FAQ

Job FAQs

Coursework FAQs

Major-specific FAQs

What is the "Co-op"?

What is the "Co-op"?

What is the "Co-op"?

The Co-op Program provides engineering work experience beginning no earlier than the completion of the sophomore year. During this time students complete either two or three full-time work semesters interpersed with semesters of full-time academic coursework.

A minimum number of two work semesters are required to satisfy the cooperative education requirements and one of those work semesters must be a spring or fall semester. A co-op will not consist of just summer semesters.

 A Co-op participant is paid and also receives academic credit for the work semester's online co-op course.

How do I get a Co-op position?

How do I get a Co-op position?

How do I get a Co-op position?

Every spring and fall the Co-op Program hosts an Interview Week where employers interview students for Co-op positions. After the interviews the Co-op Program matches students with employers, based on both the employers' and students' preferences, for Co-op positions. Students are not guaranteed a match, due to the number of available positions and employer interest after the interviews,  but the placement rate is about 70%.

The application deadline for participating in the Interview Week is the 3rd week of the spring or fall semester.

Some students have found their own co-op positions, through job postings or the career fair. Go to the Student-Found Co-ops section of the website to see if your position is eligible for the Co-op Program.

How long will it take to get a Co-op position?

How long will it take to get a Co-op position?

How long will it take to get a Co-op position?

From the time the applications are due to when students are matched with positions is 2 months. An overview of the process is can be found on the Interview Timeline webpage.

What is the difference between a co-op and an internship?

What is the difference between a co-op and an internship?

What is the difference between a co-op and an internship?

Co-ops and internships both allow students to gain valuable work experience in fields related to their academic or career interests. The major differences are that the Co-op Program involves working multiple semesters with the same employer during a student's education–gaining a deeper understand and contributing more effectively—while an internship involves working only one semester.

Co-op students must register for an online academic Co-op course during each working semester and will receive technical elective credits for the Co-op experience, whereas students cannot earn usable technical elective credits during a one-semester internship.

Can I work each Co-op semester at a different company?

Can I work each Co-op semester at a different company?

Can I work each Co-op semester at a different company?

No. A co-op is defined as working multiple semesters at the same company. Working 2 semesters at 2 separate companies would be defined as serial internships, where you are starting over each time. Working 2 semesters at the same employers allows you to get deeper into the engineering and more proficient with the company.

What salary can I expect?

What salary can I expect?

What salary can I expect?

Salaries are set by employers and vary from one company to another. As of 2017, the average starting salary was approximately $18.00 per hour. However, your primary goal as a Co-op student should be to obtain the best work and educational experience possible.

Is it possible to get Co-op credit for a position I found on my own?

Is it possible to get Co-op credit for a position I found on my own?

Is it possible to get Co-op credit for a position I found on my own?

Yes! You must contact the Co-op Office, fill out the student application and have your employer sign the Employer Agreement. Remember that your job must be related to your major, paid, and full-time, for at least two semesters. More details can be found in the Student-found Co-op section of this website.

I already work at an engineering firm - can I get credit for it?

I already work at an engineering firm - can I get credit for it?

I already work at an engineering firm - can I get credit for it?

The Co-op Program is intended for full-time students to gain full-time work experience. If you are working at an engineering firm but a part-time student, make an appointment with the Co-op Program Director to determine if your situation can be turned into a co-op.

I am an International Student, can I still work as a Co-op?

I am an International Student, can I still work as a Co-op?

I am an International Student, can I still work as a Co-op?

International students in F-1 status are eligible to participate in the Co-op Program and work legally in the United States with Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization. 

International students must complete one full academic year of full-time coursework and must be pursuing an academic program to be eligible for CPT. You can read more details at the Co-op's International Student's webpage.

How many semesters must I work to fulfill Co-op requirements?

How many semesters must I work to fulfill Co-op requirements?

How many semesters must I work to fulfill Co-op requirements?

You are required to work at least two semesters, however, three semesters is recommended, if your employer has a 3-semester program. At least one of the semesters must be a fall or spring semester; a co-op will not consist of only summer semesters.

Will I still be considered a full-time student during work terms?

Will I still be considered a full-time student during work terms?

Will I still be considered a full-time student during work terms?

Yes. Once you register for a Co-op course and fill out a 13-credit exemption form, you will automatically be enrolled as a full-time student. You can read more about this at our Course Registration page.

Do I still pay tuition during work terms?

Do I still pay tuition during work terms?

Do I still pay tuition during work terms?

