2014-2015 Annual Report

Office of Professional Practice

About Us.

Connecting employers and students since 1955.

What we Do.

We work tirelessly to provide as many students as possible with meaningful work opportunities domestically and abroad for a mutually beneficial relationship between students and employers. The Office of Professional Practice administers academic programs for 48 disciplines at Purdue, including 5- and 3-session co-op, internship, research, and study abroad programs.

Our Mission.

The mission of the Office of Professional Practice shall be to facilitate the experiential education and Professional Practice of Purdue University students within the academic environment of the institution and its global partners; to participate in academic research within the field of Professional Practice; and to assist the academic units with enhanced employer engagement.

Why choose Us.

Professional Practice Programs at Purdue distinguish themselves from programs at other institutions in a number of ways: Co-op students spend all of their work rotations with the same employer, allowing for a much deeper relationship between the two over the course of the program. Additionally, our GEARE program is the most comprehensive global engineering training program in the country, combining everything from foreign language study to cultural orientations to international work experience into one unique program. We pride ourselves on having the most rigorous and rewarding programs in the country.

Enrolled Students
Qualified Employers
Disciplines Supported
Countries Supported

Our Programs

We offer a broad range of programs that allow students to gain professional experience in the United States and around the world.

Cooperative Education.

Cooperative Education (Co-Op) programs offer numerous benefits for students looking to gain real-world experience before they graduate. We offer 5-session and 3-session co-op programs, meaning students will work for 5 or 3 rotations. In addition to gaining anywhere from 12-22 months of practical experience prior to graduation, students also earn a significant, competitive salary while on their co-op sessions. Unlike many other co-op programs around the nation, the co-op programs at Purdue require all 3 or 5 work sessions to be with the same employer, allowing students to build a long relationship with their employer, work on more projects, and take on increasingly responsible roles in their work sessions. More info...

Internship Programs.

Internships are an excellent alternative to co-op programs for students looking to work for multiple employers and/or different disciplines while still a student. They offer a bit more flexibility in relation to co-op programs at the expense of shorter work sessions and having to re-apply for multiple internships should you desire to do so. Unlike co-op sessions, internships are typically only one term and usually only take place over the summer. More info...

Global Engineering Alliance for Research & Education (GEARE).

GEARE is a program unique to Purdue that combines study abroad, foreign language study, domestic and international work or research experiences, and a global design project all into the four-year engineering degree. Students apply their freshman or sophomore year and will attend meetings with their peers, take cultural orientation seminars, and ensure they have a minimum of 12 credits of the foreign language of their choice before they spend two back-to-back semesters abroad for their study abroad and internship/research experiences during their junior year. More info...

Global Research.

Global Research Experiences provided by the Office of Professional Practice allow students to work on innovative projects at some of the world’s leading research institutions. Students will gain valuable practical experience and enhance their global competencies through work in an international setting. Students will also earn research credit transferable to their Purdue degrees. More info...

Study Abroad.

Professional Practice Study Abroad programs offer students an opportunity to gain an understanding of the global work environment. Students travel overseas for a one to two-week time period and will explore aspects of professional practice in a particular country. We currently offer a two-week Maymester program in Germany for engineering students who have just completed their First-Year Engineering program or their sophomore year. More info...

Recent graduates who reported that they took part in jobs or internships during college that applied what they learned in the classroom were more likely to get a full-time job and be more engaged at work after graduation than those who reported that they did not take part in applied internships or jobs.

--Gallup-Purdue Index Results, November 2014


The latest facts and figures about our programs.

All 2015 data is as of May 20, 2015

Total Student Enrollment



We continue to see a roughly 10% increase in enrollment year over year. This serves as a testament to the quality and value of our programs, as more and more students are realizing the tremendous benefits they offer. Our current enrollment of 1,266 students represents a 53% increase in just the last 5 years. Roughly 58% of our students are enrolled in either our 5- or 3-session co-op programs, with the remaining percentage taking advantage of our internship and global opportunities. This, too, represents an interesting shift in program interest, as nearly 82% of students enrolled in our Professional Practice Programs were participating in co-op only 5 years ago in 2011. As we continue to expand our global opportunities and add more disciplines outside of engineering to our co-op program, we expect to only continue growing for years to come.

Active students by program


   2011     2012     2013     2014     2015   

While our 5-Session Co-Op program numbers have held fairly steady the last 5 years, we have seen tremendous growth in our other program offerings. Our 3-session Co-Op program has seen tremendous growth in its short history, seeing a 132% increase in student participation in just 5 years. Students and employers alike appreciate the added flexibility in our 3-session program, which allows students to start their first work rotation as late as their fourth year. GEARE, our global program for engineering students, has likewise seen tremendous growth recently, growing by over 160% in the last 5 years. There are, of course, a number of factors that are contributing to the growth of our programs, but one consistent factor is the quality of our programs and the tremendous benefits they offer to students and employers alike.

*The Study Abroad program is in its first year. No data is available prior to 2015.

Professional Practice Employers


   2011     2012     2013     2014     2015   

Qualified Employers are ones who have gone through the qualification process with the Office of Professional Practice in order to be able to hire Purdue co-op students.
Active Employers are qualified employers who have recruited or hired Purdue co-op students within the last 5 years.

The number of qualified and active employers has remained fairly steady the last few years, which is actually beginning to pose a problem as we see significant increases in student interest. It is becoming increasingly difficult to help all students interested in our Professional Practice Programs actually find a position with an employer, as student interest is outperforming employer interest. There is, however, still a significant gap in the number of qualified employers versus active employers. By reconnecting with qualified employers that have been idle the last few years, we can help keep up with student demand in addition to our continuous efforts to recruit new employers.

