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Definitions Vary for Co-op and Internship

November 18, 2016 11:43 am Published by Leave your thoughts


The terms internship and co-op can vary at different schools. At Bradley University, we have a centralized Cooperative Education and Internship Program. We use the term ‘internships’ for most of our placements. Students work full-time alternating, full-time single semester, and/or part-time parallel. Internship employers offer structured programs, good training, hands-on supervision, and professional development opportunities. Most of the internships are paid experiences and many last beyond one semester.

But, what about co-op? At Bradley, we use the term ‘co-op’ for engineering placements that have three full-time work experiences arranged with the same company. If the student plans to work one or two full-time experiences with the same company, then we use the term ‘internship’. All engineering internships, that are registered experiences, must be full time.

What does it mean to register the experience? Bradley students have the opportunity to register their co-op or internship experiences. This allows them to go through a reflective learning process which complements the work. Experiences approved for registration must be career related, have good on-site supervision, and meet the rigorous number of required hours per semester. Zero credit courses are offered to allow students access to the monitored process without paying tuition. Students complete Learning Agreements, Goals Statement, Pre- and Post-Evaluation of Skills, and a Reflection Paper. Employer supervisors approve Learning Goals, respond to a Midpoint Check-in, and complete a Final Evaluation.

With a strong program in place, Bradley students actively pursue and compete for outstanding internship opportunities. We welcome new employer partners to our program. For more information, please visit

Author: Dawn Koeltzow, Director, Springer Center for Internships, Bradley University, Peoria, IL.

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