Practical Experience

Studying with the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences (ECMS) enables you to gain practical experience and improve your employability skills through a range of projects, internships and industry-led teaching.

Practical experience

Our programs are designed to prepare you for graduate work environments and provide opportunities to apply newly acquired skills to real-life situations.

It enables you to develop connections with prospective employers through a range of practical projects, internships and industry-led teaching.

All Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Master of Engineering students are required to complete an approved internship:

  • All undergraduate students in pre-2019 engineering curriculum* will need to complete 12 weeks of practical experience, consisting of at least 6 weeks of industry experience under the supervision of a qualified engineer.
  • All undergraduate students who are in the 2019 engineering curriculum* will need to complete 8 weeks of industry experience under the supervision of a qualified engineer and undergo an assessment once the 8 week requirement is reached.
  • All Master of Engineering** students will need to complete 12 weeks of practical experience, consisting of at least 6 weeks of industry experience under the supervision of a qualified engineer.

You must complete both your academic requirements and required period of internship to be eligible to graduate and obtain professional membership with Engineers Australia.

* Students who commenced from 2019 but entered the university with credit must contact Ask ECMS to confirm which curriculum they are in and therefore how many weeks of experience they require. 

**All postgraduate students who commenced their Master of Engineering studies from semester 1 2016 must complete the internship requirement. If you commenced your Master of Engineering studies in 2015 or prior you are exempt from this requirement. Note: the following engineering programs do not require practical experience: Master of Biopharmaceutical Engineering, Master of Marine Engineering, Master of Materials Engineering, Master of Petroleum Engineering and Master of Software Engineering.

  • The essentials

    Your internship may be a combination of engineering and general placement, but must consist of at least six weeks of approved engineering experience. 

    Engineering experience

    Industry internships must be undertaken in an engineering environment, under a qualified engineer’s supervision (someone eligible for Engineers Australia corporate membership).

    To get the most out of your internship, you should ideally be exposed to a range of engineering activities that fall into the following categories:

    • project management planning and analysis
    • design, drafting and installation
    • operations and maintenance
    • testing or repair of engineering works, facilities, equipment or software.

    General experience - pre-2019 students only

    General practical experience opportunities must expose you to an organisation that may provide an opportunity to develop leadership skills. While some areas of work are not appropriate for engineering experience, they may be suitable for general experience if the practical skills learnt can be easily transferred to an engineering-related work environment.

    Examples of suitable internships include:

    • tradesperson assistance (e.g. plumber, electrician, mechanic)
    • data processing
    • administrative or secretarial work in an office environment
    • supervisory roles.

    Examples of unsuitable internships include:

    • shop assistant, bar, hotel or restaurant work (non-supervisory)
    • supermarket night-fill
    • delivery or courier work.

    Note: internships conducted with a business owned by a close family member is also not acceptable. It does not challenge students to source positions themselves, and may create a potential conflict of interest when authenticating the student's internship experience.

    Total hours: meeting the requirement

    Internships can be part- or full-time. The number of weeks approved will be based on a 36.75-hour working week (i.e. 8 weeks x 36.75 hours = 294 hours).

    Public holidays, sickness and time off are taken into account when calculating the number of hours worked, and are deducted from the final number.

    When is the deadline for completing my internship?

    Claims for practical experience recognition must be lodged with the faculty office by the practical experience deadline, which can be found on the Graduations website. See the section ‘After your experience’ for more information.

  • Finding your practical experience in Australia

    It’s ultimately your responsibility to self-source your internship experiences. Taking on this task allows you to develop and practise the skills you’ll need when searching for graduate employment.

    We advise that you begin researching where you would like to undertake your internship early on in your degree. There are many resources to help you find and learn how to apply for opportunities.


    ECMS news 

    We promote opportunities for local and overseas placements in our ECMS news. Make sure you bookmark this page and check back often as new opportunities are posted regularly.


    We strongly encourage you to register with CareerHub to gain access to the University database of internships and other opportunities.

    Managed by the University’s Careers Service, our online CareerHub enables you to search opportunities for paid and unpaid internships. Graduate and full-time opportunities are also listed.

    Employer presentation events are regularly held on campus, providing valuable opportunities to meet company representatives. Subscribe and register to receive notifications and updates regarding when employers will be on campus.

    You can log in to, and register with, CareerHub using your Student ID and password.

    The University’s Careers Service can also help you find and take up volunteer opportunities that may count towards your degree’s internship requirements.

    Local opportunities

    Many students arrange internships with local and interstate companies. The following companies have accommodated the faculty's students over the past 12 months:

    Engineers Australia: EA Connect

    EA Connect is a free service for student and graduate members of Engineers Australia. It promotes internship opportunities suitable for all training levels in one secure and exclusive location. Search by location and engineering discipline to find the right match for you. Opportunities are constantly updated, so be sure to check back regularly.

    If you're already a member, log in and view the latest opportunities. Alternatively, sign up for free membership using the student online application system. As soon as your application is processed you'll be able to log in to EA Connect. Plus, you can browse the member site to access a range of information and resources to help guide your career.

