What is an Internship? How does it differ from a co-op?

For engineering and computing students, internships are most often paid work experiences that carry no college credit. An Internship is an opportunity to work short-term for a company in your academic field and learn what it is like to be an engineer or computer scientist.

These work experiences typically occur over the summer, (i.e. Summer Internship) although it is also possible to have an internship during the academic year. For the duration of the internship, you are an employee of a company, solving their problems, working alongside engineers and computing professionals and getting a sense of what the “real world” is like.

It is NOT simply busy work, but rather a chance to prove your employability to the company. Many employers now expect their new hires to have had some work experience before graduating from college. A co-op is very similar to an internship; it requires the student to alternate work and classes each semester. When researching your choices for an internship or co-op, make sure you understand the exact requirements and duration of the position.

For more information on how to search for an internship, you can also make an appointment with your Career Advisor via Miami Handshake.

When do I need to start thinking about an internship for an upcoming summer?

The best time to start thinking about an internship is during the fall semester of your sophomore year. The skill sets of CEC students are in high demand so it is important to evaluate your options and find an internship that meets your interests. You may be able to secure multiple summer internships during your time at Miami. Many engineering and computer related internships lead to full-time job offers if there is a good fit between student and company.

When should I start thinking about a full-time job?

Similar to the internship timeline, fall is the best time to start thinking about finding a full-time job for the following spring. Doing career and company research over your time at Miami can help you narrow down opportunities of interest.

Internship and Job Search Preparation Timeline

The timeline outlines the minimum steps that can help guide you through preparing for an internship or job search:



  • Update your Miami Handshake account with a revised resume.
  • Set up RSS feeds for your field to stay current with trends.
  • Continue to network and inform contacts of your job or internship search progress.
  • Reach out to prospective companies for informational interviews.
  • Check your wardrobe for proper interview attire and purchase needed items. Check out Career Center Facebook and Pinterest pages for interview outfit ideas!


  • Update your Miami Handshake account with a revised resume.
  • Access Big Interview from anywhere to sharpen interviewing skills.
  • Attend the Spring Internship & Career Fair in February to explore internships and/or full-time employment with regional and national employers.
  • Follow up with contacts made at Career Fair and request interviews when appropriate.
  • Apply for posted jobs and internships and/or contact desired employers that may be willing to create an internship opportunity for you.

When are the Career Center's Programs and Workshops, and how often do I have to attend them?

If you wish to use our on-campus interviewing services or participate in a mock interview, you must attend a Basic Interviewing Skills program. You need only attend Basic Interviewing Skills once during your time at Miami. The exact dates for these sessions are posted on the Career Services website. In addition to the required Basic Interviewing Skills workshop, there are several other sessions that can help you prepare for your career.

What do I need to know about Career Fair and Spring ICE?

The various Career Fairs are your chance to impart to a company your interest in them and why you are qualified. The Career Center maintains information online (via Handshake) about each fair including attending employers so students may prepare in advance of the fair.

Many employers decide who they would like to interview for positions at these Career Center events and then follow-up with selected students for one-on-one meetings. Visit the interview preparation webpage for more info and materials.

How do I find out which companies are coming to recruit on campus?

Miami Handshake is the best way to find out which companies are coming to Miami for on-campus recruiting. This database has information on which company is planning a recruiting visit to Miami University, when they’ll be here, what type of positions they seek to fill and what qualifies a candidate to interview for the position. In addition, there are also job postings for companies who seek job candidates but won’t be visiting campus.