Co-op & Internship

Relevant experience in your field is one of the most important factors employers consider when making hiring decisions. By participating in internships, co-ops, externships and field placements, collectively referred to as experiential learning, you not only better your understanding of your future profession, but also increase your value to potential employers.  SVSU and Career Services has an extensive network of organizational partners who seek students for co-ops and internships.  These positions are often paid.

Because these organizations want to recruit students with a professional mindset, only students who have been accepted into the SVSU Cooperative Education and/or Internship program are permitted to apply through the Cardinal Career Network.  The process, as described below, is designed to teach students how to be active job-seekers and best represent their skills and abilities to potential employers.

What is the difference between a co-op and an internship?
A co-op is a paid, on-going relationship between the employer, student and university. Students in the program not only gain work-world experience, but are expected to actively participate in key projects. The Co-op program is open to all  undergraduate students currently enrolled at SVSU. International students are  required to provide proper work authorization to work off-campus. Because of  the high expectations, the co-op program has several requirements for participation, including:

1.   Must have completed a minimum 24 college level credit hours from SVSU or another accredited college or university.*
2. Must have and maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average.
3. Must have successfully completed a minimum 24 credit hours per school year
(School year is counted in a combined total of credits earned from Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer semesters)
4. Must have at least one year of coursework remaining until graduation.
5. Must fulfill any additional requirements as set forth by the employer.
*Exception: Freshmen whose high school co-op employer has requested the student to 
continue the co-op employment at SVSU are exempt from this requirement. 

An internship is an experience with a definite time frame (e.g. four summer months), that can be either paid or unpaid, and can involve projects that vary in intensity based on the student’s level of experience. Unlike co-op positions, the requirements for internships vary from employer to employer and by academic background. If you wish to participate in SVSU’s internship program, you must meet certain requirements, including:

1.   Must have and maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average.
2. To earn credit, must receive academic departmental approval from the student’s major or minor area of study, based upon the department’s criteria.
See your academic department for further details.
3. Up to one year assignment (typically one or two semesters).


*You MUST be apply through the Cardinal Career Network for the Co-op/ Internship Program. Here are the steps to apply:


1. Create a professional resume and cover letter.  Please note that these documents look considerably different from a high school resume.  Professional resumes focus on accomplishments and contributions and not job duties or specific tasks performed.  It is strongly encouraged that students applying for the program review the "Resume Best Practices" and "Cover Letter Guidelines" tutorials on the Online Tutorials section of the website.  Resume Workshops, Walk-in visits, and one-on-one appointments are available to assist students.

2. Log-in to your free Cardinal Career Network account.

3. Upload your resume and cover letter under the "Documents" tab.

4. Scroll over the "Employment Opportunities" tab and click on "Cardinal Job Postings."  Your application to the SVSU Cooperative Education or Internship program will require you to apply to the following positions on the Cardinal Career Network:

JobID: 392 "SVSU Cooperative Education Program Application"

JobID: 393 "SVSU Internship Program Application"

To locate these positions on the Cardinal Career Network, enter either "392" or "393" in the Keywords section.  Please note that you may have to scroll down in order to locate the correct position.

You will need to apply to each program separately as each has specific requirements.

5. Once accepted, students will have the ability to apply for any external co-op/internships for which they are qualified.  Note that it is NOT standard practice for Career Services to automatically refer students to positions.  Students are expected to apply for each position on their own with CUSTOMIZED documents expressing interest in the SPECIFIC position they seek.  Generic cover letters and resumes are extremely discouraged.

6. Students are required to update their information on Cardinal Career Network (resume, cover letter, etc.) as changes occur.  This means keeping all information current.

Please download the Co-op & Internship Application Packet (354kB) for instructions on how to register for the Cooperative Education / Internship Program.