Students

In order to certify a co-op/internship experience, students must successfully navigate all phases of the co-op/internship program:

  • Meet eligibility requirements
  • Find a Co-op / Internship Experience
  • Take a Co-op / Internship CANVAS orientation course
  • Navigate the approval process
  • Complete program evaluations
Eligibility Requirements
Student Eligibility Requirements for the NMSU Cooperative Education and Internship Program:

  • Full-time student status (12+ credit hours for undergraduates; 9+ credit hours for graduate students).
  • A degree-seeking student with a declared major.
  • Minimum GPA of 2.0 for undergraduates; 3.0 for graduate students.
  • Minimum of Sophomore classification (NOTE: Students can apply for Cooperative Education/Internship positions as a Freshman, but cannot participate in work assignment related to major until the completion of 28 or more credit hours.)
  • Recommendation – students should not complete work assignment during the final semester before graduation.
Timeline / Deadlines
Requirement Approx. Time to Complete When should I start?
Orientation 1 – 2 Hours 6 months before co-op/internship semester
Co-op / Internship Search 2 – 3 Months This step depends on many factors (i.e. major, personal network, location, etc.) and might take 3+ months, sometimes 6+ months!
Documentation Review Process 15 – 20 Days 1 – 2 months before your co-op/internship semester
Experience Completion 10 – 16 Weeks Fall & Spring: 14 – 16 weeks

Summer: 10-12 weeks

Required Documentation Deadline

Every semester, there is a deadline to request approval for Co-op / Internship Experiences. The request an experience form along with an official job offer letter and official job description are DUE by the last day to add a course with the instructor’s permission:

  • Spring 2020:  Thursday, January 31, 2020
  • Summer 2020:  Wednesday, June 3, 2020
  • Fall 2020: Friday, August 28, 2020
  • Spring 2021: Friday, January 29, 2021
  • Summer 2021: Wednesday, June 2, 2021
  • Fall 2021: Friday, August 27, 2021
Co-op / Internship Search
The NMSU Office of Experiential Learning (OEL) is partnered with Handshake. With Handshake, you can explore thousands of co-ops and internships, connect with employers, and track your deadlines.

To activate your Handshake account:

  • Log into myNMSU
  • Click the Handshake icon
  • Complete your Handshake Profile
  • (Optional) Download the Handshake App

Consult with your personal Network about opportunities

  • Ask your professors
  • Ask your academic advisor
  • Ask your peers in student organizations
  • Attend OEL events

Domestic Opportunities

Process
In order to certify a co-op/internship experience, students must have an approved experience on file. Here’s a roadmap successfully to navigate the process:

Orientation

To request access to the Co-op / Internship Canvas Orientation Course, e-mail: coop@nmsu.edu

While completing the orientation course you will:

  • Know if you meet the minimum requirements to enroll in a co-op/internship experience
  • Learn the documentation requirements, program timeline, and the role of Handshake in the co-op/internship process
  • Sign a Learning Agreement
  • Sign a Code of Conduct

After completing the orientation course:

  • you will gain Co-op Active Status in Handshake for the corresponding academic year (you will be required to take this course once per academic year to learn of any updates in the co-op/internship program)
  • you will have completed the 1st phase of the co-op/internship program

Approval

After you are selected for a co-op/internship position, you are responsible for gathering the following documentation and submitting it to the Co-op / Internship Program via e-mail (coop@nmsu.edu):

Job Offer Letter

The employer provides this document. The job offer letter should be on company letterhead and include:

  • Dates of employment (start date and end date)
  • Compensation
  • Number of hours expected to work each week
  • Supervisor’s contact information – (title, address, phone, email)

Job Description

The employer provides this document. The job description should be posted on the company’s website and include:

  • Job location
  • Job qualifications
  • Job requirements
  • Type of employment (i.e. full-time, part-time)

Request an Experience Form

The student completes this document. The request an experience form should be filled out:

  • Completely
  • Accurately

International Students Only:

In addition to the requirements previously mentioned, International Students MUST:

  • Complete a Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) Request Form and submit it to the NMSU OEL.
  • Questions about CPT? Contact the International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSS) (isss@nmsu.edu, 575-646-2834), located in the Educational Services Building, Suite 850.

If additional information is required, the co-op/internship coordinator will contact the student. After the student submits all required documentation to the Co-op / Internship program, the NMSU OEL will set up the approval process via Handshake.

