Internship Guidelines and Procedures for the TGGS International M.Eng. Courses in Engineering following the RWTH Aachen Model
The following guidelines are based on the common set of rules for engineering internships on the graduate level in the leading German Technical Universities (TU 9 Group) and approved by the standing conference of the Faculties of Engineering in the German system (Technical Universities).
– First Revision: August 2005, R.H. Jansen –
– Second Revision: March 2014, TGGS Committee –
Please note: All documentation for the internship file has to be prepared in English.
In the context of developing industry-oriented engineering education on the Master’s level in Thailand, the internship has to be an integral part of the course of study in the respective field of engineering. With the main focus on engineering innovation, science driven technology development and learning towards engineering leadership, engineering students have to be educated to come along with enhanced problem solving capability. In general, this kind of internship is aimed to widen the subject-related theoretical knowledge of the student through its practical application in a company, to achieve this by contributing to the solution of engineering problems in the workplace environment and to learn to understand the timing, economic and organizational boundary conditions for such work in a company. Because of this orientation of the internship and because of the benefits which participating companies should obtain from this, it is placed into the final year of the education just before the master thesis. In order to achieve the outlined objectives, the Master’s level internship must build on an undergraduate internship or individual professional experience by which the student has obtained already a first industrial training. Further, in this graduate level internship, the student will be backed-up by his university supervisor (and his RWTH Aachen counterpart, if necessary) regarding technical know-how in the respective engineering field, by which mechanism, university-industry links in Thailand will be strengthened as a side effect.
In detail, the students have to conduct technical work with duration of at least 18 weeks under supervision of suitable engineering staff (industry mentors) in the hosting company in order
– to become acquainted with the activities of engineers in enterprises in different areas, in particular development, production and applications-oriented research, equipment and production optimization as well as project planning, acquisition and organization
– to get insight into the structure, organization and operation of enterprises considering aspects of quality, economy, ecology, acceptance of products by the market and adherence to delivery dates,
– to learn to contribute to the development, production and quality assurance of goods, components and systems in the field of study,
– to become acquainted with company cultures, social structures (among other things team work, hierarchy, social situation) and safety at work, from the point of view of a higher level employee.
Furthermore, the internship is aimed to develop the students’ own initiative and problem solving capability, taking into account the boundary conditions under which industry operates. Apart from these educational aspects, it offers to the student the opportunity to analyze possible professional career perspectives and eases for him/her and the hosting company a later transition into firm employment. Enterprises in return, should take an active role in helping to qualify students in the field of engineering. Doing so, they will further raise interest in the issues the enterprise is dealing with to their own benefit. In due course, the company gets into contact with talented students, which could be recruited after completion of their study. Such recruitment has (in Germany) proven to be a rather effective knowledge transfer mechanism from university to the industry which in Thailand is expected to support technology upgrading and competitiveness of the enterprises.
By joint supervision of the internship by a member of both the enterprise (industry mentor) and TGGS (university supervisor), links between those are developed, which may lead to co-operation in areas of mutual interest (joint projects in development and industry-oriented research, mutual exchange of experience and expertise, as well as advanced training of employees). After a well-conducted and successful internship, the hosting industry mentor and the university supervisor should envisage a follow-up master thesis project, which fits to the enterprises needs, but gives also room for science-based creativity on the graduate student side.
In contrast to the basic internship during undergraduate studies, the graduate level internship during the last part of the Master’s study serves to make the student familiar with career-specific and advanced engineering activities in an enterprise.
The list of specific qualifying internship activities depends on the field of study and is part of the prevailing internship regulations for each course. This list may be supplemented by individual agreement between the prospective industry mentor and the university supervisor if activities shall be covered which are not listed as standard topics. Such non-standard topics have to be approved in writing by the TGGS course coordinator
The internship should be supervised carefully in order to be as effective as possible. For this purpose, the university (the course coordinator), as well as the company, nominate a supervising staff member/mentor responsible for the student’s guidance and performance.
The industry mentor in the respective enterprise should be an experienced engineer preferably with at least having a Master’s degree him/herself. Since currently, the South East Asian industry will not yet employ engineering masters to a sufficient extent, an industry mentor with a Bachelor’s degree, 5-10 years of experience in the respective technical field and with engineering development background is acceptable as a transitional alternative. This person serves as an advisor and point of contact for any problem arising within the enterprise. He is responsible there for the fulfillment of the internship guidelines and for issuing the final reference letter.
