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College of Science

Professional Practice Program

The College of Science Professional Practice Program gives science students the opportunity to alternate periods of supervised professional employment with periods of University coursework while studying for their bachelor's degrees.

If you choose to participate in professional practice, it may take longer to earn your degree, but you will receive several important benefits. Based on past experience of students in Professional Practice Programs, you can expect that (1) your earnings from your employment will be enough to pay a substantial portion of your remaining years of study, and (2) you will gain valuable professional experience in your scientific field — giving you a feeling for the career you select, making your coursework more relevant and increasing your value as a future employee.

As a professional practice student, you will attend Purdue for about two academic years before your first work experience. After that, you will alternate periods of academic study with periods of work experience. The actual study-work schedule depends on your major and professional practice employer. Your professional practice employer will have been approved by the University and will have agreed to give you a meaningful work experience related to your scientific interests. Normally, you will work for the same employer throughout your baccalaureate program and be given increasing responsibility with each work period.

Each department in the College of Science determines its own eligibility requirements for participation and has a departmental coordinator of the program. (Departmental requirements are given in the departmental sections of this catalog.) The departmental coordinator counsels students in the program and has information about available jobs.

You must apply to the coordinator in your department to be accepted into the Professional Practice Program. If you are an interdisciplinary science student, apply to the coordinator in the department of your major science concentration or to the College of Science professional practice coordinator. If you are interested in the program, you should contact the departmental coordinator as early as possible to facilitate job placement and to assure your eligibility.

The University, through a professional practice coordinator, supervises you and your employer during work periods. After each work period, you must write a comprehensive report about your work experience. At graduation, students who complete at least four work periods receive a certificate indicating that they have completed the Professional Practice Program.

While employed as a professional practice student, you must register for noncredit departmental courses numbered 09100, 09200, 09300, 09400 or 09500 and pay the special University fee for program registration.