The NMSU OEL reviews your Co-op / Internship Experience documentation in order to:

  • Ensure you meet program eligibility requirements
  • Ratify that the co-op/internship experience aligns with your academic major
  • Assess that you have a learning/working environment and not just a part-time job
  • Confirm that your employer-provided accurate contact information and a verifiable work location
  • Demonstrate that your co-op/internship work environment is safe and meets program guidelines
  • Check if the co-op/internship experience may negatively affect your academic progress toward graduation

Check the status of your experience request in Handshake.

Completion

During the completion phase, you are actively participating in your co-op/internship experience, as you perform your job duties, you are representing New Mexico State University, your employer, and most importantly, you’re representing YOURSELF! Make it count!

As you are completing your co-op/internship experience, remember to:

  • Observe and ask questions
  • Work hard and learn a lot
  • Leave a good impression and earn a good evaluation

Co-op / Internship Evaluations

Toward the end of your co-op/internship experience, the NMSU OEL will send out evaluation requests via Handshake:

Mid-term Evaluation

  • NMSU Career Services checks on your progress

Performance Evaluation

  • The direct supervisor will evaluate the student’s work performance

Experience Evaluation

  • The student will evaluate the co-op/internship experience

Evaluations must be completed for you to receive your final and permanent transcript notation.

If you have any questions about the approval process please contact our office (coop@nmsu.edu | 575-646-4115)

Benefits
Here are some benefits of completing all phases of the co-op/internship program:

Experience the job search process before graduation

  • Navigate the entire job search process; job search, resume, cover letter, interview, and hiring process
  • Learn how to tell your story
  • Develop your career readiness skills
  • Enhance your resume and improve your future employment opportunities with a Co-op/Internship

Gain NMSU Official Recognition

  • NMSU protects your student status by registering you for a Co-op course. This Course Registration Number alerts other departments within NMSU that you are enrolled in an educational experience
  • NMSU also places a permanent notation on your official transcript certifying your experience. This certification increases the credibility of your experience when you list it on your resume.
  • A permanent notation is placed on your academic transcript

Expand professional opportunities

  • Getting hired for a co-op/internship prepares you for your transition to the world of work after college
  • You gain real-world experience within your industry and start building a professional network
  • Gain valuable applied experience related to your major
  • Explore your interest in a particular career area
  • Earn wages while learning from skilled professionals
  • May lead to permanent employment upon graduation
FAQ
Where do I get started if I want to learn about the Co-op / Internship Program?

  • For a general overview: visit the OEL website and/or visit us on social media
  • In-depth Discussion: Schedule a phone or in-person appointment via Handshake

How do I enroll in the co-op/internship Canvas orientation course?

  • Request access to the Canvas orientation course by e-mailing coop@nmsu.edu

Will my co-op/internship count for academic course credit at NMSU?

  • No. Experiences approved by the OEL will not grant academic credit to a student. If you are interested in academic credit contact your academic department to learn about the requirements and complete the corresponding forms

Can I get a transcript notation for my co-op/internship from last semester?

  • No. NMSU will not certify a co-op/internship experience retroactively. Make sure you follow the program timeline/deadlines.

Can I complete a remote or virtual co-op/internship experience?

  • Yes. The Co-op / Internship Program will review the virtual experience on a case-by-case basis and request additional information for evaluation, including remote tools being used during the experience, a project management plan, a communication plan, etc.

What are the three required steps to certify a co-op/internship experience at NMSU?

  • Take the Canvas orientation course
  • Submit required documentation to gain approval in Handshake
  • Complete your co-op/internship experience required evaluations
Testimonials
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“My experience with NASA was amazing. I was able to attain the benefits I sought, including a brief break from classes, great hands-on engineering experience, a good salary, and fantastic networking opportunities. I had no idea, however, that I would also change so much and learn about myself at the same time. I can’t recommend going on co-ops or internships enough, I can’t think of another alternative that gives you so much.”

Sam Pedrotty (NMSU College of Engineering Student)
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“As a Civil Engineering major, working at the City of Las Cruces in Public Works and obtaining a spot on the coveted NMSU Bridge Inspection Program were two dreams I could never have realized without the Cooperative Education and Internship Program. At both jobs, I have gained valuable experience in my field using some of the latest design software, data management and analysis, and hands-on inspection techniques. All students should seek co-operative educational opportunities to broaden their skill set and apply their academic knowledge.”

