Engineering students who have completed required major courses through the first semester of the junior year and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 are eligible to participate in the Co-op program. The School of Engineering Co-op requires that students complete a 6-month, full-time work experience in a corporate engineering position. This usually involves a continuous summer-fall or spring-summer experience. The Office of Career Services provides listings of co-op opportunities, but students may also obtain positions on their own.
While on co-op, students register for the co-op course for their major, i.e. for Mechanical Engineering - 14:650:497 (fall) or 496 (spring). The student registers for 6 credits for the academic semester (no registration is required for summer). In order to participate students must provide information about the company and the position they are being hired for to the department Undergraduate Director, who in turn will issue a special permission number to register for the course. The Undergraduate Director will also describe requirements to receive a "pass" grade for the course, e.g. performance review by supervisor, final paper, etc (slightly different for each department), and will indicate the type of credit that will be earned, e.g. technical elective, departmental elective, general elective, etc.
While on co-op students may register for up to two additional courses to maintain full-time enrollment. If any course is scheduled during daytime hours (periods 1 - 5) the student must provide a letter from the company stating that release time is approved to attend class and that the student is expected to make up the time to maintain full-time status. If students elect to register for only the 6-credit co-op the University will consider them to be part-time students. They will pay part-time tuition and fees (pay per credit). Part- time status will affect most scholarships, need-based financial aid, and on-campus housing. If students enroll for at least 6 credits they are still eligible for loans, but most other aid will be canceled or reduced. Discuss this issue with Financial Aid. Registration for less than 12 credits will also normally cancel eligibility for coverage under most family health care plans. Limited health insurance can be purchased from the University for the duration of the co-op assignment. This should be discussed with family and the health care provider.
The normal steps in arranging a School of Engineering Co-op program include first obtaining a job offer (through Career Services, major department, or on own), discussing requirements and registration specifics with the Undergraduate Director of the major department (for students completing the Packaging Engineering Concentration, see Dr. Gea), and then confirming the above with Dean Prendergast. In some limited cases, students are eligible to earn credit via co-op for something less than a continuous 6-month duration. This normally involves a full-time summer and part-time during the academic year or full-time during the year for a period of less than 6 months. Eligibility varies depending on major. These arrangements must be approved by the major department Undergraduate Director.