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Oklahoma State University

Cooperative Education (Co-op)

Frequently Asked Questions

Pick up a registration packet from the CEAT Career Services office. You will probably receive the registration packet with this Handbook. Complete and sign all forms and return to the CEAT Career Services Coordinator.

The HIRE System, the web-based recruiting system hosted by OSU Career Services, contains many opportunities for Co-ops and internships. Register on the HIRE System, upload your resume, apply for positions, and interview. The CEAT Career Services Coordinator can give you some ideas of where other students have done Co-ops and help you improve your resume so you are more marketable to employers.

Absolutely! In fact, many students do obtain their Co-op positions through networking, website research, or direct company contact.

Yes. It is not unusual for a student to have a successful summer internship and receive an offer to continue the work experience into the fall semester.

Please be sure to read the job description carefully. Many employers use the term “Co-op” differently than we do. The job description should tell you the start and end dates, or at least the term of work the employer is seeking to hire for. If you are unsure, ask for clarification.

Yes. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria outlined. In fact, international students who secure a summer internship may enroll in Co-op to meet the CPT requirement.

No. Your work experience is your classroom. The enrollment maintains your student status.

Yes. But use caution. Remember that you will be holding down a full-time job. Engineering coursework on top of a 40+ hour work week is a challenge. However, it is not unusual for a stu-dent to take a lighter course such as one of the general education requirements or tech writing while participating in Co-op.

The primary benefit to you is that it maintains your full-time student status. In addition, the Cooperative Education program is a work and study partnership between the student, Univer-sity, and the employer.

You will be charged for tuition, but most of the fees are waived. Many employers have tuition reimbursement benefits.

All students considering Co-op are advised to check with the Scholarships and Financial Aid office. In most cases, scholarships are deferred until the student returns to campus.

Check with the Financial Aid office. Normally, when a student drops below 9 credit hours, the student loan organizations begin requesting payments. Enrollment in Co-op, which maintains full-time status, provides an exception to this policy. Visit the Financial Aid office before you leave to Co-op, and pay careful attention to any correspondence you may receive from student loan providers.

We have a standard form letter that is accepted by health insurance carriers. This letter verifies that Co-op students are considered full-time students. We’ll be happy to fax a copy to the in-surance carrier.

Yes. The assignment includes a technical report on your Co-op experience, and some additional documents covering evaluations and worksite information. A syllabus is included in your As-signment Packet, which is obtained from the Co-Op Coordinator or at the Desire2Learn site:

Yes. The grade is based primarily on the technical report. Many students view Co-op as a method to help boost their GPA in addition to the other benefits.

The credit you earn through Co-op is considered elective hours. Some majors within CEAT may accept the upper division – 2nd, 3rd, and subsequent Co-op terms – as controlled elective hours.

It is critical that you sit down with your flow chart and the Work/Study plan to determine how Co-op fits into your schedule. The traditional Co-op program consists of three terms of work experience alternated with semesters on campus. You may begin a Co-op in the fall, spring, or summer. Most students complete two terms back-to-back: spring and summer or summer and fall, then return to work for an additional summer term. You may not work fall and spring terms back-to-back. Be alert to courses on your flowchart that are sequential or are only offered during specific semesters. For most students, Co-op only delays graduation by one semester. But for some, it has the potential to delay graduation by a year. Below are some examples of Work/Study plans.

Year Fall Spring Summer
1 School School Free
2 School School School
3 School Co-op I Co-op II
4 School School Co-op III
5 School    
Year Fall Spring Summer
1 School School Free
2 School School Co-op I
3 Co-op II School Co-op III
4 School School Co-op IV
5 School    


Most students complete two or three work terms. Under special circumstances, a student may complete only one term. Some students complete at many at five Co-op terms.

After you complete the Registration Packet and return it to the CEAT Career Services Coordi-nator, you will be able to enroll through SIS. Contact your academic advisor for enrollment clearance if needed. For your first term you will enroll in ENGR 2030. For your second term, you’ll enroll in ENGR 3030. For your third and any additional terms, you will enroll in ENGR 4030. Each of the courses is available for one to three credit hours. It is your choice as to how many hours you select. You will do the same assignment regardless of whether you select one or three credit hours. Remember, you will pay tuition, but you will also earn a grade for each Co-op course.

