Internships

An internship is a one-semester work experience that is available to all graduate engineering students who have completed at least one academic year (i.e., fall and spring semesters) at Penn State. 

Internships in the fall or spring semesters are 12–15 weeks long; summer internships are 10–12 weeks long.  You may do more than one internship if you have the time in your schedule.

Internships provide valuable opportunities to:

  • Develop your technical and teamwork skills in the real world
  • Build your professional network and find mentors
  • Gain a sense of professional competence
  • Become an experienced job applicant before you graduate

Enrollment

You can receive credit for a graduate internship by being enrolled either in ENGR 595 (1 credit) or for thesis credit. Talk to your graduate adviser to determine how you can use internship credit within your department.

ENGR 595 (Graduate Internship) is a controlled course. To get enrolled:

  • Formally accept an employment offer (verbally and/or in writing).
  • Complete our Employment Survey, which provides us with basic information about your planned internship, location, and employment timeframe.

If you plan to register for thesis credit, you may do so independently.

If you are an international student, please note that you are required to be enrolled for credit during your internship semester, per the conditions of your student visa.  You may also have restrictions on the type of work you are able to do or when you are able to work.  Please check with an adviser in the University Office of Global Programs regarding any special eligibility requirements and see the office’s website regarding international student employment.

Tuition

You must pay tuition for either the ENGR 595 credit or thesis credit. The specific amount will depend on your degree status, your college, and whether or not you are a Pennsylvania resident. The University's Tuition and College Cost Estimator can help you determine the amount you will be expected to pay.

To receive an accurate bill:

  • If you have registered for on-campus courses during the semester when you intend to work and you want to drop those classes, wait until you see ENGR 595 on your transcript.  Then, when you log into LionPATH to drop your classes, you will see a message asking you whether or not you intend to be registered as a full-time student.  You must indicate that you do not intend to be a full-time student.
  • If you have not registered for any on-campus courses during the semester when you intend to work, wait until you see ENGR 595 on your transcript, then contact the Office of the Bursar and indicate that you do not intend to be enrolled full-time while you are working.

NOTE: Although the Office of the Registrar considers you a full-time student even when you are registered for only 1–3 internship or co-op credits, the Office of the Bursar will not generate an accurate bill unless you indicate that you do not intend to be registered as a full-time student.

For any questions about tuition or your bill, contact the Office of the Bursar (814-865-6528).

Course Requirements

All students who are registered for ENGR 595 must complete the following four requirements, submitted electronically via the Internship and Co-op Assignment Management System (Penn State user ID and password required).

Work Period Registration Form

This online form provides basic information about your workplace and contact information for both you and your supervisor.  You must complete this form within two weeks of the start of your work experience.

Mid-Semester Evaluation

Both you and your supervisor should complete this form following a meeting to assess your performance approximately halfway through your work experience.  We will send both you and your supervisor notifications by email when it’s time to complete this form.

End-of-Semester Evaluation

Both you and your supervisor should complete this form following a meeting to assess your performance at the end of your work experience.  We will send both you and your supervisor notifications by email when it’s time to complete this form.

End-of-Semester Report

This is a final report that summarizes your experience and gives you a chance to evaluate what you have learned from your internship or co-op.  It should be written as a Word document, 5–10 pages long (excluding graphs, charts, or photos), double spaced and using a standard 10–12-point font.  Use first-person language (e.g., “I worked at…”) and your best spelling and grammar.

Include your name, major, course, semester worked, employer, location, and Penn State email address at the top of the first page.

In the body of your report, provide details about:

  • Your employer (e.g., size, location, products/services)
  • Your day-to-day job responsibilities
  • How you used the technical skills you have learned at Penn State in your job
  • Differences you noticed between what it’s like being a student vs. being a working engineer
  • Intercultural differences you noted between American and international colleagues, if relevant (especially important if you worked at a domestic company with a lot of overseas locations, if you worked overseas, or if you are an international student working in the U.S.)
  • How the internship or co-op helped you to grow professionally
  • How the internship or co-op has impacted your future academic and career objectives

Your supervisor must review and approve your report prior to submission to ensure that you have not included any proprietary information.

End-of-Semester Reports are due on the last day of class in any given semester.

Work Schedules and Compensation

Daily work schedules vary by employer, although most interns start work between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. and end between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.  Your employer will discuss your work schedule with you after you have accepted a position.

Graduate-level engineering internships are almost always paid; compensation varies by employer and by field of study. 

Information for Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs, including internship and co-op courses.

If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic adjustments in an internship or co-op course, contact the Student Disability Resources (SDR) office at 814-863-1807 (V/TTY). For further information regarding SDR, please visit the Student Disability Resources website.

In order to receive consideration for course accommodations, you must contact SDR and provide documentation regarding your disability. If the documentation supports the need for academic adjustments, SDR will provide a letter identifying appropriate adjustments. Please share this letter and discuss the adjustments with us as early as possible once you are registered for an internship or co-op course. You must contact SDR and request academic adjustment letters at the beginning of each semester you are working (if working more than one semester).

 

Engineering Career Resources & Employer Relations

College of Engineering

117 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-863-1032