and intern positions allow employers to evaluate potential permanent hires over an extended period of time, provide a continual pipeline of bright engineers and a cost-effective method for completing tasks within the organization.

An internship is an opportunity for a student of any major or year to gain valuable, paid work experience. Interns work full-time during the summer, and commit to work with an employer for one summer only. Students may attempt to work with a different employer each summer to expand their horizons even more.

Co-op students complete at least two work terms of full-time work with the same employer, receive one or two hours of letter-grade credit per work term and earn a competitive salary.

Co-op employers expectations:

  • Provide the student with at least two co-op work terms
  • Educate students by having them perform technical engineering work relevant to their academic discipline
  • Provide direct supervision by an engineer
  • Review the student’s work and complete a performance evaluation for each work term
  • Maintain communication with the Cockrell School's co-op office regarding recruitment and student performance

Ways employers can enhance the co-op experience:

  • Assign challenging tasks with increased responsibility. Spending multiple semesters with one employer gives co-op students the opportunity to work on complex projects and gain more responsibility as their work terms progress.
  • Provide a mentor. Whether a direct supervisor or an experienced employee, a mentor can help the student navigate the organizational culture, learn about industry and explore career options.
  • Encourage open dialogue on performance. Receiving positive feedback and constructive criticism from supervisors and mentors is crucial to the co-op student’s development as an engineer.
  • Coordinate networking opportunities. By including students in employer events or arranging activities especially for co-ops, the employer can give students a better understanding of the working culture and help them feel more connected with the organization.

For more information, contact our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or view these PDFs:
Co-op FAQ | Why You Should Hire a Co-op Student