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 engineers do on the job. This experience also helps students determine what career path they may choose after graduation, 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 engineering science 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 engineering science students, please refer to the Undergraduate Program Guide.

Students are also encouraged to visit the Engineering Co-op & Internship Program website for more information on opportunities, as well as to gain access to many resources that can help in writing resumes and preparing for interviews.


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.

Visit the Engineering Co-op & Internship Program website for more information on internship opportunities.

Where have our students worked?

The following is a sampling of where students in our Engineering Science program have obtained co-op positions and internships in the past.

  • Apple Computer
  • Exxon Mobil
  • General Electric
  • General Motors
  • Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Mercury Plastics
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Tyco Electronics
  • US Army Research Laboratory
  • Westinghouse


The Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) is an internationally distinguished department that is recognized for its globally competitive excellence in engineering and scientific accomplishments, research, and educational leadership.

Our Engineering Science program is the official undergraduate honors program of the College of Engineering, attracting the University’s brightest engineering students. We also offer graduate degrees in ESM, engineering mechanics, engineering at the nano-scale, and an integrated undergraduate/graduate program.

Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics

212 Earth and Engineering Sciences Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-4523