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Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Student Success

Professional Practice Experimental Learning Program (ProPEL)

Professional Practice and Experiential Learning (ProPEL)


The ProPEL program gives students the opportunity to work in their field while earning credit at the same time. It helps them fine tune their career goals and objectives. The relevant work experience also increases their job readiness and marketability after graduation.

The majority of students, while working full time, do not register in classes, but do maintain their full-time student status at WSU while registered in the ProPEL program.

Co-op and Internship Work

Co-op and internship work is usually full time (more than 30 hours per week), but sometimes part time (less than 30 hours per week). Jobs typically start at the beginning of the term or semester – summer, fall, or spring.

Employers hire Voiland College students for a minimum of 14 weeks (one term or semester including summer) up to a maximum of 12 months (three terms or semesters including summer). Many employers prefer an experience that is six months or longer (for example, June through December).


The ProPEL program comprises a two-part linked course registration. While working on the job, students are registered for ENGR 488. The semester following the work period, students are registered for ENGR 489, a one-credit course. If the student is graduating at the completion of their co-op/internship, they are registered in ENGR 488 and ENGR 489 concurrently.

Credits earned depends on the number of hours worked. Full-time work earns two credits of ENGR 488; part-time work earns one credit of ENGR 488. Often, the credits can be applied to requirements in their major field of study; this varies by department.

ProPEL Advantages

  • All co-op and internship jobs sanctioned by Voiland College are paid.
  • Gain work experience and transferable skills by applying methods and theories learned in class.
  • Benefit from a competitive edge in the job market.
  • Get a foot in the door at a company.
  • Network with professionals in the field, for references, and future job opportunities.
  • Develop new skills and refine others.
  • Gain confidence in your abilities.
  • Students on full-time co-op/internship jobs may be eligible for financial aid, student housing, student insurance, etc.
  • Co-op/Internship income earned while enrolled in the ProPEL program is not counted toward your FAFSA Expected Family Contribution.

Getting Started

It’s always a good idea to meet with your academic advisor to determine how a co-op/internship will affect your time-to-degree, and to meet with the Internships and Career Services office to discuss ProPEL program requirements to get started with the process.

If you decide to earn credit for your experience, you can fulfill a technical/free elective requirement in your major once you satisfy the following conditions:

  1. The internship/co-op experience is at least 420 hours (10-1/2 weeks @ 40 hours per week; 12 weeks at 35 hours per week, 14 weeks at 30 hours per week, etc.), but your full-time internship can last up to 12-months while maintaining full-time student status.
  2. The internship experience is full-time (minimum of 30+ hours per week) for the duration of the internship. Note: There is an option for part-time work as well, where you can complete the 420 hours over multiple terms.
  3. The internship is completed on-site (online/virtual internship work is allowed under extreme circumstances).
  4. At least 50 percent of the experience is directly related to the student’s major.
  5. The student is assigned a specific mentor/supervisor at the worksite for the duration of the work-term.
  6. The experience is paid (hourly wage, stipend, or fellowship payment are acceptable forms of payment).
  7. The student applies for the Voiland College ProPEL Internship Program and, if approved, is enroll in the ProPEL 488 in the student’s major (2 credits) at the same time as the work experience, tuition required. The student is enroll in one credit of the appropriate 488 class if working part-time (requires an additional one credit of 488 be taken at a later date).
  8. The student will be enrolled in ENGR 489 (1 credit) the semester after they complete 420 internship hours. NOTE: In certain circumstances, ENGR 489 can be completed concurrently with 488.
  9. Both 488 (2 cr.) and 489 (1 cr.) are required to earn the technical/free elective credit in the major.Interested students should apply for the ProPEL Internship Program by completing the online ProPEL application as soon as they have secured an internship. The student will request the internship employer complete the online ProPEL employer form. Both completed forms are required for admission to the ProPEL program.

Self-help guides

VCEA Internships & Career Services

The VCEA Internships & Career Services office has resources and information packets to assist you with each step of your job search.

Learn how to create polished resumes and cover letters and prepare for interviews to make a great impression or prospective employers.

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Learn about networking while looking for a job on The Balance Careers website.

Social Media Guide

The Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn on Mashable will help you leverage the platform to network with professionals or research your industry.

Looking for More Experience?

The Forage is a free, online job simulation that enables you to work on real-world projects for companies. Job simulations replicate work at top companies, and connect students to the companies themselves. In only 5-6 hours, learn relevant tools and skills necessary to complete tasks that replicate an employee’s work day. Tasks completed can also become excellent ways to boost your resume through projects and relevant work experience.

Contact the Internships and Career Services Office

Location: Dana 140 Phone: (509) 335-8726 E-mail: Career Coaching Drop-in Hours: 3:00 – 4:00 PM, Monday – Friday By Appointment:
Mailing Address: Washington State University Voiland College Internships and Career Services PO Box 642718 305 NE Spokane St., Dana Hall, Room 140 Pullman, WA 99164-2718