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Experiential Learning


  • Internships are single semester work commitments to an employer. The shorter nature of internships gives the benefit of allowing students to work with multiple employers if they choose to do more than one internship; essentially, it allows students to try out employers before making longer commitments.
  • During the fall and spring semesters, internships must be part-time (less than 20 hours) and students must enroll in academic courses to maintain full time status. Full-time internships are offered during the summer semester, but graduate students cannot take summer courses concurrently with full-time internships. Part-time internships while taking summer courses is still allowed for graduate students.
  • Internships offer no administrative credit meaning they will not count towards the student’s full-time status for that term and will not fulfill any degree requirements. The internship will appear on students’ transcripts.


  • Co-op is short for cooperative education. These are multi-semester long commitments with one employer. The longer nature means that students will be more likely to be involved in long-term work projects and see the end product of their efforts. Therefore, many employers use co-ops to see if students are a potential fits for their company and can lead to a hire after graduation.
  • At a minimum students have to commit to at least 2 full time semesters, 4 part time semesters, or some equivalent combination; two part time semesters equal one full time semester. While these working terms do not need to be consecutive, the multi-term aspect means that co-ops cannot be started the student’s final semester; only part-time internships for the final semester are allowed.
  • Students will be given administrative credit for co-ops, meaning they will count towards their full-time status for that term, but will not fulfill any degree requirement. Co-op terms will appear on their transcripts.



There are many benefits of engaging in co-ops and internships. General benefits are listed below; those in bold are benefits that are specific to Career Services’ internship and co-op program.

  1. Apply school knowledge in practical work settings
  2. Learning which aspects of the profession best suits the student
  3. Networking
  4. Strengthens resume
  5. Monetary compensation
  6. Possibility to turn the employment into a permanent full-time position post-graduation
  7. Possibility to take reduced course load while still maintaining full-time status: Co-ops carry administrative credits and count towards the student’s minimum credit requirement. This is an advantage as it gives students more flexibility to manage work and academics and not overburden themselves on either. If a student chooses to take a full-time co-op during a spring or fall term, they will have the option to take zero academic courses. The differences between full-time and part-time co-ops and internships are outlined in the following chart.

    Full-Time/ Part-Time
  8. Advice and insight from Career Development Coaches based on years of evaluation data: Career Services has been collecting data and insight from students and employers for years especially from students in co-ops and internships programs registered through the school. By registering through Illinois Tech for a co-op or internship, students will have access to Career Services’s knowledge of employers who regularly employ Illinois Tech intern and co-op students and provide outstanding experiences for our students.
  9. Work terms will appear on official transcripts to prove work history: Many job applications will ask for school transcripts in addition to the resume and cover letter. Not only do transcripts serve to gauge academic merit, but it is an official document that proves the student has completed work terms complement the work history on a resume.
  10. Access to job postings categorized under “Experiential Learning” in Jobs4Hawks: Employers who post jobs through Jobs4Hawks have the option to indicate if the employment is considered “Experiential Learning”. If indicated as such, the posting will only be available to students in the experiential learning program through Career Services.