Co-ops and Internships
Participating in the College of Engineering’s Engineering Co-op & Internship Program is a great way to get real-world industry experience and better understand what practicing aerospace engineers do on the job. This experience also helps students determine what career path they may choose after graduation, and what future studies to pursue and skills to develop to achieve their career goals.
A co-op is a rotational experience that involves working with the same company or organization for a minimum of two semesters (with each rotation lasting 12–15 weeks in the fall or spring or 10–12 weeks in the summer). Although taking a semester off for a co-op may delay a student’s graduation date, graduates find the work experience to be well worth the extra time. Participants of the co-op program find that working for a longer period of time, at the same company, allows them to delve deeper into their assigned projects and many times, see them to completion and directly witness the impact the project has on the company. Graduates of the co-op program are also often offered a higher starting salary.
The co-op program for aerospace engineering students provides one full year of work experience divided into three segments: a fall semester, spring semester, and a summer session. These work periods alternate with periods in school. It is recommended that a student enter the program at the end of the sophomore year and schedule courses that summer. The first work experience normally begins in the following spring semester of the junior year.
For more details on the co-op program for aerospace engineering students, please refer to the Undergraduate Curriculum Guide.
An internship is an academic credit course for students any time after completion of their first semester at Penn State. It involves a short-term work experience at a company or organization, typically lasting one semester (12–15 weeks in the fall or spring or 10–12 weeks in the summer). Students may choose, though, to do several internships, and they have the option of working multiple rotations at one company by rolling into a co-op or working at multiple companies for multiple internships.