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Experiential Education: Co-ops, Internships, Mentoring

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Real-world experience is at the heart of a Clarkson education. In fact, all programs in the School of Business, the School of Engineering, and the School of Arts & Sciences require students to complete a professional experience before they graduate. The Career Center has the resources to help you find an internship (semester or summer) or full-semester co-op that fits your interests and career goals.

What is a Co-op?
A co-op is the best way to test drive a future career and to make valuable contacts in the industry. A co-op, short for “cooperative education,” is a paid position with a company for a full academic semester and often the summer. For many Clarkson students, co-ops offer several advantages over internships. Since co-ops are longer than most internships, you can take on greater responsibilities and get a better real-world feel for the job. Another advantage is that many companies use co-ops as a six-month “interview” for a full-time position after graduation. We encourage you to learn more about co-op requirements.

What is an Internship?
An internship is another great way to get an inside look at a future career. It is a summer-only position which usually lasts between 8 and 12 weeks. Responsibilities vary greatly with each company, but you’ll leave with real-world experience and a solid reference on your resume. A few internships count for academic credit and can be worked during the academic semester or summer months. Contact the Career Center for more information and learn about internship requirements.

Benefits of Participating in an Co-op and Internship Programs:

  • Explore jobs in your desired field
  • Gain valuable experience before entering the workforce full time
  • Increase your competitive advantage for full time jobs
  • Grow your network of professional references before you graduate
Experiential Learning Program Options:
Fall Co-op + Spring Co-op
Students are eligible to take up to two semesters off in order to go on co-op. Doing two consecutive co-ops will give a student the chance to gain a full year of experience while trying out different companies and different types of jobs.  Students who participate in this program will gain comprehensive knowledge of what they are able to do with their major after graduation.
Fall Co-op + Spring Study Abroad
This program allows a student to take the Fall semester to gain valuable work experience, and then take the Spring semester to become a more globally mindful person. This option is excellent for students who are interested in working for large companies with global locations. Students who participate are expected to meet the requirements and deadlines for both Co-op and Study Abroad.
1 Year Co-op at the Same Company
By taking two semesters off and going on co-op for a full year, the student will really get an in-depth idea of how the company works and what the full time job will entail. Upon graduation, the student will have one full year of experience, which will be invaluable during the full time job search.
1 Semester Co-op (Spring or Fall)
Students will gain between 6 and 9 months of hands-on experience in industry. Semester co-ops often add on the summer months in order to extend the experience. For example, a Fall Semester Co-op might run from the end of May to the end of December. Students taking one semester for co-op can sometimes graduate in four years, depending on the flexibility of their course schedules. Advisors can help map out an academic plan for each individual student.
Internship (Summer Only)
Internships are a great way to obtain some hands-on experience. They are usually completed over an 8 to 12 week period.  Students can complete an internship at any class level during the time that they are enrolled. Students are encouraged to start gaining experience early and fit in as much as they can before graduation. Multiple internship experiences will create a well-rounded student upon graduation.

Other Early Career Experiences
It’s never too early to start gaining experience! Here are some examples of how students my begin acquiring experience or gain insight into job fields as early as their Freshman year:

  • Network with Alumni

  • Visit a company – the Career Center sponsors employer visits throughout the school year

  • Volunteer opportunities

  • Short-term projects

Where We Work
In recent years, Clarkson students have worked co-ops and internships within a variety of industries at all types of companies, large and small, including:

  • General Electric

  • Johnson & Johnson

  • Advance Testing

  • Borg Warner

  • Innovative Delivery Systems

  • The Raymond Corporation

  • Husky IMS

  • DuPont

  • JMA Wireless

  • Procter & Gamble

  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

For questions or more information about co-ops and internships, please contact Margo Johnston – Assistant Director of Internship and Cooperative Education Programs by calling 315-268-6478 or emailing

Explore our database of previous co-op & internship experiences

Patrick Chevier
When he learned that he had a summer internship at Honeywell’s Imaging and Mobility Division in Skaneateles Falls, N.Y., Patrick Chevier knew he would be at least somewhat involved in global supply chain operations. But he had no idea how valuable, interesting and satisfying that three-month experience would turn out.

Read more about Patrick's story.

New Clarkson Grads Earn More Than Harvard’s

Asked by ABC News to find colleges whose new grads earn more than Harvard's, PayScale’s list of 12 includes Clarkson.

Clarkson University Graduates Have Most Internship Experience

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Clarkson University #1 for having the highest rate of graduating seniors with internship experience.

Professional Experience Paperwork
School of Engineering
School of Business

Project ION: Resource for finding internships in Central NY

Where have other students been?
Fall 2012 Co-op Locations
Summer 2012 Internship Locations
Spring 2012 Co-op Locations
Fall 2011 Co-op Locations
Summer 2011 Internship Locations
Spring 2011 Co-op Locations