  • Overseas experiences

    Practical experience may be completed either in Australia or overseas. The application process is slightly different, depending on where you go. It is very important that you read about studying overseas in conjunction with the application process information below, as this way you will find out about the different overseas study experiences.

    Application process

    Prior to leaving Australia:

    1. Once you have researched different destinations and decided where you would like to do your practical experience, you will need to obtain approval. Download the Conditional Pre-Approval for Practical Experience (Overseas) form and arrange to meet with your school's practical experience coordinator.

    2. Submit the completed and approved Conditional Pre-Approval for Practical Experience (Overseas) form to Ask ECMS.

    3. You are also required to register with Study Overseas through the Student Mobility Applicant Registration Tool (SMART). After logging into SMART, go to Internship or Placement. You’ll then be required to provide background information regarding the placement.

      Note: Within the 02 Faculty Approval Questionnaire, Question 5 asks you to 'provide course information'. For the purposes of the Faculty of ECMS, it is sufficient to just write 'Internship' (the system won't let you leave it blank). For Question 6, indicate you are ready to receive faculty approval.

    4. A student advisor from the faculty will review your application and eligibility and, all being well, approve the application. Applications are processed as quickly as possible. However, you should allow 2-3 weeks for busy times. Keep checking your application’s status to see when the approval has been granted.

    When you return to Australia:

    Refer to ‘After your experience’ to have your practical experience/internship assessed and approved.

    There are several overseas experiences that can count towards your practical experience requirements. You can also choose to complete your practical experience at an overseas engineering firm. Some of the opportunities are listed below.

    Engineers Without Borders

    Engineers Without Borders regularly offers design summits that can be presented in lieu of practical experience. To search for available study tours and opportunities, visit Engineers Without Borders.

    Project Everest

    Project Everest regularly offers ventures that can be presented in lieu of practical experience. To search for available study tours and opportunities, visit Project Everest.

    Find out more about studying overseas

  • Before you start

    Introduction letters

    The faculty can provide an introduction letter, which may be presented to a potential employer when seeking an internship. The letter will confirm you’re a student of the University seeking an opportunity to fulfil the requirement as part of your degree.

    If you require a letter, you can request it from Ask ECMS.

    Insurance cover

    Unpaid internships

    When undertaking unpaid internships (volunteer), you must apply for University of Adelaide’s liability insurance cover before you begin your placement. Please read the Work Experience and Community Placement Guide and follow the steps below to complete the application form:

    • Part A - Student completes and signs
    • Part B - provide the host organisation’s details.
    • Part C - host organisation to read.
    • Part D - host organisation to sign and provide you with proof of their current Public Liability Insurance Certificate of Currency. Although you (the student) are covered under the University's Certificate of Currency, this ensures the company entering into the agreement is also insured, should one of their employees cause you injury or loss.
    • Part E - lodge the form with the Ask ECMS.
    • Once completed, provide a copy to the host organisation.

    When undertaking paid internships you’re covered by the employer’s insurer, and the employer is advised to remind their insurer that a student is working on the premises.

    Note: travel insurance is provided by the University free of charge. For more information, see the Work Experience and Community Placement Guide.

    Find out more about student workplace insurance

  • During your experience

    In-internship support

    If during your internship you have any questions or concerns, contact the Ask ECMS team. They’ll either help you themselves, or refer you to the appropriate support service as required.

    Unfair treatment, bullying and harassment

    Ensuring your safety and wellbeing is of paramount concern for both the faculty and University. If you’re subjected to behaviour, or placed in a situation, that causes distress, the host company should provide avenues to address your concerns. This can range from mediation to immediate removal from the situation.

    Regardless, please contact the Ask ECMS team immediately to report or discuss. You can contact us confidentially via email, phone or in person.

    The University provides several avenues of support, and we’ll work with you to determine the most appropriate.

  • After your experience

    After completing your internship you’ll need to submit a written summary for assessment and approval.

    Assessing an internship for recognition is managed by completing the Practical Experience/Internship Application Form and submitting it to Ask ECMS.

    If you are an engineering student, a key part of the assessment will be your ability to demonstrate experiences that address the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standards. It’s therefore important that you review these competency standards and address them within your submission.

      You should present your submission in the following sections:

      • Company structure and operation (approx. 200 words)
        Describe the company, including its products or services, locations and number of employees, and outline the company structure.
      • Responsibilities and work undertaken (approx. 200 words)
        Summarise the responsibilities and work you undertook.
      • Professional development reflection (approx. 500-1000 words)
        Describe how your internship has assisted in your development of the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standards. You must specify which competencies were developed and how.

      Note the word counts suggested are applicable for a 12 week placement. If you participate in a shorter placement, you should aim for the following word count:

      • 1-3 weeks: 500 words
      • 4-6 weeks: 1000 words
      • 7-12 weeks: 1500 words 

      More information about your practical experience summary

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