Engineering Students by Status

5-Session & 3-Session Co-Op


   2011     2012     2013     2014     2015   

The College of Engineering continues to be the largest part of the co-op program at Purdue, making up 90% of the students in the 5- and 3-session co-op programs. While the number of new applicants has remained fairly steady for the last few years, we have seen record numbers of students newly-placed in co-op positions over the last two years. The 532 new applicants are split almost evenly between our 5-session and 3-session co-op programs. There is, however, still plenty of room for improvement to convert more applicants into actively-placed co-op students, so we continue to pursue new ways of connecting students with co-op employers.

Technology Students by Status

5-Session & 3-Session Co-Op


   2011     2012     2013     2014     2015   

Students in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute (formerly known as the College of Technology) make up the second-largest group of co-op students, though they make up only about 7% of all co-op students. With a new name and a revised curriculum that puts a strong emphasis on gaining practical experience prior to graduation, we expect to see a significant growth in interest and participation among Polytechnic students. This year saw a record number of new applicants and active students, however we have a downward trend of newly-placed students over the past few years that we are actively trying to address.

Engineering Students by Discipline

2014-2015 AY


Technology Students by Discipline

2014-2015 AY



Check out some of the highlights of the last year.

A New Look for OPP

Over the past year, the OPP has been taking several steps to refresh the look of our outward-facing communications, including our website and brochures. This new brand identity for our office and programs has a fresher, more modern look and feel that also falls in line with Purdue's overall brand. More...


New Student Database

Working with Canada-based Orbis Communications, we are rolling out a new co-op database that will be used by students, faculty, and employers. This will replace File-Maker, our existing database, and provide significantly more features and a more intuitive and user-friendly interface. More...


Co-Op Hall of Fame

The Co-Op Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have had a tremendous impact on Purdue's co-op program or who serve as shining examples of the opportunities that completing the co-op program can provide. This year, we inducted 6 outstanding people into the Hall of Fame. More...


Professional Practice Days

Professional Practice Days is an annual three-day recruiting event hosted by the OPP that focuses on placing co-op students. A one-day career fair is followed up with two days of interviews. In all, nearly 1,000 interviews took place. Read on to see this year's statistics. More...


Industrial Advisory Council

Established in 2007, the Professional Practice Industrial Advisory Council (PPIAC) consists of representatives from a number of our Professional Practice Employers that provide guidance and support for the programs administered by the OPP. Read on to see this year's highlights. More...


Research & Education

The OPP is constantly looking to improve the quality of all of our programs and make them more accessible for more students through a combination of educating students through courses, continuously collecting feedback, and researching national co-op and internship trends. More...


Global Programs

Global Professional Practice Programs provide students with opportunities to enhance their global competencies by participating in meaningful work and research experiences around the globe. From short study abroad programs to four-year in-depth experiences, we have something for everyone. More...


Student Organizations

The OPP oversees two student organizations: Professional Practice Ambassadors (PPA) and GEARE Ambassadors (GEARE-A). Students in these organizations serve as advocates and mentors for our programs, aiding in recruiting efforts and planning social events throughout the year. More...

Corporate Sponsorship

Help us provide more students with life-changing opportunities!

Alumni and friends interested in supporting our programs can find more information here.


  • Logo placement on the OPP website
  • Preferred placement at OPP events
  • Reduced registration fees for Professional Practice Days
  • Advertising placement on LCD screens in our building


  • All Black-level benefits, plus:
  • On-demand access to co-op student resumes
  • Assistance with on-campus visits
  • Logo placement at events OPP participates in
  • Employer-sponsored workshop on campus
  • One free registration for Professional Practice Days


  • All Gold-level benefits, plus:
  • Annual recruitment event focused on all active GEARE students
  • Resume book of all Professional Practice students with global experience
  • Cultural training for your employees in exchange for GEARE internships
  • GEARE students' work published on posters displayed at various OPP events

Our Sponsors

  • Bechtel
  • Cummins
  • Eastman
  • ExxonMobil
  • John Deere
  • Traylor Brothers
  • Whirlpool
  • Clients

What students say

What our students are saying about our programs

My co-op with GE Energy led to a multitude of work experiences: meeting great people all across the country by working at different locations, learning different processes and techniques for manufacturing and repair, and having my own time to develop my own creative projects.

Cody G. Mechanical Engineering '14

Having the opportunity to work in industry at Grundfos Indianapolis allows me to explore what an engineer does and the opportunities that will be available to me. Knowing that the decisions I make impact the employees and operations of our clients gives me a great sense of responsibility.

Yiwei H. Mechanical Engineering '17

GEARE has given me the ambition and resources to become not just another chemical engineer, but a global engineer. I know that what I have learned with the program and my time abroad will help me secure international work in the future and truly be successful wherever I am.

Lilly M. Chemical Engineering '16

What employers say

Actual employer testimonials

The Purdue co-op program is an important part of our early talent pipeline for GE. The talent, character, and initiative that Purdue develops in its engineering and technology co-op programs are well deserving of the relationship and positions that GE provides to further develop and prepare Purdue students for careers at GE.

Tony Denhart GE Corporate

Cummins' partnership with the Purdue OPP provides a great source of new talent for our company. It provides students with real-world experience, and provides Cummins with excellent resources that can have a direct, positive impact on our customers.

Bill Hilliard Cummins

Air Products supports the Purdue co-op program based upon our 30+ year history with the program providing positive results. The structure of the program...allows for our co-op students to have more depth and breadth of assignments within Air Products, which is mutually beneficial to both Air Products and our co-op students.

Chris Rehrig Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

Get in Touch with us

Still have questions? Contact us using the information below.

Speak to Us(765) 494-7430