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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Internship and Co-op Information

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What is an Internship/Co-op?

Benefits to Employers

The Internship/Co-op Process at Minnesota State Mankato

The Role of the Career Development Center in Internships/Co-ops

Internship Coordinators

[PDF] Minnesota State Internship & Work-Based Learning Manual (2 MiB)

What is an Internship/Co-op?


An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships 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.  ~National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)


Co-operative Education (Co-op)

Cooperative education (Co-op) can provide students with multiple periods of work in which the work is related to the student’s major or career goal.  The typical program plan is for a student to alternate terms of full-time classroom study with terms of full-time, discipline-related employment.   ~National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)


Benefits to Employers

Internships and co-ops offer an effective way for employers to locate and train motivated students to fill immediate needs, as well as create a pipeline of talent for a future work force.

Additional benefits include:

  • Improve organization's visibility on campus
  • Bring fresh ideas to organization
  • Make recruiting easier
  • Demonstrate investment in the community
  • Gain employers early access to highly talented students
  • Free up staff/resources
  • Be highly cost effective
  • Identify future hiring potential
  • Increases employee retention
  • Enhance organization's image and reputation with students


The Internship/Co-op Process at Minnesota State Mankato

At Minnesota State University, Mankato, internships and co-ops are “decentralized,” which means that there is not one central department that oversees the processes for these experiences. Here is some information on how internships and co-ops are run on campus.


Students may choose to complete an internship for academic credit, or just for the experience. For a student who plans to receive academic credit, he/she is required to meet with the Internship Coordinator for his/her academic major or department. Each department has their own guidelines, application process, assignments, and/or documentation requirements. The STUDENT is responsible for completing the appropriate steps to receive credit, and it is the STUDENT’S responsibility to share with the hiring organization any and all relevant information regarding these requirements. It is our intent to make the process as easy as possible for the employer.

For students who do not register to receive academic credit for completing an internship, we still suggest that the student identify, with the individual who will be supervising him/her at the internship, the following prior to the internship beginning:

  • Position requirements
  • Expectations
  • Learning objectives
  • Length of internship
  • Days/hours
  • Compensation
  • Evaluation process
  • Supervision/management


Enrolling for a co-operative experience allows a student in junior or senior standing to work for an employer in a profession related to the student’s major for one summer and one fall or spring semester. The student arranges this co-operative experience in consultation with an internship coordinator or other designated faculty or advisor in his or her department. The student earns zero credits during the co-op experience but is coded and reported as a full-time student through the National Student Clearinghouse. Student loans do not become due during that time, and the student can maintain health insurance through his or her parents if eligible. At the end, students return to the University and finish their degree; the co-op experience can help them later to find an interesting field of work and connect with an employer.

Employers who would like assistance with, or have questions about, starting an internship/co-op program can contact the Career Development Center at


The Role of the Career Development Center in Internships/Co-ops

The Career Development Center (CDC) has different roles in regard to internship or co-op experiences.


The CDC can assist employers with starting the internship/co-op process by providing information and assistance with:

  • Developing a program
  • Creating position descriptions
  • Connecting with students
  • Involving faculty
  • Posting positions
  • Interviewing candidates

Employers who would like assistance with, or have questions about, starting an internship/co-op program can contact the Career Development Center at


The CDC assists students with identifying internship/co-op opportunities.  Our primary role is to help students:

  • Understand the importance of internships/co-ops
  • Learn how to make connections and network
  • Build relationships with employers
  • Gain experience in their academic fields of interest through hands-on experience
  • Market themselves to potential employers
  • Develop well-written application materials
  • Prepare for interviews
  • Appropriately follow-up to maintain relationships


The CDC works with faculty and staff to inform them of potential internship/co-op opportunities that may be of interest to their students. Our primary outlet for this is being connected to the Internship Coordinators of the academic departments across campus. In addition to keeping faculty notified about postings, we also:

  • Offer accounts to faculty and staff
  • Contact employers recommended by faculty for outreach purposes
  • Present to students on the importance of internships/co-ops and the process to obtain them
  • Connect employers and faculty when employers visit campus for events and/or recruiting visits


Internship Coordinators

Academic departments have assigned faculty members who serve as Internship Coordinators for students.  To connect directly with these faculty members, please reference the Internship Coordinators' contact information listed by college.