Cooperative Education

Cooperative Education is similar in definition to internships in that both are a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Both give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.  Additionally, in a formal, structured program with faculty supervision, there is the opportunity to improve the curriculum and impact academic research.  

How Are Co-ops Different from Internships?

A co-op position:

  • Is always paid.
  • Always involves multiple semesters - minimum of two, usually three semesters.
  • Is always for academic credit. The credit is given for the learning, not the work. Thus experience must be related to the student's major of study and future career goals. Future terms must build on experience gained from the first term with increased responsibilities and increased opportunity for learning.
  • May be alternating or parallel.
    • Alternating - Student alternates semesters of full-time work with full-time study. Alternating students maintain their full-time student status while working. Students may take classes during their working term if their work schedule allows.
    • Parallel - Student works part-time while enrolled in classes full-time.

Does MTSU Offer Co-ops?

Yes. Employers may log into  Lightning JobSource and post co-op positions just as they post other positions. The Career Development Center (CDC) requires the same posting guidelines for all positions as described in our Policies, Terms and Conditions section. The awarding of academic credit is arranged between the student and the academic department. The CDC does not award credit. MTSU does not have a separate Co-op Office.