Yes. You will register for each Co-op course just as you would any other course; however, you will not be charged full-time tuition. You will need to complete the "13 Credit Exemption" request on Onestop to request exemption from paying full-time tuition. Once your request is approved, you will only be charged for the credits you are taking, at the current per credit rate. More details can be found in the Course Registration, General Details section under the Working Students tab.

How will my Co-op work terms impact my scholarships and financial aid?

How will my Co-op work terms impact my scholarships and financial aid?

How will my Co-op work terms impact my scholarships and financial aid?

Your scholarships and financial aid should not be affected by your participation in the Co-op program. You will still be considered a full time student. The Co-op Program can provide a letter to your scholarship committee, if needed.

Will I be able to use the Co-op credits toward my degree?

Will I be able to use the Co-op credits toward my degree?

Will I be able to use the Co-op credits toward my degree?

Yes. If you work two semesters, you will earn six technical elective credits and if you work three semesters, you will earn eight technical elective credits. Computer Engineering majors can only use six technical elective credits.

If you do not complete the program and work only one semester, the two credits from the 3041 class will not count as technical elective credits, but the 3041 grade will still count toward your gpa as a general elective. BUT it is always wise to talk with your advisor before applying to the Co-op Program to confirm the credits will be useable in your situation.

Can I get a Co-op position but not take the courses?

Can I get a Co-op position but not take the courses?

Can I get a Co-op position but not take the courses?

No. If you get a Co-op position through the Co-op Program, you are required to take the Co-op courses. Taking the Co-op courses allows you to be considered a full-time student while you are working.

Is there a grade given for the Co-op course?

Is there a grade given for the Co-op course?

Is there a grade given for the Co-op course?

Yes. Each semester requires coursework to be completed in which a grade, A-F will be assigned. The courses are primarily online/distance ed courses through Moodle. Your job performance is not factored into the grade.

What happens if I forget to register for the Co-op course?

What happens if I forget to register for the Co-op course?

What happens if I forget to register for the Co-op course?

If you do not register for a Co-op course, your work semester will not count toward your completion of the Co-op Program, you will not receive the technical elective credit for your co-op experience, and you will not be enrolled at the University of Minnesota for that semester.

May I take other academic courses during my work term?

May I take other academic courses during my work term?

May I take other academic courses during my work term?

Co-op students are allowed to take no more than one extra course, in addition to the Co-op course, while working full-time at their employer. Taking an additional course during working semesters may help you stay on track to graduate on time; however, the course should not interfere with completing Co-op coursework on time and should not take away from working a full 40 hours per week.

Chemical Engineering Majors

Chemical Engineering Majors

Chemical Engineering Majors

To participate in the Co-op program, you need to define at least two semesters for the work assignment. If you are following the 4-year plan exactly, there is only one reasonable place to fit in this opportunity.

1. An entire academic year between Junior and Senior year.  In this option, you can complete two semesters (Fall + Spring) or three semesters (Fall + Spring + Summer) between the Junior and Senior Years.  This option extends time needed to earn your degree by one year.

If you are ahead of schedule on the requirements in the lower division such that you can complete all required courses from the first two years on the 4-year plan in 3 semesters, then you can consider a Co-op assignment during Spring Sophomore year and the following summer. There may be other possibilities depending on your specific situation; see Kacey Gregerson or your Faculty advisor to discuss.

Materials Science Majors

Materials Science Majors

Materials Science and Engineering Majors

To participate in the Co-op program, you need to define at least two semesters for the work assignment. If you are following the 4-year plan exactly, there are two reasonable places to fit in this opportunity.

  1. Summer between Junior and Senior Year + Fall Senior Year.  In this option, you will complete the Co-op assignment and then return to campus for Spring Senior Year (permission will be granted for taking MatS 4301W without MatS 4212) and follow that up with the Fall Senior Year courses (MatS 4212, MatS 4221, Tech Electives).  This option extends time needed to earn your degree by one semester (December graduation). 
  2. An entire academic year between Junior and Senior year.  In this option, you will complete two semesters (Fall + Spring) or three semesters (Fall + Spring + Summer) between the Junior and Senior Years.  This option extends time needed to earn your degree by one year.

If you are ahead of schedule on the requirements in the lower division such that you can complete all required courses from the first two years on the 4-year plan in 3 semesters, then you can consider a Co-op assignment during Spring Sophomore year and the following summer.   There may be other possibilities depending on your specific situation; see Kacey Gregerson or your Faculty advisor to discuss.