School of Engineering accepts up to 6 credits from experiential based learning through their major department (ie. Mechanical Eng'g, Biomedical Eng'g, etc). There are two programs to earn credit for work experience: Internship and Co-op. Rutgers Career Services provide resources and support along with listings of internship and co-op opportunities through Rutgers Handshake, but students may also obtain positions on their own.
Internship: Engineering internship experiences, with the approval from the Undergraduate Directors, can be counted toward the engineering degree. Most engineering departments allow a summer internship or a part-time semester long internship to cover 3cr, usually as a technical elective. Students will register for an internship course within their major (Ex. 650:495). While on internship, the SoE recommends that students take a lighter course load. For more information on internship in major, please refer to your undergraduate handbook or contact the Undergraduate Director of your major. Note: The internship/co-op course can be counted as a Tech Elective. It's different from the Rutgers Internship/Co-op Course (RICC) offered by Rutgers CES which can only be counted as a general elective at SoE.
Co-op: Engineering students who have completed required major courses through the first semester of the junior year and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 are eligible to participate in the Co-op program. The School of Engineering Co-op for 6 credits (Ex. 650:496 or 497) requires that students complete a 6-month, full-time work experience in a corporate engineering position. This usually involves a continuous summer-fall or spring-summer experience. While on co-op students may register for up to two additional courses to maintain full-time enrollment. If any course is scheduled during daytime hours (periods 1 - 5) the student must provide a letter from the company stating that release time is approved to attend class and that the student is expected to make up the time to maintain full-time status. Registering for the other 2 classes is not required, however, in the cases where the student wants to take classes while on co-op, the maximum is 2 classes. For more information, contact the Undergraduate Director of your major.
Course registration: While on internship or co-op, students register for the appropriate course in their major. The student registers for 3 credits for internship or 6 credits for the co-op (no registration is required for summer). In order to participate students must provide information about the company and the position they are being hired for to the Undergraduate Director of their department, who in turn will issue a special permission number to register for the appropriate course. The Undergraduate Director will also describe requirements to receive a "pass" grade for the course, e.g. performance review by supervisor, final paper, etc (slightly different for each department), and will indicate the type of credit that will be earned, e.g. technical elective, departmental elective, general elective, etc. For more information, contact the Undergraduate Director of your major.
Working without course registration: If a student does not qualify for internship/co-op, does not want the course credit, or does not need the course credit, the student is eligible to act as a private citizen in securing a work experience, un-affiliated with Rutgers University. In these cases, the SoE does not object, however SoE also has no involvement in eligibility, participation, monitoring, or assessment of the student's work.
Part-time status: If students elect to register for less than 12cr while doing an internship or co-op, the University will consider them to be part-time students. They will pay part-time tuition and fees (pay per credit). Part- time status will affect most scholarships, need-based financial aid, and on-campus housing. If students enroll for at least 6 credits, they will still be eligible for loans, but most other aid will be canceled or reduced. Discuss this issue with Financial Aid. Registration for less than 12 credits might also cancel eligibility for coverage under family health care plans. Limited health insurance can be purchased from the University for the duration of the work assignment. This should be discussed with family and the health care provider.
Next steps: The normal steps in arranging a School of Engineering Co-op program include first obtaining a job offer (through Career Services, major department, or on own), discussing requirements and registration specifics with the Undergraduate Director of the major department. Once the student is registered for the co-op or internship, be sure to discuss with the advisor/dean in B100 to make sure the credits are applied correctly in Degree Navigator.
International students: International students who want to do CPT (Curricular Practical Training) must follow these steps in order:
- Refer to your undergraduate handbook or contact your Undergraduate Director in your major and submit a request to take the co-op or internship course in your major.
- If approved, the Undergraduate Director will provide you with information for getting registered for the internship or co-op course.
- The CPT course must be registered in the same term (Summer, Fall, or Spring) as the work takes place.
- CPT course registration must be for at least 1cr (0cr or 0.5cr is not acceptable).
- The student must comply with the departmental requirements for completing the course (ex. report, presentation, supervisor evaluation, etc).
- While on internship/co-op, the student must still comply with standard rules for international students, which often includes being a full time student during a regular semester.
- If the work does not qualify for credit from the department, the student can apply for the RICC program offered by Rutgers CES.
- Once registered and paid for the CPT course, the student completes the student and employer portions of the CPT (curricular practical training) e-form, indicating the Upperclass Dean as the advisor.
- Once the CPT e-form is submitted, the Upperclass Dean will get notified to complete it, and the student will get an email from the CPT e-form system by Rutgers Global.