The university supervisor should be a professor actively engaged in the respective engineering field of study and qualified to supervise the master thesis (must have a Ph.D. degree in engineering). He is the contact person for the industry mentor if a problem with the student and his internship arises. At the end of the internship, the industry mentor has to issue a written approval statement and brief judgment of the student’s performance. The TGGS Academic Affairs for Industrial Internship in conjunction with Program Coordinator and Department Office then is responsible for a final check of the internship record (report with list of daily activities, company reference letter, and supervisor’s technical judgement), for completeness and formal correctness and will then give the final approval signature and stamp for the acceptance of the internship as part of the studies.
Because of its important role in cooperative education on the master’s level, the enterprise for an internship should be chosen carefully. The focus group is engineering-and technology-related industry with a sufficient number of engineers (minimum of 5). In the respective branch/department selected for the students internship work; SMEs with less than 50 employees qualify only under exceptional circumstances (e.g. if the SME is an entrepreneurial high-tech company) to be recorded in writing by the university supervisor. These enterprises should typically provide opportunities to get acquainted with development and industry-oriented research, simulation and design (in particular CAD, Computer-aided Design), conceptual planning, construction, production, assembly, machine operation, maintenance and testing.
Trade companies, computer shops and university departments are not suited and do not qualify for the prevailing internships. Enterprises owned or managed by a student’s family member do not fulfill the requirements either, unless exceptionally approved by the TGGS Committee.
During the internship, two reports have to be prepared: A technical report (TGGS Industrial Internship Report) and a daily list of activities as work record (TGGS Internship Weekly Report).
The technical report (like a mini thesis with introduction, technical content, results and summary) has to be written by the student him/herself to document the engineering work, problem solving and development results of the internship in order to learn to present technical facts. It can describe processes, facilities, tools, etc. and include notes about his experiences and activities. Sketches, workshop drawings and circuit diagrams are often more descriptive than a longer text. The use of photocopies and company brochures as well as other imported material should be avoided. If necessary and unavoidable, such material should be included into a separate appendix of the technical report. The text (maximum of 30 pages) should mainly refer to the activities that the author has carried out by him/herself.
In addition to the technical report, a list of the daily activities carried out (e.g. summarized each month day by day in an excel table) and the time used to conduct them has to be filed and is a necessity for the evaluation of the internship. The total work record should be comprehensive, precise and clear.
At completion of the internship, the industry mentor in the respective company should sign the technical report and complete list of daily activities, then issue and sign the final company internship reference and judgement letter (ca. 1 page length). When later looking for qualified employment, the company reference letter also will be a useful document for the student’s job applications.
Internship Reference Letter and Final Approval
As outlined already, in order to recognize the internship activity of the student as part of his master studies, a reference from the enterprise (the responsible industry mentor) is required. This reference letter must contain
– personal information of the student (first name, family name, date and place of birth)
– name of the company, the department and the company location
– time and overall duration of the internship and the number of days absent
– short description and duration of the student’s internship tasks
– a brief evaluation and judgement of the student’s work and of the content of the technical report.
The internship as an integral part of the TGGS Master’s course will only be accepted and approved if the following requirements are fulfilled:
– it is related to the engineering field of study and can be related to the specific list of topics relevant for the course
– it is performed as full time work (part-time internships are not accepted)
– the company fulfils the minimum requirements as defined in these guidelines
– the number of days absent are less than 3% of the internship duration (even caused by illness of the student), otherwise the internship has to be extended to compensate for the time absent
– the technical report, daily activities list as work record, and the company reference letter have been checked and countersigned by the university supervisor
– the student has given a 20 min. presentation on his internship activities, time and location to be agreed with his supervisor (e. g. in the frame of a seminar in the respective TGGS technical group to promote soft skills)
– the TGGS Academic Affairs for Industrial Internship in conjuction with Program Coordinator and Department has made the final check for completeness and formal correctness of the internship documents.
TGGS and the companies participating in the Co-operative Engineering Education program will usually confirm their mutual responsibilities in a brief letter of agreement, unless the enterprise is a proven TGGS partner anyway (who is already familiar with this internship system).
Alternatively or additionally, the relations between the company and the student during the internship may be regulated by a specific internship employment contract, which determines all rights and duties of the student and the company.
On the demand of the enterprise, confidentiality regarding sensitive company issues like Intellectual Property should be agreed upon in a separate Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) to be signed by the company, the university supervisor and the internship student.
With respect to insurance, the legal status of the student may be of importance. Since the practical activity during the internship in a company is a firm part of the Master’s level curriculum, he/she maintains the legal status of a student for which a medical insurance, accident insurance and third-party liability insurance is part of the university registration.
Additional health and/or accident insurance during internship may be provided by the enterprise as part of the employment situation (or specific contract) into which the internship student enters.
