Field experiences—co-ops and internships—give you the chance to work in your field and gain experience. Participating in one or more field experiences while at UMass is one of the best ways to prepare for your career.
There are a wide range of field experience opportunities for students. You can Intern or be on Co-op during an academic semester or during the summer, and potentially work near UMass Amherst or far from campus. All co-ops are paid. Some internships are paid while others are not. But they all provide valuable experience for you and your resume.
See our Calendar for when Internship and Co-op Information Sessions are held during the academic year in Goodell, where a member of our field experience staff will be available to answer your questions.
It is never too early to start thinking about getting some experience. Even first-year students may begin by participating in uncredited internships and other opportunities (volunteer work, campus activities, job shadowing, informational interviewing) to build skills and prepare for later internships. Go to Other Opportunities for more ideas.
Differences: Internships Vs Co-ops
An internship is a position in an organization that provides you with a professional-level training experience. Internships happen year-round, they may be paid or unpaid, for credit or not. Credited internships require a faculty sponsor to determine the applicable number of credits and to assign an academic project. Read more about the process for doing creditable internships.
A co-op is a four to nine-month position related to your major, for which you are working at least 20 hours per week if part-time and 35-40 hours per week if full-time and earning at least minimum wage. During a fall or spring co-op, you will set school aside for a period of time, yet maintain your status as an enrolled UMass Amherst student without paying tuition. When you complete the co-op, after we receive the evaluations and you have logged your hours, co-op recognition can appear on your transcript. Read more about the process for doing non-credit co-ops.
Scholarships Are Available!
The primary benefit of an internship is the experience. Unpaid internships can provide you with great content for your resume, so don't skip over them as you search. To help, the University offers several scholarship awards to support students doing unpaid internships or research. Students should apply directly to the department or college offering each specific scholarship. Download our two helpful lists for eligibility and application information:
Students are encouraged to check with your department faculty and college office for additional scholarship opportunities. We also encourage you to seek additional scholarships from sources outside of UMass.
Field Experience Office Staff
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413-545-2224
Mary Lysakowski, Field Experience Program Manager
Candice Serafino, Director of Career Services and Employer Relations
Sharon Jefferson, Employer Relations Administrator
Compliance Message to Employers on Unpaid Internships
The University of Massachusetts Amherst complies with the U.S. Department of Labor’s "Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regarding unpaid internships. In order to protect themselves from any potential liability which could arise from the offering of an unpaid internship, the employer should make sure that the internship opportunity meets each of the six following guidelines developed by the WHD.
1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to what would be given in a vocational school or academic educational instruction;
2. The training is for the benefit of the trainees;
3. The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under their close observation;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded;
5. The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period; and
6. The employer and the trainees understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages of the time spent in training.
For more information go to the WHD’s website
If you have any questions, please contact: email@example.com