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Information for students and employers

Co-op and Internship Programs

Co-op and Internship Programs

Students from any St. Thomas Engineering program (mechanical, civil, electrical and computer) may participate in industrial projects with a co-op or internship program which complements their respective academic fields of study.

The Co-op program provides students an opportunity to gain valuable work experience to train and work with a company while considering future professional choices. Students who participate in a co-op will be better prepared for real world applications of their learning and eligible to fulfill up to 4 elective credits toward their major. Students are eligible to apply for the Co-op program after they have declared their engineering major at the end of their sophomore year.

Both internships and co-ops are paid. But unlike an internship, co-ops allow students to gain college credit for their industry work experience and require the student to enroll in an elective course and pay for their college credits.


Dr. Genevieve Gagnon

Fellow - Mechanical Engineering
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Co-op or Internship – What’s the difference?

All engineering students are encouraged to have at least one internship or co-op experience. By working independently with a company, students gain valuable first-hand industry experience. Students are primarily responsible for finding internships and/or co-ops.

Professor discusses with a potential co-op provider


A co-op is a work experience with an organization which gives the student experience and opportunity to gain skills in a particular field. Work includes a full-time summer job plus part-time for one semester. The student pays for and will earn college credits (2 or 4) for the co-op experience. All employers in engineering co-ops are required to pay a reasonable wage.

Student networks with potential internship providers


Internships also give the student experience with an organization and the opportunity to gain skills in a particular field. However, students in internships do not pay for nor earn college credits but may work for a full semester. Most engineering internships are paid.

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What’s in it for you

Co-op Benefits for Students

  • Gain valuable experience and insight on future professions while training and working with a company.
  • Integrate academic learning experiences with lessons learned outside the university setting.
  • Real-world applications of student’s academic learning.
  • Ability to fulfill 2 or 4 elective credits.

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Co-op Benefits for Employers

Benefits include:

  • Employers train and work with engineering juniors and seniors and can potentially offer students a permanent job.
  • Co-op students serve as a recruitment and marketing tool when they describe their work experience to other students.

Employer Responsibilities – Co-op Program

  • Provide a work experience related to a student’s field of study. Support the student’s development and fulfillment of learning objectives specific to their program.
  • Provide a nurturing, mentoring environment that is supportive of young engineers.
  • Provide employment for 12-20 hours per week during one semester, and 40 hours per week during the summer for a total employment duration of at least 6 months.
  • Provide payment of a reasonable wage.
  • Allow the collection of data on student performance for evaluation of the program.
  • Permit a site visit by the UST Co-op advisor for review of the program.
  • Provide a representative to attend a 30-minute presentation by the student at the University of St. Thomas or at the company site at the end of the Co-op program experience.