Internship: An internship is an opportunity to work in a career related, supervised work assignment. A structured internship should contribute to the student’s personal and professional development through challenging, engineering related work assignments.
Internship opportunities can vary in many ways.
They can be part-time or full-time commitments (anywhere between 10-40 hrs/week)
They can be held during any semester, summer (or continually)
In the UIC COE program, they do not count for academic credit, but can be put on the student’s permanent UIC college transcript
Co-op: A co-op is a more formal internship program. The student is required to work in an alternating work schedule: students alternate school semesters and work assignments (employer requirements may vary). Please see Engineering Career Center for more information on co-op programs.
Engineering internships and co-ops help students gain practical experience, technical knowledge, financial remuneration, confidence and better understanding of the engineering academic program. The experience gained generally makes students more marketable to employers, thus their job search is more rewarding and takes a shorter amount of time. In this competitive job market, internships are considered critical to securing full-time employment upon graduation, especially in the engineering field. We recommend that you complete a minimum of two internships prior to graduation.
Yes. Graduate students can participate in the program, just like undergrads. All students find their own internships or co-ops and then must inform the ECC. Reminder: Graduate and undergraduate students who are studying in the USA on a student visa should attend one of the regular UIC Office of International Services (OIS) workshops on employment & procedures for obtaining work authorization in the USA. Office of International Services website
UICcareers is an online job search portal that UIC subscribes to. This is where you can find internship, co-op and part/full-time employment opportunitites. Employers also use the site to search for potential interns and employees. If you do not keep your profile on UICcareers updated each term, the filters will not find you when employers or the ECC conducts a search. UICcareers is not connected to the UIC data system, so you must update your profile whenever you get a new phone number, new address, etc. Students should update their profile information on UICcareers each semester. Keep your resume updated too!
You may apply for internships as early as your freshman year. Employers prefer that you complete multiple internships before graduation. For a summer internship, you should start looking in late fall or early spring semester. For full-time employment, you should start searching for a job at least six months before graduation.
International Students & CPT - I am a student studying at UIC on a student visa. Is there something special I need to do before accepting an internship or co-op job offer?
Yes! You must be aware of the opportunities and restrictions of a student visa in regards to employment in the USA. International students may obtain a temporary work authorization to work off-campus; authorizations are made for one term at a time. If off-campus employment is to last longer than one term, the student must apply for a subsequent authorization. The USA program for work authorization for students is titled “Curricular Practical Training” or simply, “CPT.” Students should attend a CPT / employment workshop at the UIC OIS (Office of International Services), and read: http://www.ois.uic.edu/students/current/employment/ Please allow five business days from the date you get signed approval from the ECC and deliver that paperwork to OIS before you plan to start your first day of employment. UIC International students are allowed to work part time -up to 20 hours per week off campus – during the fall and spring school terms, and may work full time during the summer term. CPT authorization is not required for on-campus employment. For more details, contact OIS. Office of International Services website