Internships and Co-ops

Undergraduates typically complete a summer internship or longer co-op experience to prepare for full-time careers or graduate school.

Undergraduate internships

Internships are around 12-weeks long and take place during summer months after your sophomore or junior years. Work with your chemical engineering advisor to talk about internship options. The Engineering Career Center has several job and internship resources available, too.

Why complete an internship?

  • Gain first-hand experience in the industry
  • Develop skills independently and among a team
  • Start forming your network and making connections
  • Learn from people outside of your immediate peers and professors
  • Begin to put your classroom and lab techniques into practice
  • Make yourself a competitive candidate when searching for full-time positions
  • Help define your career focus and fill gaps with electives

Engineering Co-op program

The College of Engineering offers a Cooperative Education Program (Co-op), which CBE students can take advantage during their junior year. Co-ops are longer than internships—28 weeks—and involve working full time during the fall semester of your junior year and then again the summer before your senior year with the same employer. 

Why participate in Co-op?

  • The longer duration of the program allows you to immerse yourself in the industry
  • Hit the ground running when you return to work the summer before your senior year
  • Work on substantive projects over a period of several months
  • Get to know the ins and outs of working for a corporation or organization
  • Learn from both teammates and colleagues
  • Gain an entire semester PLUS a summer’s worth of experience in your field—this can reflect well on your resume
  • You’ll still graduate on time and complete all your degree requirements
  • You will get paid for your work and you’ll work full time

Typical Co-op sequence:

  1. Complete the spring semester of your sophomore year and declare your major
  2. Take summer courses during Cornell’s Summer Session to stay on track.
    Summer Session Information can be found here: Co-op Summer Session website
  3. Work full time in Co-op during the fall of your junior year.
  4. Come back to Cornell for spring classes during your junior year.
  5. Work full time in Co-op during the summer before your senior year.
  6. Complete your senior year at Cornell.