As some of the Master’s students may have passed a phase of professional engineering employment already following their Bachelor’s degree, the recognition of this professional experience-instead of conducting the Master’s level internship as outlined here – can be considered as an exception. In such case it is the responsibility of the university supervisor to check the equivalency and consistency of this previous professional experience with the guidelines. In order to approve such an exception, the supervisor has to evaluate in detail the company references (profile of the company, employment references of the student, etc.) forwarded by the student, have an interview on this with the student and justify the exception in a detailed written statement to the TGGS Academic Affairs for Industrial Internship in conjunction with Program Coordinator and Department Office. In order to develop or improve soft skills, the student should give an oral presentation about his/her work experience in a TGGS seminar to his/her supervisor and the other students in his/her Master course. This statement of equivalency will become part of the student’s study file to serve as a substitute for the usual internship documentation.
The TGGS Academic Affairs for Industrial Internship in conjunction with Program Coordinator and Department Office continually updates and keeps a list of companies qualifying for internships as defined in these guidelines. Based upon this and upon consultation with his prospective university supervisor, the student is responsible him/herself to choose and find an adequate company, enter into the internship and fulfill the internship regulations and requirement as outlined here. The university staff engaged in the TGGS Master courses will provide their support for this, if necessary. In case the student proposes to his supervisor a company of his own choice willing to accept him/her, he has to provide the necessary company profile and information material, which allows the TGGS Academic Affairs for Industrial Internship in conjunction with Program Coordinator and Department Office in consultation with the supervisor to decide whether the chosen company is qualified as an internship partner and will be listed as such by the TGGS Academic Affairs for Industrial Internship in conjunction with Program Coordinator and Department Office.
Internship Timing Schedule
– In order to acquire additional theoretical background on the Master’s level, the student must have completed the lectures (have passed the examinations) of the first and second semester, before entering into the internship.
– Generally, internships can be conducted in the August term or in the January term, depending on the start term of the respective TGGS Master’s course and on the student’s progress.
– Before the end of the semester preceding the internship semester (i.e. ca. 2 months before the start of the internship), the student should make him/herself familiar with the internship guidelines at the TGGS Academic Affairs for Industrial Internship in conjunction with Program Coordinator and Department Office, should select his favorite field(s) of technical activity and consult on this with one of the TGGS university supervisors.
– The university supervisor recommends one or more suitable qualified companies and, if necessary, supports the student’s internship application(s) to these companies. However, it is finally the student’s responsibility to choose and find a qualified company.
– One month before the start of the internship, the firm approval of the respective company should have been obtained and an industry mentor should have been nominated by that company in accordance with the guidelines.
– During this month, the university supervisor and the industry mentor will meet (preferably in the company) or at least communicate to discuss and define in more detail the internship activity (Internship Project), write down a brief note on this to be kept in the student’s internship file and hand out a copy of this to the student.
– During the 18 weeks internship itself, technical progress is reported and the daily list of activities is filed as outlined in the guidelines. Ca. 2 – 4 weeks after the start of the internship, the student has to see his university supervisor to give him/her a feedback on how his technical work picked-up is moving on and if there are any problems seen. Later, closer to the end of the internship, the university supervisor will at least make one visit to the company and consult with the industry mentor on the status and finalization of the internship activities. This is the time also to discuss a possible follow-up Master’s thesis project. At the end of the student’s 18 weeks stay, the industry mentor provides his company reference and judgement letter after having checked and initialed the internship technical report and list of activities (work record).
– Close to the end of the internship, the student fixes with his university supervisor the date/location for his internship presentation to be given in the frame of a seminar in his TGGS Master’s course. Immediately after the internship, the student delivers his technical report, list of daily activities and company reference letter to the university supervisor.
– Within two weeks after the end of the internship, the supervisor provides his judgement and approval statement (or disapproval) and passes on the internship file to the TGGS Academic Affairs for Industrial Internship in conjunction with Program Coordinator and Department Office which will check the file and issue the final approval sheet, if all conditions are met.
– Successful completion of the internship is a prerequisite for starting the Master’s thesis project. The topic and task description for the Master’s thesis project will not be handed out to the student (and thus the thesis work cannot be started) before the internship file has been closed (final approval sheet) by the TGGS Academic Affairs for Industrial Internship in conjunction with Program Coordinator and Department Office.
Note that the Brief TGGS Internship Outline for Industry Mentors for the TGGS International M.Eng. Courses in Engineering following the RWTH Aachen Model will be sent to industry mentors directly.
Summary of Internship Procedure
Step 1: The student prepares his/her CV.
