Co-operative Education Overview



What is a co-op?

Cooperative Education is a full-time or part-time, experiential program in which students participate in professional, paid work related to their major and away from the university.

Co-ops integrate academic and professional experiences; students who participate in co-ops learn not only about the engineering field, but also about being a professional and navigating the politics of a new work environment.

Co-ops provide the opportunity to apply what you are learning in the classroom, to clarify your career goals, and to build a valuable professional network.

Full-time co-ops are called alternating co-ops, and part-time co-ops are called parallel co-ops.

Class credit vs. no class credit

The College of Engineering distinguishes between co-ops and internships based on whether or not a student is enrolled in the cooperative education course. If a student does not enroll in the cooperative education course, the College of Engineering will classify it as an internship instead of as a co-op. Your employer, professors, and other people may or may not refer to your experience with the same word as the College of Engineering.

Eligibility Requirement for Course

  • GNEG 3801 (undergraduate students working part-time):
    • Must have completed 30 hours towards engineering degree.
    • Must have a minimum of 2.25 cumulative GPA.
    • Must be enrolled at least half-time and must be working part-time at co-op.
  • GNEG 3811 (undergraduate students working full-time):
    • Must have completed 30 hours toward engineering degree.
    • Must have a minimum of a 2.25 cumulative GPA.
    • Must be working full-time and must not be enrolled in more than 3 credit hours.
    • Must have at least 12 hours of coursework in their major remaining upon return to campus.
  • GNEG 5801 (graduate students working part-time):
    • Completed at least 6 hours towards engineering degree.
    • Have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
    • Must be enrolled at least half-time and must be working part-time at co-op.
    • Must have approval of their thesis/dissertation advisor prior to interviewing for co-op positions.
    • Students who are TA's, GA's, or RA's in the term of their work experience must gain approval from their major advisor to participate in this course.
  • GNEG 5811 (graduate students working full-time):
    • Completed at least 6 hours towards engineering degree.
    • Have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
    • Must be working full-time and must not be enrolled in more than 3 credit hours.
    • Must have at least 3 hours of non-thesis, -dissertation, or -research hours remaining upon return to campus.
    • Must have approval of their thesis/dissertation advisor prior to interviewing for co-op positions.
    • Students who are TA's, GA's, or RA's in the term of their work experience are not eligible for this course.
  • Transfer Students
    • Must have completed one semester of full-time study in the College of Engineering.
    • Must meet all other co-op requirements.
  • F-1 Students
    • Must have completed nine months of study in the United States.
    • Must meet all other co-op requirements.

*Reneging on a co-op or internship offer is strongly discouraged as it costs employers time and money.  It can also put the University's relationship with an employer at risk.  Because of this, students will not be permitted to renege on an offer and participate in the co-op course.

Technical Elective Credits

Different departments allow for different types of academic credit. Some departments allow their students to receive the Technical Elective (three-hour, upper-level engineering elective) for their co-op experience (GNEG 3811 only). Other departments do not. All departments award the Additive Elective (one-hour, general engineering elective) for all forms of the cooperative education course (GNEG 3801/3811/5801/5811).

Below is a chart that will inform you whether your department offers internship credit.

Note:  1-1 Tech Elective Conversion means that for every hour of GNEG 3811 taken, the student will receive 1 hour of technical elective credit.  3-1 Tech Elective Conversion means that students must enroll in GNEG 3811 3 times to earn 3 hours of technical elective credits.  If a student enrolls in 2 hours, then that student will receive 2 hours of additive elective credit, not technical elective credit.  

Major Additive Elective Tech Elective Tech Elective Conversion
Biological Engineering YES NO N/A
Biomedical Engineering YES NO N/A
Chemical Engineering YES YES 1-1
Civil Engineering YES YES 1-1
Computer Engineering YES YES 3-1
Computer Science YES YES 3-1
Electrical Engineering YES YES 1-1
Industrial Engineering YES YES 3-1
Mechanical Engineering YES YES 3-1*

 

Mechanical Engineering allows GNEG 3801 AND 3811 to count towards the Tech Elective Conversion.  

Benefits of the co-op class

The cooperative education course ensures that all students are participating in an educational experience in addition to a work experience. Students do not have to enroll in the course to participate in a co-op or internship, but are highly encouraged to do so.

Defer student loans until you return as a student
Receive academic credit in addition to professional experience
Stay on your parent's medical insurance
Become eligible for monetary scholarships and award opportunities
Ensure a quality experience by creating learning objectves and being assigned a company mentor
Maintain state residency
Get your experience listed on your academic transcript