Internships and Co-Op Opportunities | Defined

Both Internships and Co-Op programs are very flexible to allow students to work during an academic semester, during the summer, or over more than one semester. Either way both the students and the employer benefit from the work relationship.

  • Cooperative education (co-op) is a work experience that is between 30-40 hours per week at an organization where the work is directly related to the student’s major. These experiences are not for academic credit; rather, the student must learn at least minimum wage, and the employer must agree to complete a pre-co-op position description form and a post-co-op evaluation. While on co-op, students maintain full-time student status and they do not pay tuition unless also taking additional courses. Co-ops can last one semester or a semester plus summer.


  • An internship is a position within an organization that provides students with a professional-level training experience and/or gives them the opportunity to explore a specific career. 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 (varying from 1-14 credits) and to assign a related academic project. The UMass guideline for earning credit is: For one credit, a student must work at least 40 hours. During the academic semester, students can go on internship part-time while also taking classes.

For an in-depth definition of the Field Experience types, please click here