Work-integrated learning is designed to provide students with specific periods of work experience related to their chosen education and career objectives. The extension of classroom study to practice in a profession adds a unique dimension to the student's preparation for entering a career. These educational experiences are made in businesses, industries, research organizations, educational institutions, and governmental agencies located throughout the United States and abroad. Work-integrated learning assignments assist students in developing an understanding of human relationships involved in the work setting. Over the years, educators have discovered the educational and developmental benefits that result when students combine the theory taught in the classroom with real life work experiences.

During the college years, a student obtains first-hand knowledge of professional requirements and opportunities in addition to a general education component. Professional experience makes an individual more valuable to an employer and increases qualifications for a more responsible career opportunity. The primary focus of work-integrated learning is to acquire relevant professional experience involving current and emerging technologies. A secondary but important benefit is that a student has the opportunity to earn both academic credit and wages while learning.

Work-integrated learning students have an opportunity to blend theory and practice. Students mix periods of full- or part-time study with periods of full- and part-time career related work experience. While objectives and practices will vary from option to option, enrollment in work-integrated learning courses must be concurrent with employment.

In addition to observing what the field is "really like," students find work-integrated learning to be a "capping" experience requiring them to apply the subjects taught on the campus to realize projects. As many as nine hours credit in work-integrated learning courses may apply toward minimum graduation requirements.

The Department of Occupational Safety and Health makes no guarantee as to assignments or earnings, but it makes every effort to place students to their best educational advantage.

Typical duties while on an internship/co-op

  • Provide support to safety and health director/coordinator
  • Develop written safety training modules
  • Conduct training of employees
  • Develop written safety programs (i.e. Hazardous Communication, Hearing Conservation, etc.)
  • Conduct safety audits/inspections
  • Conduct industrial hygiene surveys (air sampling, noise, etc.)
  • Present oral and written reports concerning industrial hygiene survey results
  • Develop and implement projects to resolve environmental issues

Typical Acadmic Preparation

  • Students typically take internships and co-op positions as juniors, seniors, and graduate students when a strong core of career related classes are completed.
  • Skills and Knowledge Beneficial to Employer
  • Organizations gain assistance for special projects and /or ongoing support services
  • Students bring fresh ideas and experiences to the work environment
  • Companies can utilize special skills which other staff members may not have
  • Co-ops/internships provide an effective means for recruiting future employees
  • Employers gain a talented performer at a reduced cost
  • Companies gain access to the latest academic theory and educational literature.

Where Murray State OSH students find internships (partial listing)