Southern Polytechnic State University

Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2012-2013

Experiential Education (Cooperative Education and Internship)

Benefits of participating in Cooperative Education or an Internship include:

  • Providing career related hands-on work experience
  • Earning a competitive salary for school and tuition expenses
  • Learning the company culture
  • Networking with professionals
  • Helping get your foot in-the-door for full-time employment
  • Developing self-confidence
  • Establishing valuable contacts for letters and references
  • Gaining practical experience in the work environment
  • Improving opportunities for post-graduate jobs
  • An opportunity to work with professionals in your field
  • Learning to work with colleagues

Cooperative Education

Southern Polytechnic State University offers its students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience related to their academic majors through a university-work sponsored cooperative education program. The co-op program is provided on an alternating-semester basis in most bachelor degree programs. Co-op is founded on the principle that learning takes place through practical experience as well as through academic achievement. In addition, co-op helps students in their career decision making process and provides substantial support for education expenses.

Undergraduate Students wishing to apply for the co-op program must:

  • Have completed at least 24 semester hours of academic credit toward their degree
  • Must have completed at least one semester at SPSU
  • Be full-time (carry at least 12 hours) the semester before going to work as a co-op
  • Have and maintain a minimum 2.00 GPA (many employers require higher averages)
  • Commit to participate in a minimum of three (3) alternating co-op work terms
  • Attend an orientation session and meet with the program coordinator

Co-op students are required to follow all guidelines set forth by the Career and Counseling Center, as well as the rules and regulations of the university. In addition to university requirements, students must meet any additional company co-op requirements. Students unable to maintain university or company co-op requirements may be given one probationary term to correct deficiencies before being withdrawn from the co-op program.

A co-op program can be started with industry in a number of ways:

  • University referral
  • Student contact
  • Industry initiation

The Career and Counseling Center refers students to employers after they have been approved as a co-op applicant. Note that acceptance as a co-op applicant does not guarantee a student's employment in a co-op position. The employer has the final decision regarding offering co-op employment. Upon acceptance of a co-op position, the student is expected to remain with that company for a minimum of three (3) co-op work terms.

Co-op salaries are determined by the employer and normally increase with job responsibilities. Board and lodging during work terms are the responsibility of the student, but in most cases co-op employers can provide assistance in locating suitable accommodations. Students with metro-Atlanta co-op assignments may live in Southern Polytechnic State University housing. In addition, students with local co-op work assignments are eligible to participate in all co-curricular, intramural, and health service activities on campus with the payment of the regular student athletic, activity, and health fees. Although no credit is awarded, the university views co-op students as active, continuing, full-time students during their periods of approved work experience.

Although neither the student nor the employer makes a commitment for full-time employment upon completion of the co-op program, many Southern Polytechnic State University co-op students are offered career employment with their co-op employers. Satisfactory completion of both requirements for graduation and co-op guidelines make an undergraduate student eligible to receive recognition for participation in the co-op program on their Southern Polytechnic State University diploma and academic record. Students interested in the co-op program should attend a co-op orientation session (dates posted on the Career and Counseling Center's website).

Internship Program

The Southern Polytechnic State University Internship program is a short-term work experience in a professional environment where the emphasis is on learning versus earnings. It is designed to enhance academic, personal, and professional development and will assist students in making a smooth transition from the classroom to the world of work, or to provide students with insight about potential careers. Usually, an Internship is a one-time experience for a student who has attained at least some academic preparation in a professional field.

Internship Eligibility and Requirements:

  • Be a registered, full-time student at the time of application to the program and during the semester prior to going to work
  • Have at least a 2.0 GPA (many employers require higher averages)
  • Must have completed at least 24 semester hours of academic credit toward their degree
  • Must have completed at least one semester at SPSU
  • Attend an orientation session and meet with the program coordinator

International Students:

International students must meet all internship eligibility requirements to participate in the program and they must obtain written eligibility authorization from the International Services Coordinator in the ATTIC before beginning EACH working assignment. Due to the INS regulations, International students are not permitted to Intern more than one and a half-academic years for undergraduates and one academic year for graduates. Once an Internship is obtained, International students MUST return to the International Office to complete additional paper work. International students failing to do so will be DROPPED from the Internship Program.