Anthony Levine (NMSU College of Engineering Student)
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“I have always wanted to become a Disney Imagineer, but I was nervous that being a Disney Imagineer wouldn’t be everything I had hoped it would be. However after doing the Disney College Program and the Disney Professional Internship, not only do I have a better understanding of the steps I should take to get this career, but now I am even more determined than ever to make my dreams a reality.”

Analicia Alvarez (NMSU College of Engineering Student)
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“The transition from college to a full-time job in engineering can be difficult, especially if you do not have experience. Employers in the engineering field are looking for experienced individuals who can contribute in a positive way to a company. Internships and Co-op’s help us students develop our working skills and allow us to learn through these experiences how things work in a real world engineering job. I was fortunate to have opportunities of working in various projects and locations that allowed me to have a broad experience. I was an Aerospace and Mechanical Engineer and I started working at the New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory in my junior year of college as a Co-op engineering aide, working on important projects that are occurring in the professional engineering world. I learned to work in an individual and in team settings in which I was pushed to think outside of the box in order to accomplish tasks. Through my experiences at PSL, I was able to work at NASA Wallops Flight Facility in a Co-op and then a summer after that, I was awarded an internship at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center as a research associate. My experiences in these Co-ops and internships allowed me to develop as a professional engineer and prepared me for a job after graduation. Thanks to these experiences I was also able to obtain a good job in my field of study before graduation.”

Juan Carlos Aguilar (NMSU College of Engineering Student)
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“I have had an awesome time working for ConocoPhillips. The company really knows how to show their appreciation for their employees. Although I am not a Petroleum Engineer, with help from my peers I caught on quickly. I would recommend working with this ConocoPhillips to anyone interested in the oil and gas industry.”

Edward Diaz (NMSU College of Engineering Student)

“Adjusting to a new Co-op can be difficult, but by being your hard-working self, Co-op’s can be a rewarding experience. Working at Ethicon Endo-Surgery brought me new experiences and reinforced old skills. This includes material related to my degree interest of electrical engineering, project management, the everyday office environment and tasks, and much more. Being able to experience this Co-op was simple thanks to the Co-op/Internship services at NMSU.”

Matthew Givens (NMSU College of Engineering Student)

“The opportunity to intern at NASA provides invaluable experience. The type of internship I had at NASA is known as the OSSI internship with the Office of Education. The technical work is only part of the experience. Yes, you need to be good with technical work, however, you also need to have time management, and be able to coordinate with your co-workers, and work in a team. During my fall 2014 semester here, I had obligations with the Office of Education, my technical lead, my NASA mentor, and my directorate. My obligations for the Office of Education included a brown bag presentation, a project plan submission, and a final report submission. My obligations for my technical lead included software programming, and issues dealing with coordination of time to get on the development environment for testing my code out. My obligations for my directorate included attending various tagups for reporting status of my technical work, to attending all hands meetings held by the Director of the directorate to meetings held by the division chief.”

John Wang (NMSU College of Engineering Student)

“As my co-op with City of Las Cruces draws to a close and I reflect back on all I have learned, I realize what an excellent experience this has been. I gathered much knowledge in the classroom, but a hands-on approach has been invaluable. Working with professional engineers and learning from them has served as a beneficial ending to my formal education. In my opinion, the best way to learn is by doing. I am truly grateful for this opportunity.”

Paola Guzman (NMSU College of Engineering Student)

“I was hired as a parallel Cooperative Education student with the NMSU Physical Science Laboratory (PSL). By working at PSL and attending school, I have had the opportunity to gain valuable work experience while still pursuing a degree in the mechanical engineering department. As a parallel Co-op student, all the projects I have worked on pertain directly to the classes I have taken, or will take, and ultimately to my degree and my career. The work I have been assigned at PSL has been challenging yet useful. Being involved in the Co-op Program at PSL has given me the opportunity to excel in my classes and has already significantly contributed in getting hired for summer internships and I expect will ultimately aide in employment after college.”

Katrina Heyne (NMSU College of Engineering Student)

“For the past 6 months, I have a had the pleasure of participating in the Cooperative Education/Internship program at ExxonMobil Research and Engineer in Paulsboro, NJ working as a product technologist on the Mobil 1 team. This opportunity has allowed me to apply my education that I gained as an undergraduate in Chemical Engineer to solve critical real world problems and contribute to innovations in next generation technology. I would highly recommend that everyone pursues an internship or Co-op program before they graduate, to prepare themselves for successful careers”.

Joshua Catanach (NMSU College of Engineering Student)