Workplace Issues

Any misunderstanding or problem that a student might have with an employer should be discussed with Co-op Director without delay. 

Dropping Out of the Co-op Program

Although it is discouraged, students may drop out of the Co-op Program at any time; however, there may be consequences.

Notify the Co-op Director immediately to discuss the situtation

  • An unexpected resignation can put the employer in a bind and deprive another student of filling the position.
  • Resigning from a position, even before starting work, jeopardizes your future participation in the Co-op Program.

If a student leaves a position without the consent of the Co-op Director, the student is automatically dropped from the program.

Changing Majors

If the student changes majors to a non-engineering major, the student is automatically dropped from the Co-op Program.

Working Only 1 Semester

If you drop out of the Co-op Program after working only one semester at your employer, it will be considered an internship. While internships are great experience, the single semester with a company does not go far enough into the engineering to earn technical elective credit.

Technical Elective Credits: If you drop from the program before completing at least two working semesters, you will not earn usable technical elective credits and will no longer receive first day registration. In this situation, although the 3041 class can not be used as technical elective credits, the grade from that class still will count towards the your GPA as a general elective.

Extended Absence Due to Illness or Other Emergencies

The Co-op Director should be notified immediately of any extended absence from the work assignment because of the impact it may have on the coursework and work assignment.

Employer Terminates the Position Early

Discharging Students

Unfortunately there are circumstances where a student is terminated from their Co-op position before the agreed-upon semesters have been worked. The way an employer proceeds to do this is not under the control of the Co-op Program. The student should contact the Co-op office and the Co-op Director as soon as they find themselves in this position.


While it happens rarely, employers have at times found it necessary to lay off a Co-op student. Employers are expected to 1) handle the process in the same manner as for a regular employee working at the company in the probationary period, and 2) notify the Co-op office.

If a layoff occurs, employers are highly encouraged to allow the student to finish out the 15-week work term. If that is not possible, the supervisor is asked to review and sign the student's academic assignment (that is, the technical report), so that the term is not a complete loss for the student. This assumes the student is far enough into the term to have started the report. If layoffs are imminent before a Co-op student begins the work term, then the employer is expected to notify the student and the Co-op Program, and give the student the option to decline that work term and take classes instead.

If a student is laid off, he or she will not lose the credits earned for any of the work semesters completed, even though the full six or eight credits have not been acquired. If a student is laid off mid-term and all the academic assignments are completed, it is still possible to complete the Co-op course for credit.


In the case of possible dismissal for cause, we would like to offer assistance and try to obtain a positive outcome for all parties. To that end, we ask that the Co-op Director be contacted as early in the process as possible. If the difficulties cannot be resolved it may be necessary for the employer to follow normal dismissal procedures. An employer is well within its rights to maintain and enforce its corporate standards.

Employer Discontinues the Co-op Program

Although there is not a written contract with the employers to guarantee the continued employment of Co-op students the entire two or three semesters as determined at the time of hiring, there is an ethical responsibility on both sides to continue the program as arranged. There have been a few occasions when employers have eliminated a program before completion. Such decisions are, of course, highly discouraged. However, if discontinuing the program is unavoidable, the Co-op Program personnel will do everything they can to reassign that student.