Co-op and internship programs

In addition to opportunities offered by Career Opportunities and Employee Relations (COER), our department offers undergraduate and graduate students internships with on-campus departments, local businesses and government agencies. Students in the department are strongly encouraged to complete at least three hours of internship as part of their degrees.

English majors in the education program get actual classroom experience through a semester of student teaching arranged with Rolla Public Schools and other public schools within 30 miles of campus, and our undergraduate technical communication curriculum includes an internship course, TCH COM 4085, worth three credit hours. Students may use this course to meet an elective requirement for the Bachelor of Science and may take it as an extra course for the Master of Science.

In TCH COM 4085, the student works off-campus for an outside organization (a "sponsor") for at least 10 hours a week during a regular semester or 20 hours a week during a summer session, but the student also meets with the program director on a regular basis and completes a report at the end of the term. The student is responsible for finding a willing sponsor and may work as a volunteer or paid employee of the sponsor.

While both internships and co-ops allow students to apply what they have learned in the classroom, there are some differences between the two, particularly in terms of the period of employment and salary paid.

a photo of Yeriel Lee in her internship with Southwest Airlines
Graduate student Yeriel Lee worked as a technical writing intern for Southwest Airlines.


  • Usually offered for one semester—either for 14-16 weeks in the spring or fall semester or eight weeks in the summer session.

  • Some are paid, and some are voluntary.


  • Require working multiple semesters—generally two to three semesters and one summer—providing the student with seven to 12 months of work experience.

  • Always paid.