Frequently Asked Questions



  1. Where do I go to learn more about co-ops?

    Kelsey Lavigne manages the co-op program at the University of Arkansas. To meet with her, send her an email at klavigne@uark.edu, call her at (479) 575-3198, or schedule an appointment.
  2. What is a co-op?

    A co-op is a part-time or full-time, experiential program in which students participate in professional, paid work that is related to their major.
  3. What is the difference between a co-op and an internship?

    Although many people will use the terms interchangeably, the College of Engineering classifies an experience as a co-op if a student is receiving academic credit. This can be for a part-time or full-time experience. It is classified as an internship if the student is not receiving academic credit.
  4. When can I participate in a co-op?

    Undergraduate students can participate in a full-time co-op for any term after they have completed 30 hours and before their last 12 hours. They can participate in a part-time co-op for any term after they have completed 30 hours.  For information about when graduate students, transfer students, and international students can participate in co-op, please refer to the Overview Page.
  5. What are the benefits of participating in a co-op?

    1. Integrate classroom theory with real-world practice
    2. Confirm career choices and discover specializations
    3. Have stronger employment opportunities at graduation
    4. Gain valuable work experience to help you in your job search
    5. Make money to cover educational expenses
    6. Develop personal traits, including maturity, discipline, responsibility, and confidence
    7. Build a strong network of professionals
    8. Develop professional skills, including presentation skills, writing skills, technical skills, and teamwork skills
    9. Increase your odds of receiving stronger grades
    10. Potentially receive higher starting salaries than other students
    11. Learn job search skills
    12. Develop professional interests to help choose senior-level electives
    13. Potentially gain experience that will count toward an engineering license
    14. Lessen your adjustment from an academic to professional life
  6. What are the requirements to participate in a co-op?

    • 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.
    • 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.
  7. Can I participate in a co-op my last semester?

    Only if it is a part-time co-op.
  8. Can I participate in more than one co-op?

    Absolutely! However, you may not participate in the coop course during  the fall and spring of the SAME academic year (i.e. you can work summer/fall or spring/summer, but not fall/spring).
  9. Is academic credit awarded for co-op participation?

    Yes, although 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 3801/3811/5801/5811). Other departments do not. All departments award the Additive Elective (one-hour, general engineering elective

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

    Major Additive Elective Tech Elective
    Biological Engineering YES NO
    Biomedical Engineering YES NO
    Chemical Engineering YES YES
    Civil Engineering YES YES
    Computer Engineering YES YES
    Computer Science YES YES
    Electrical Engineering YES YES
    Industrial Engineering YES YES
    Mechanical Engineering YES YES
  10. Will I still be considered a full-time student while I participate in a co-op?

    It depends. If you are eligible for and choose to enroll in one of the co-op classes, you will be considered a full-time student. Additionally, if you are taking a full course load during your part-time co-op, you will be considered a full-time student. If neither of these conditions are met, you will not be considered a full-time student.
  11. How much money will I make while I participate in a co-op?

    Students typically make $12-$18 an hour while participating in a co-op. These are average amounts, and will differ based on industry and location.
  12. How long will co-op participation extend my graduation date?

    It depends – It can have no effect on your graduation date, or it can extend it by as long as a year. This is based on when and where you choose to participate in a co-op and on how you schedule your classes around the co-op. To minimize the additional time in school, we recommend that you create a detailed academic plan with your academic advisor.
  13. What tuition and fees can I expect to pay?

    If you are eligible for and choose to enroll in the co-op class, there is a $25 course fee in lieu of tuition. This money is used to fund student professional development opportunities in the College of Engineering. If you do not enroll in the co-op class, you will not pay any fees.
  14. How will I obtain a co-op placement?

    Obtaining a co-op is the responsibility of the student. To assist in this process, we have put together a list of resources to look for internships. You can access this list here. For additional help, please feel free to schedule an appointment with your career counselor.
  15. Is participating in a co-op required?

    Co-ops are not required, but they are strongly encouraged. Students who participate in a co-op are significantly more likely to have full-time work at graduation or to be accepted into graduate school. They also tend to have higher starting salaries.
  16. Can international students participate in a co-op?

    Absolutely! As part of your student visa, you can take advantage of Curricular Practical Training (CPT). This means that you are eligible to take part in co-op and internship opportunities as long as they are for academic credit and are approved by your institution.
  17. What is the process of enrollment for a co-op?

    Consult the co-op process flowchart. For additional questions, please schedule an appointment.
  18. How will co-op participation affect my financial aid?

    Your financial aid will need to be deferred while you are on co-op. To do this, follow these recommended steps:
    1. Create a comprehensive list of your scholarships and loans, including contact information for each agency.
    2. Call each agency and inform them of your co-op and your need to defer your financial aid for the semester. Inquire about any consequences of this deferment.
    3. Meet with the Office of Financial Aid to confirm that you have contacted all necessary agencies and that nothing else needs to be done for your financial aid.
  19. How will co-op participation affect my housing?

    Many co-ops (especially full-time) will require you to move to another city during your co-op experience. Thus, you may need to get out of your lease (whether on-campus or off-campus) to co-op. For more specific information, please refer to the “Housing” section of the Student Alternating Cooperative Education Handbook.