Cooperative Education is an academic program in which students may gain professional work experience, directly related to their major fields of study, prior to graduation. This is accomplished by scheduling multiple terms of paid, full-time employment, alternating with semesters of full-time coursework.
In the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, Co-operative Education is an optional program that many students find beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • Co-op provides an opportunity for progressive levels of responsibility and professional experience because of the commitment for repeated, alternating terms of work.
  • Co-op participants earn competitive salaries. The reported salaries for CEAT Co-op students range from $2000 to over $4000 per month.
  • Enrollment in the Co-op program maintains full-time student status when the student is away from campus. By maintaining full-time status, the student may retain health insurance coverage, scholarships and loans, and campus benefits such as access to student athletic tickets, etc.
  • Cooperative Education enrollment earns 1 – 3 elective hours of academic credit per term of work, and is seen by many students as a way to strengthen their grade point. Some majors within CEAT may accept the upper division hours of Co-op as controlled electives.
  • The typical Work/Study plan is configured with two terms of work back-to-back – Spring and Summer or Summer and Fall. The student returns to campus for one or more terms of full-time coursework, followed by an additional Summer term of Co-op.

And of course, the most obvious benefits include acquiring hands-on experience to integrate classroom learning and the workplace, while enhancing career opportunities.

The Pros and Cons of Cooperative Education


Begin these steps at the start of the semester prior to the term for which you are seeking employment.

  1. Schedule an appointment with Andrea Haken, the CEAT Career Services Consultant, at (405) 744-7574, to receive the information and materials you will need to complete before you can begin the referral process. Bring the completed documents listed below. Please be prepared to discuss your preferences on Co-op employers and locations. You will need to work with the Coordinator to mutually decide which employers your application will be sent.
  2. Complete each of the forms in the Co-op information packet and return to 101 EN.
    Required forms include:
    • Co-op Student Agreement
    • Release of Information Form
    • Work-Study Plan Form
    • Cooperative Education Student Registration

    The Work/Study Plan must be signed by the appropriate Faculty Co-op Advisor. If you need assistance with the Work/Study Plan, schedule an appointment with your Advisor. You will also need to provide a current Grade Report.

  3. Research potential job openings in which you might be interested. You may locate your own Co-op position or pursue positions from the CEAT Co-op Employer list. Check employer websites, read brochures and student evaluations about previous Co-op assignments, and talk with students who are participating tin the Co-op program to get ideas.
  4. When your application file is completed and you have discussed your Co-op opportunities with the Coordinator, your material will be submitted to the prospective employers along with a letter of referral from the Coordinator. Your application file will not be considered complete unless it contains each of the documents listed in Step 2 and additional required forms you will receive in your first meeting with the Coordinator.
  5. Not all companies require an interview. In some cases, a decision is made based solely on your application materials. Generally, telephone interviews are utilized. Be prepared for a call at any time — even during the early mornings! In other situations, you may be requested to go to the company for an on-site interview. Be sure you are aware of those companies who interview on campus so that you will have an appointment scheduled with them through the OSU HIRE System.
  6. Generally, employers will contact you within three to four weeks after receiving your application to schedule an interview or notify you as to their decision regarding hiring. Sometimes the wait is longer. At some time, you should receive a letter or phone call of acceptance or rejection of the offer. Notify the CEAT Career Services Coordinator of your acceptance as soon as possible. If you applied to more than one company, you should also write the other companies and inform them that you have accepted another offer.
  7. You will receive further instructions concerning enrollment, course requirements, etc.
  8. Complete the online orientation or attend an orientation session.

This packet must be completed, have required signatures, and be returned to the CEAT Career Services Coordinator prior to participation in the work experience. The packet contains:

  • The Student Registration Form
  • Release of Information Form
  • The Work/Study Plan
  • Co-op Student Agreement

The Co-op Student Statement of Understanding (pdf)

It is important to read and understand these policies prior to participating in a Co-op work experience. Please ask the CEAT Career Services Coordinator to explain anything that is unclear. Many of the problems that have arisen for previous Co-op students involve not reading the policies. The italicized text provides some additional clarification concerning points that have questioned or misunderstood by previous Co-op participants.

The Assignment

The "N" on Your Transcript

When You Return to Campus