The Stony Brook University Career Center's experiential learning initiatives support undergraduate and graduate students seeking internships, cooperative education, volunteer and gap year positions, fellowships, job shadowing, and other experiential learning opportunities such as service-learning, student organization leadership, campus involvement, faculty-led research and projects, study abroad, and student employment/work-study. Employers may post these positions on Handshake by creating an account.
For employers, a well-managed internship program often serves as the most productive way to create a pipeline for future entry-level jobs. Corporations and nonprofit agencies worldwide rely on the Career Center's Handshake, a recruiting database, to source new talent and build their brands on campus.
SBU Employer Internship Guidelines
Stony Brook University students pursue internships for experience and/or academic credit [academic credit is awarded by the University and obtaining credit is the student’s responsibility.] Please refer to SBU Employer Internship Guidelines for more information on criteria for an experience to be defined as an internship, credit vs. non-credit internships and how students receive academic credit.
Developing an Effective Internship Program
The Career Center staff review and approve new postings each business day. Please note that all internships, especially unpaid positions, are reviewed by Stony Brook University Career Center staff to assure compliance with the university’s academic goals and U.S. Department of Labor regulations. For unpaid internships, please review the U.S. Department of Labor’s test for unpaid interns and the definition of internships by the National Association of College and Employers (NACE).
The mission of the Stony Brook University Career Center Cooperative Education Program, in partnership with employers and faculty, is to provide students with paid, degree-enhancing, professional work experience. This mutually beneficial relationship encourages student growth by providing opportunities that link classroom theory with world-of-work practice. Cooperative education empowers students to make informed career decisions and move toward achieving an advantage in a competitive job market, all while earning academic credit.
What is Cooperative Education?
Cooperative education (co-op) refers to an applied learning experience that alternates classroom learning and productive paid work experiences in a field related to a student’s academic and career goals. Co-ops are formal partnerships among an educational institution, an employer, and one or more students, and typically provide meaningful work experiences for students. Co-ops are off campus and full-time or part-time (SUNY Institutional Research Information System definition.)
How does a Co-op Position Differ from an Internship?
While an internship may be paid or unpaid, a co-op position is always a paid position, and students are required to enroll in an academic course for variable credit. Co-ops are high-level positions that allow students to directly apply what they have learned in their coursework and gain industry experience.
SBU Co-op Structure
Parallel Co-op Program
Stony Brook’s co-op program is a parallel program (not alternating). During the academic year, students will be enrolled as students full-time and co-op part time. Summer and winter breaks will be free for full-time co-op.
- Students may participate during any academic semester (P/T) and summer/winter breaks (P/T or F/T).
- Duration: co-op requires a minimum of two work terms, but could extend to multiple semesters.
- Co-op is closely integrated with the course curriculum, and has faculty oversight with academic credit (0-6).
- Time commitment: 4-20 hr\ours per week during an academic semester; 4-40 during summer/winter break.
Traditional Co-op Program
SBU students are eligible to participate in a traditional co-op opportunities.
57 credits completed
GPA: 2.5 minimum for undergraduates
Enrolled at SBU for at least one semester before co-op
Final approval is pending employer and faculty standards
Develop a resume that will effectively present your interests/experience to prospective employers.
Register your co-op with the Career Center to obtain permission to receive credits and enroll in a course .
Make every effort to adhere to your employer's work standards and employment policies (for example, dress codes, rules regarding attendance, lunch hours, breaks, etc.)
Carry out your responsibilities competently and professionally.
Provide a hands-on learning environment.
Provide supervision for the co-op student.
Provide challenging positions with increasing levels of responsibility.
Provide appropriate training.
Complete mid-semester and final evaluations.
Equitably compensate students.
Periodically review and discuss student progress.
Work with employers to develop learning outcomes.
Provide academic oversight during the co-op term.
Review student progress throughout the co-op term.
Prepare students for success prior to the co-op experience.
Be available for consultation if problems arise.
Debrief student & employer experiences at the end of the co-op term.
The recommended timeframe to search for a co-op is listed below. Following these recommendations will ensure there is ample time to secure the co-op opportunity, and allow you to stay competitive in the pool of candidates. Some employers recruit much earlier than others.
For a Co-op During
Fall Semester (September - December)
March - April
August - November
Spring Semester (February - May)
October - December
Summer Term (June - August)
January - April
Nonprofit organizations looking to recruit volunteers for short- or long-term service positions/projects can manage their recruiting needs through Handshake, the SBU Career Center's job listing and recruiting system, where individuals and student groups can search for volunteer and other experiential opportunities. Information on volunteer positions is distributed to students through various departments, via email, as well as on Handshake. You can create an account or manage an existing account on Handshake.
The Community Service Federal Work Study Program
We can assist you with becoming a community-based employer in the Community Service Federal Work Study Program. If your organization is interested in participating, please contact us at 631-632-6810. Each organization will be provided with basic information about contracting with Stony Brook University to hire and pay students employed through the Federal Work Study program. For more information, please review the following Community Service Federal Work Study publication.For more information on recruiting students for short- or long-term volunteering initiatives, posting positions, or how employers can benefit from connecting with the Career Center, you may wish to contact us at 631-632-6810
Service-learning integrates classroom instruction and reflection with meaningful community service to enrich the learning experience and strengthen communities. The Career Center connects employers with academic and administrative departments, including the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences, the College of Business, and Campus Residences, to work with students on projects that benefit the agencies and community.
Examples of Service–Learning Projects: Please review some possible topics for community-based service-learning projects.
If your organization is interested in collaborating with academic or administrative departments to participate in industry-focused service-learning projects, please contact Urszula.Zalewski@stonybrook.edu.