What is an Internship vs. Co-op?

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.

How can I benefit from participating in an Engineering Internship program?

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.

Can graduate students (Masters/PhD) do internships and co-ops?

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

What is UICcareers.com and why should I utilize it?

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!

When should I start my job/internship search?

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.

How/Where do I find an engineering internship, co-op or job?

You have many resources available to you. Your network includes Engineer Career Center, UICcareers, faculty, friends, family, applying directly to company websites, job fairs, utilizing job search engines and many more. Check out the ECC Career Resources page.

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

UIC Engineering Career Center - General Posting Disclaimer

The UIC Engineering Career Center undertakes reasonable efforts to ensure that job/internship and other third-party experiential postings are legitimate positions for the companies and other public and private entities who offer them. The UIC Engineering Career Center is not responsible and disclaims all liability for the accuracy of employer and job/internship/experiential information contained herein. The Engineering Career Center neither screens nor performs background checks on employers/third-party program sponsors. The UIC Engineering Career Center makes no representation or guarantee about posted positions/experiences and is not responsible and disclaims all liability for an applicant’s safety, wages, working conditions or other aspects of off-campus employment/internships/experiences. It is each student’s responsibility to thoroughly research the integrity of each organization to which he or she is applying. The student should take all care and use common sense and caution when applying for or accepting any position. Furthermore, all hiring and compensation (if any) for work performed by a student for the employer is handled directly between the student and the employer. The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois shall not be responsible and disclaims all liability for any direct or indirect harm, damage or loss incurred by any person who accesses or uses information provided herein, regardless of the nature of the claim or cause of action.