Co-ops & Internships

Co-ops vs. Internships

Although co-ops and internships offer many of the same benefits to a student, such as relevant work experience and putting classroom knowledge into practice, there are a few differences.  Do your research and work with your faculty advisor to determine which one is the best option for you.

Co-op: A co-op is a full time work experience where you are not expected to take any classes.  Instead, you’ll report to your co-op employer daily as a full time employee.  This position is typically paid, providing you with real income that you can use for various expenses; tuition is not charged for semesters when you are on co-op, though you may still live on campus if your co-op is local.  The co-op experience is a great opportunity to “bridge the gap” between being a student and entering the workforce. 

Internship: An internship is a part-time work experience where you are still expected to take classes, or to complete it over the summer.  This position is typically not paid, though many try to offer some type of compensation, such as a stipend, so that students are not negatively impacted financially.  Some fields, particularly those in the public service, nonprofit sector, or the arts are unable to offer paid co-op positions due to budget constraints, so unpaid internships are sometimes accepted in place of co-op.