Step 2: The student consults with a TGGS lecturer to find an interest internship company. Note that the qualification of company according to the guideline procedure of TGGS must be satisfied.
Step 3: The student requests an internship application letter from the Department Office. The student sends an application for the internship to the company.
(See the TGGS Request Form for Internship Application (TG71). The application basically consists of TGGS application letter and CVs, more documents can be attached if needed.)
Step 4: If the company accepts the student, the student and the lecturer discuss the scope and description of the internship project with the company’s supervisor. When the company and the student have met an agreement, the internship can be started. Before starting the internship, the student must request a delivery letter from TGGS to be submitted to the company.
(See the TGGS Request Form for Internship Delivery Letter (TG72). The signature of the TGGS advisor is considered as a confirmation that the company has offered the internship place. If the student needs a letter for applying VISA to do the internship aboard, please tick the option in the form and submit the TGGS Request Form for Student Certification for Visa Application (TG94).)
Step 5: The student performs the internship at the assigned company for a given period and follows the internship guideline. Along to the internship, the student prepares the weekly task report to be attached with the final report. During the internship, additional process, e.g. progress report, can be implemented depending on the TGGS lecturer.
Step 6: The student must submit the internship report (hard copy along with soft copy) when returning back to TGGS within two months.
(See the TGGS Request Form for Internship Report Submission (TG73), TGGS issues an appreciation letter and sends it to the company.)
** Note that internship in research center and university must be approved by TGGS Committee prior starting the industrial internship. Only the internship at RWTH-Aachen University is accepted without the approval from TGGS Committee.
Related documents for internship
1. TGGS internship guidelines
2. CVs (prepared by student)
3. Internship application form –> Application letter (TGGS)
4. Internship delivery form –> Delivery letter and VISA application letter (TGGS)
5. Internship report template
6. Internship report submission form –> Appreciation letter (TGGS)
7. Internship report including weekly work record and evaluation sheet
Guideline for Internship Exemption
According to Internship Guidelines and Procedures for the TGGS International M.Eng. Courses in Engineering following the RWTH Aachen Model (2014),
The Master’s students who have passed a phase of professional engineering employment already following their Bachelor’s degree, the recognition of this professional experience-instead of conducting the Master’s level internship can be considered as an exception.
The exception qualifications are reviewed by the TGGS Academic Affairs and the TGGS Internship Committee and approved by TGGS Committee in the following aspects:
1. Professional Engineering Employment:
1.1. Following the Bachelor’s degree
1.2. Minimum of 2 years at the same enterprise
2. Qualified Enterprises:
2.1. Engineering and Technology-related industry with a sufficient number of engineers (minimum of 5).
2.2. SMEs with less than 50 employees qualify only under exceptional circumstances (e.g. if the SME is an entrepreneurial high-tech company) to be recorded in writing by the university supervisor.
3. Area of Work Experience:
3.1. Development and industry-oriented research, simulation and design (in particular CAD, Computer-aided Design), conceptual planning, construction, production, assembly, machine operation, maintenance and testing.
3.2. Related to the program study at TGGS
The students must submit the request to TGGS Academic Affairs Office and provide all supporting documents to TGGS Academic Affairs Office in conjunction with Program Coordinator and Department Office. Summary procedure is as follows:
Step 1: The student prepares his/her CV including the company references (profile of the company, employment references of the student, etc.).
Step 2: The student must submit the TGGS Request Form for Internship Exemption to the TGGS Academic Affairs Office with the consent of the program coordinator two months in advance by the beginning of the second semester of the first academic year.
(See the TGGS Request Form for Internship Exemption (TG74). The request basically consists of CVs, the company references, more documents can be attached if needed.)
Step 3: After the documents have been reviewed by the TGGS Internship Committee who consists of Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Industrial Collaborations, Department Head, Program Coordinator and Program Lecturers, see the Appointment of TGGS Internship Committee (TG75), the date for the oral presentation about his/her work experience will be scheduled.
Step 4: One month prior the presentation date, the student must submit the presentation handouts along with the internship report to the TGGS Internship Committee to review.
Step 5: The student can give the oral presentation about his/her work experience in a TGGS seminar to his/her supervisor and the other students in his/her Master course on the date scheduled by TGGS Internship Committee. TGGS Internship Committee will evaluate the student performance according to the internship guidelines and procedure; see TGGS Internship Exemption Evaluation Form (TG76)
Step 6: After the student passes the oral presentation and the internship report has been approved by the TGGS Internship Committee, the student must submit the internship report (hard copy along with soft copy) within two weeks.
(See the TGGS Request Form for Internship Report Submission (TG73), TGGS issues a TGGS Internship Exemption Letter (TG77).)