The Georgia Tech Undergraduate Co-op Program is a five-year, academic program designed to complement a student's formal education with paid practical work experience directly related to the student's academic major. It is available in all engineering majors. Co-ops give students the opportunity to combine the theories learned in class with paid practical experience related to their major. Students have the opportunity to develop the work skills that most companies look for in the graduates they hire.
In Fall 2010, 2,418 undergraduate engineering students participated in the Co-op Program. Co-ops alternate semesters of on-campus study with semesters of full-time
employment through their junior year, then continue in school through their senior year. Co-ops are classified as full-time students during each term, regardless of whether they are attending classes on campus or working full-time.
An internship is a work experience related to a student's major and/or career interest that takes place during a semester. Internships are extremely valuable for students to see how engineering theories studied are applied in real life. Typically students participate in projects or work alongside practicing professionals as they tackle special day-to day challenges.
The duties assigned to students as interns depend on the area of engineering specialization. A civil engineering intern may work with CAD drafting or specification writing, or road/bridge construction inspection, or engineering design work such as urban design.
Mechanical engineering interns may assist in the design of mechanical systems such as air conditioning, heating or plumbing systems. Chemical engineering interns may work in a chemical technology laboratory carrying out analysis.
Internships give students real world experience in a professional job setting, networking opportunities that significantly increase their ability to get jobs after graduation, and explore potential careers. Employers seek engineering students with related job experience and use their internship programs to recruit entry-level talent.