Co-op and Internships FAQs

What is a Co-op?

A co-op, short for "cooperative education," is a paid position with a company for a full academic semester and often the summer. Students on co-op do not usually take classes during their time away from campus and do not pay tuition or room and board fees while on co-op. Co-ops offer several advantages over internships. Since co-ops are longer than most internships, participants can take on greater responsibilities and get a better real-world feel for the job. Many companies use co-ops as a six-month "interview" for a full-time position after graduation

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 that usually lasts between eight and 12 weeks. Responsibilities vary greatly with each company, but students leave with real-world experience and a solid reference on their resume.

How do Clarkson students find internships & co-ops?

As a student service, the Career Center bridges student and employer connections through job postings on Handshake, Career Fairs and campus interviewing.

  • Over 2,200 students a year use the Career Center as a resource in finding internships, co-ops and full-time positions. 
  • Our professional Career Center staff work with every student on a one-on-one basis to help find the right opportunities to fit their future career goals. They utilize Clarkson's successful alumni network of 44,000+ to make connections, provide networking opportunities and mentorship.
  • During the academic year, Clarkson hosts two annual Career Fairs. One in the Spring semester hosts 150+ employers and one in the Fall semester that hosts 190+ employers. 
  • The Career Center also hosts over 100 companies on campus throughout the school year for interviews outside the Career Fairs. 
How many Clarkson students complete an internship or co-op?

For the Class of 2019, 87% of undergraduate students participated in Clarkson's internship or co-op program. 

All students are encouraged to complete an internship or co-op, but some students have unique career goals that require unique opportunities. We strive to create a personalized experience for each and every student. For example, some students choose to perform research to fulfill their professional experience requirement if they are interested in a research-based career, a healthcare career, or want to pursue a Ph.D. in the future. 

When do Clarkson students typically complete a co-op or internship?

At Clarkson, we encourage our students to start getting real world experience as soon as possible. We offer pre-first year programs and early support because early experience leads to long-term success. 

First-year students attend our twice-a-year Career Fairs and many are offered internships the summer after their first year at Clarkson. Most students have completed their internship or co-op requirement by the beginning of their senior year. By graduation, many students have completed two or more internships and/or co-ops and have been offered full-time positions at companies they have already worked for. 

How does Clarkson's co-op program work?

Any student who has completed at least one semester at Clarkson and is in good academic standing is eligible to participate in a co-op. View full eligibility requirements here.

What companies do Clarkson students have hosted Clarkson internship and co-op students?

Clarkson has longstanding connections with many of the countries' top companies in a variety of industries. In fact, 1 in 5 Clarkson alumni is the CEO, senior executive or owner of a company. This creates many opportunities for our students. 

Companies are dependent on a student's major, interests and career goals.

A small sample of companies that have hosted Clarkson co-op and internship students includes Lockheed Martin, National Grid, General Dynamics, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, BAE Systems, General Electric, Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, Tesla, Google, Raytheon, IBM, and Estee Lauder. Learn more about companies related to specific academic majors on our undergraduate academic program pages. 

Why are internships and co-ops important?

Our data shows internships and co-ops positively impact placement rates and average starting salaries. Clarkson is known for our consistently high job placement rate (97% for the Class of 2020) and average starting salaries ($64,384 for the Class of 2020). 

Do students on co-op still pay Clarkson?

No, while on co-op, Clarkson students do not pay Clarkson any fees. 

Since co-ops are full-time paid positions, students typically do not take classes during the co-op semester. If a student chooses to enroll in additional courses, while on co-op, they do pay tuition for those courses. 

Student Co-op Stories

Jack Garrett '21

Electrical Engineering Major
Boston, MA

Internships: Summer 2018, facilities electrical engineering intern at Intel Corporation in Ocotillo, AZ; Summer 2020, project engineering intern at Tesla in Boston, MA

Co-op: January - August 2019, project design and engineering intern at Tesla in Palo Alto, CA

Hands-on Experience: Vice president/electrical lead of Clarkson's Formula SAE Electric car SPEED team; Power systems research assistant in Clarkson's Smart Power Systems and Controls Lab

What's next? Pursuing graduate education as a Fulbright Scholar at FUT University
 

Matheus Rutkowski '23

Global Supply Chain Management & Political Science Majors
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Internship: Fall 2020, intern at Aflac Insurance 

Hands-on Experience:

What's next? 

Student TBD '22

Electrical Engineering Major
Boston, MA

Internships: Summer 2018, facilities electrical engineering intern at Intel Corporation in Ocotillo, AZ; Summer 2020, project engineering intern at Tesla in Boston, MA

Co-op: January - August 2019, project design and engineering intern at Tesla in Palo Alto, CA

Hands-on Experience: Vice president/electrical lead of Clarkson's Formula SAE Electric car SPEED team; Power systems research assistant in Clarkson's Smart Power Systems and Controls Lab

What's next? Pursuing graduate education as a Fulbright Scholar at FUT University