Co-operative education (co-ops) involves alternating semesters of full-time enrollment and full-time, paid employment related to the academic programs. At the University of Minnesota, these programs are available to students in the Insitute of Technology. Co-ops are available in aerospace engineering and mechanics, biosystems and agricultural engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, and industrial engineering. Typically, if you participate in a co-op experience, it will take more than four years to graduate; however, co-op work experience, which is comparable to entry-level employment, will be a valuable asset upon entering the competitive permanent job market. 

Students may participate in co-operative education after completion of the sophomore year. Students must first obtain approval from ther academic department, which bases its decision on GPA and completed course work. Applications should be submitted for a co-op at the midpoint of their sophomore year. Transfer students may apply for admission to co-op programs once they have been admitted to their department. 

There are several ways to locate an internship or co-operative education experience. Some employers hold on-campus interviews, others ask for resume referrals of interested students, and many post current opportunities. International students should see an advisor in International Student and Scholar Services about work permission. 

Most co-op programs begin during the summer or fall semester. Each work session should expose the student to greater responsibilities and experiences. Students must complete a minimum number of work sessions to satisfy co-operative education requirements. The experience is paid, and they may also receive academic credit for the work experience. A letter grade or other designation may be assigned after completion of each work session. Both the student and thier employer must complete periodic evaluations to share with their academic department. Contact the participating departments for more information.