Engineering Opportunities Overview
Being an engineering student opens up - quite literally - a world of opportunities! You can get involved in world-class research, gain real-world work experience with companies through internships and co-ops, study abroad, and even start a business!
Swipe through this section to learn more about Research, Internships & Co-Ops, and Study Abroad.
Research is one of the core pillars of Purdue University, receiving over $500M in research awards in the 2019-2020 academic year ($212M went to the College of Engineering specifically). For our students, this means that not only can they pursue their master’s or Ph. D. at Purdue if they wish but that they can also get involved in research activities as an undergraduate and as early as their first semester on campus!
Each year, there are over 2,000 undergraduate research projects happening across campus, and there are lots of different ways to get involved in research:
- Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF): Hosted by Purdue but open to students across the country, SURF is an 11-week summer program that includes research activities, professional development seminars, social activities, and more. Students are also paid for the experience!
- Discovery Undergraduate Research Internship (DURI): Administered by the Purdue Research Foundation which manages a series of research parks across the state, the DURI program offers students semester-long research opportunities year-round. Students can typically choose to receive credit or pay for their participation.
- Reaching out to faculty: The way most of our students get involved in research is by reaching out directly to the professors who are engaged in research projects they are interested in. Purdue hosts a Research Roundtable every semester that is set up similar to a career fair – professors set up booths to advertise their research projects, and all Purdue students are invited to attend to find projects they would be interested in working on.
The Engineering Undergraduate Research Office (EURO) is a fantastic resource for all engineering undergrads to learn about the many pathways and opportunities for getting involved in research – both in engineering and in all other fields.
Engineering Undergraduate Research Office (EURO)
Engineering Research Areas
Internships & Co-Ops
Internships and co-ops offer students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience, apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world problems, and earn a significant salary to help pay for college.
Since Purdue is known around the globe, employers from around the world come to our campus to hire students for internship, co-ops, and full-time positions. Employers say that Purdue is usually at the top of their short list of colleges to visit because of the quality and preparation of our students, and many of the recruiters that come to Purdue and Purdue alumni themselves. With over 30 career fairs and more than 1700 different employers visiting campus every year, there are plenty of opportunities for students to connect with potential employers and gain valuable work experiences. The largest career fair hosted at Purdue is called Industrial Roundtable (IR). One of the largest student-run career fairs in the country, IR takes place in early September and attracts over 350 companies every year!
There are two main types of work opportunities for undergraduate students prior to graduation – internships and co-ops. Internships are typically a “one-and-done” offering where students work for an employer for a specified term and may or may not be invited back for future terms. Most internships take place during the summer, though there are also opportunities during fall and spring semesters. Co-ops, on the other hand, are long-term commitments between a student and an employer where the student will work for that company for anywhere from 3-5 sessions prior to graduation.
Students involved in a co-op program typically alternate between work and study – one semester they are on campus studying full-time, and the next semester they are working full-time for their employer – but there are also opportunities for back-to-back work sessions. Participating in a co-op program typically extends graduation by 1-2 semesters, however students are not paying tuition while working off-campus so they are not paying extra, and students find it well worth the extra time because of the experiences they receive. The co-op programs at Purdue are administered through the Office of Professional Practice (OPP), which maintains relationships with employers around the world and help students find co-op opportunities and navigate through the program.
Co-ops are not unique to Purdue, however we are one of few co-op programs in the country where students commit to the same employer rather than changing employers for subsequent co-op sessions. Students are able to build long relationships with their employer, work on more projects, and take on increasingly responsible roles in their work sessions.
Determining to do an internship or co-op often comes down to student preference. Internships are great for students looking to work for multiple employers across different fields, while co-op opportunities are great for students who are looking to gain greater breadth and depth of experience in a particular industry. No matter which option a student chooses, they will receive fantastic experience as well as excellent pay – on average a Purdue Engineering undergraduate student will earn between $20-$30/hour while working on internships or co-ops.
Office of Professional Practice
Center for Career Opportunities
There are a variety of opportunities open to students at Purdue to explore the world. Studying abroad allows students to combine unique cultural experiences with gaining professional skills. Programs range in duration from one week, one month, one semester, or even up to one year and can fit into your plan of study with any major. There are even opportunities for incoming students to take a trip the summer before starting classes at Purdue!
Students have multiple resources to find study abroad opportunities available to them: through their major; through the Global Engineering Programs & Partnerships (GEP2) office, which offers a variety of engineering-specific opportunities to work, study, or participate in research abroad; and through the Purdue Study Abroad Office, which maintains a database of all programs across campus.
Students interested in an immersive global option are encouraged to check out the Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education (GEARE) program. GEARE is the most comprehensive global engineering training program in the country and combines foreign language study, at least one full semester of study abroad, domestic and global internship/research experiences, cultural training seminars, and global design team projects. GEARE fits into the 4 year plan of study, and students receive a Global Engineering Studies minor for completing the program. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience!
Purdue Study Abroad