Co-ops and Internships

Participating in the College of Engineering’s Engineering Co-op and 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.

Cooperative Education

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.



The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569