Internships, Work-Study, Co-Op, and

Academic Service Learning Opportunities


Introduction: University of Michigan-Dearborn strongly encourages students to obtain course-related professional experience by engaging in internships, work-study, co-op, and academic service learning opportunities while working to complete their degrees. The Office for Metropolitan Impact supports connecting students to such opportunities as an excellent avenue for providing enriched learning and networking outside of the classroom, as well as providing benefit to our community partner organizations with whom students serve. 


Philosophy: The University believes that off campus assignments should be primarily developmental for students and that help students grow in their capacity to assimilate classroom learning with practical, hands on experience in the work world. As such, these experiences should ideally be opportunities of mutual benefit, as businesses and nonprofit organizations have the chance to review the talent of potential full-time hires and students have the opportunity to practice their skills and knowledge and determine their fit in the new environment.


Host Site Commitments: Host organizations, particularly those seeking unpaid student assistance, are encouraged to compete for student talent and to do so in a way that is compelling and inviting.  For some students, they may be attracted to an organizationís mission, for others it might be the type of work or skill that will be acquired or practiced, and still others may be seeking the networking opportunities that the position provides.  Host sites must decide what it is that will entice a student to come to work for them for 5-20+ hours a week for an entire semester.  Our students self-select when presented with such community-based learning/work opportunities, so it is imperative that prospective host organizations aggressively market themselves to students in a way that demonstrates what the student will get from the experience.

It is imperative that the host site write a compelling and specific job description that can be distributed to students and on campus employment/placement offices. The job description should describe the following:

∑   What will the student be responsible for doing during the semester?

∑   With whom they will be working?

∑   What types of skill sets are desired?

∑   Where will the work take place?

∑   How many hours per week are required?

∑   Why kinds of skills will the student get to learn or practice?




Paid Internships/Co-ops: Co-ops and internships are typically course-related experiences in which students are placed with participating employers in career-related, professional positions.  The student earns course credit (2-10 credit hours), receives hourly pay from the employer (~$8-20/hour), and learns about a career for an entire semester. 


What is the difference between co-op and internship? Co-op is often referred to as paid internship.  Some faculty members in the College of Arts, Sciences and Letters (CASL) offer placement in unpaid internships that are specific to a particular study major.  Co-op can be related to a major, but it's also possible for a student to use this experience to explore a career.  Co-op involves true employment, which means the organization makes an investment in the student and the student gets to make a real contribution to the organizationís work.


Unpaid Internships: These are typically on-site supervised work experiences that may or may not result in course credit, depending on the program Ė see specific program links below for more detail.  


Work-Study: The Federal Work-Study Program provides students with the opportunity to work on campus or at approved off-campus non-profit organizations while they attend college. The purpose of any work-study program is to help a student pay educational costs through employment.  It is financial aid that is considered self-help.  Students must demonstrate financial need and be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits at the undergraduate level) to be eligible. There are three restrictions for students employed through the Federal Work-Study Program:


Work-Study students may not work during scheduled class time.

Work-Study students may not work more than 8 hours on any given day.

Work-Study students may not work more than a total of 25 hours per week.  


Academic Service Learning (ASL): As an innovative and rigorous teaching methodology, ASL courses require and utilize community-based activities as a means of enhancing academic learning.  As such, students gain a deeper understanding of course content while engaging in the civic life of their community. Academic service learning courses are designed and guided by three essential criteria.  They: 1) enhance academic learning; 2) provide relevant and meaningful service; and 3) engage in purposeful civic learning.   ASL courses are designated as such in the course catalog.


Contacts: A number of offices across campus engage in facilitating the matching of students to the above noted opportunities, as well as ensuring that students receive appropriate course credit for engaging in these activities when relevant and appropriate. Links to all of these offices can be found as follows: 


Academic Service Learning Opportunities:


Key Contact:  Carla Vecchiola, Ph.D./Director /Civic Engagement Project

Tel:  313-583-6550 // E-mail:


Links to Campus Wide Internships and Co-op Opportunities:


College of Arts, Sciences & Letters (CASL) Opportunities:


∑      CASL/Cooperative Education:

Key Contact:         Patti Jones/Coordinator of Experiential Learning

Tel:  313.593.5188  // E-mail:



∑      Criminal Justice Studies:

∑      Environmental Studies:

∑      Health Policy Studies:

∑      Humanities/History:

∑      Psychology:

∑      Social Sciences/Sociology:

∑      Social Sciences/Economics:

∑      Public Affairs:


College of Business (COB) Opportunities:


Key Contact: Mike Callahan/Director

Tel: #313-593-5422 // E-mail:


College of Engineering & Computer Science (CECS) Opportunities:


Key Contact:  Tony DeLaRosa/Coordinator

Tel:  #313-593-5145 // Email: 

Federal Work Study Opportunities:


Key Contact: Mai Qazzaz/Student Career Advisor & Event Coordinator: 313-593-5020


On-Campus Opportunities: In addition, we strongly encourage representatives of community organizations to consider becoming involved on University of Michigan-Dearbornís campus, i.e., volunteer to advise or help one of the many student groups (Amy Karaban,; participate in the campus annual Professional Development Week as a mock interviewer, resume reviewer or student coach (Regina Storrs, 

Organizations that contribute time and effort in assisting our students prepare for their careers and nurturing their higher education pursuits will be far more likely to attract their professional interests.


Conclusion: The Office of Metropolitan Impact is committed to assisting and facilitating mutually advantageous relationships between our students and work/career opportunities in the corporate and nonprofit arenas. Please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance in pursuing and setting up such relationships!


 For more information, please contact OMI staff:  313-583-6764 or