Mariah Schiaretti

BA Journalism


I can't stress how important internships are. In my junior year I had two internships...


What's the Difference Between an Internship and Co-op?

Co-operative Education (Co-op)

Co-ops are generally entry level, requiring little or no prior work experience, and are paid. To qualify, undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 GPA, and graduate students a 3.0 GPA.  Co-op positions are considered to be a partnership among the student, employer, and university with specified responsibilities for each party.  The student gains practical experience and knowledge in a specific job while making a bona fide contribution to the employing organization; the employer gains a reliable, enthusiastic worker; and the university develops a positive partnership with the business, government, or not-for-profit agency.


In contrast, internships may be paid or non-paid.  They are primarily intended for juniors, seniors, and graduate students.  Such positions are considered pre-managerial, pre-professional, supervisory, or technical in nature.  They may entail either part-time or full-time work and usually last for three to nine months.  In order to qualify, undergraduate students must maintain a minimum 2.7 GPA, and graduate students a 3.0 GPA.  Internships, particularly those that are non-paid, are designed to provide the student with broad exposure to an organization or profession.  Thus, an intern is considered more like a “trainee” than an employee by the sponsoring organization.  A position consisting primarily of clerical tasks such as filing and copying would not be considered an internship. Students should have the chance to learn new skills, explore career interests, and meet new social and intellectual challenges.