What is an Internship/Co-op?

What is an Internship?

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An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. Internships are typically a one-time work or service experience related to the student’s major or career goal and may be a requirement for graduation. The internship plan involves students working in professional settings under the supervision and monitoring of practicing professionals. Internships ​can last for a semester or be completed over Winter or Summer break, can be paid or unpaid, and the student may or may not receive academic credit for performing the internship. ​All internships receiving credit must be approved by the Department Chairperson of the student's major.

What is a Co-op?

Cooperative education programs, or co-ops, provide students with work related to the student’s major or career goal. Cooperative Education is a structured program that integrates classroom learning with the practical hands-on experience in a field related to a student’s academic or career goals. ​The fundamental purpose of Cooperative Education is for students to have an opportunity to learn under real-life work conditions. The Co-op program is a partnership between students, educational institutions, and employers, with specified responsibilities for each party.

The Co-op Program consists of a work block which is six-months of full-time paid employment and is coordinated through the Career Development Office at Central. Students may register for up to six credits during their co-op experience but are not required to register for classes during the experience. CEW credits are awarded to allow a student to work yet maintain their full-time status. These credits, however, are not educational credits and may not be used towards program requirements for graduation. Co-op participation is approved by the Director of the Career Success Center.

To find internships and co-ops, check Handshake and Central's Center for Community Engagement and Social Research.