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College of Engineering

Professional Practice Programs:
Cooperative Education and Internships

The College of Engineering offers numerous work experience programs that allow students to gain a practical understanding of their chosen field. While completing the requirements for their engineering degrees, participating students will experience the challenge, working conditions and rewards of the engineering profession. Students considering graduate study can gain experience with instrumentation, experimental techniques and project management that are valuable assets in graduate studies and research. Additionally, students can earn a significant salary that they can apply toward a portion of their college costs by participating in these programs.

Purdue offers work experience programs that are based on both the internship and cooperative education (co-op) models. Internship programs are shorter, project-based experiences designed to provide a brief introduction to an employer and a sense of the culture within a particular segment of the engineering world. Internship experiences have less than one year total on-the-job time, and there is no commitment from the employer for continuation. Internship programs typically utilize the summer terms only. Co-op experiences are longer, more structured programs. Co-op students complete more than one year of on-the-job training, and they remain with a single employer throughout their program. Co-op students get a broader view of a host organization through rotations in a variety of departments. Co-op programs typically utilize year-round alternating sessions of work and academic study at domestic and international sites.

All Purdue professional practice programs are optional, by-invitation-only programs. Different programs have different requirements, but as a general rule, the longer the cumulative work experience, the higher the graduation index required for participation. The details of the various program options are available from the Office of Professional Practice (OPP) or the individual schools within the College of Engineering. Upon completion of a professional practice program, the student will receive, in addition to his or her bachelor's degree, a certificate of completion for the particular program. There is a nominal work experience fee collected by the Office of the Bursar during the off-campus work terms, and all professional practice experiences are transcript-recorded by the Office of the Registrar. The Purdue University Professional Practice Program is nationally recognized for innovation and academic excellence, and it is the largest in the Big Ten Conference. To find out more, visit the website at www.opp.purdue.edu.

GEARE Program

The Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education (GEARE) program is a unique and award-winning program that originated in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue. Since 2009, the Office of Professional Practice has assumed all GEARE operations and opened up the program to all College of Engineering students. GEARE is designed to supplement the education of engineers so they are prepared to function immediately in the global workplace. Students in the program participate in an orientation program, 12 credit hours of foreign languages, one domestic internship, one subsequent international internship (preferably at the same company), one semester of study abroad with fully transferable engineering course credits, and a one-semester to two-semester design team project with design teams that include students from international partner universities working on an industry-inspired project.

Interested students are encouraged to refer to the OPP website