Cooperative Education

Information for Students

  • The Co-op application is accessed by logging into your CDSlink account and clicking on Apply to the Co-op Program under the Shortcuts menu.

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WHAT IS COOPERATIVE EDUCATION?

BENEFITS OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATION

COOPERATIVE EDUCATION VS. INTERNSHIPS 

 CO-OP ELIGIBILITY 

PARTICIPATING IN CO-OP

CO-OP POLICIES AND GUIDELINES

SUGGESTIONS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR CO-OP EXPERIENCE

COOP VIDEO (Please open in Explorer.)

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WHAT IS COOPERATIVE EDUCATION?
Cooperative Education (Co-op) is an academic program that gives students the opportunity to gain paid professional work experience before graduation.Co-op work experiences are closely aligned with your major studies and improve understanding of the relationship between classroom theory and practical application.

Nearly 2600 different companies have hired NJIT students over the past decade. Employers range from large multinationals to small start-up companies. Students have completed their co-op assignments in New Jersey, across the nation and overseas.  Recent co-op employers include: 

AT&T Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products eClinical Works, LTD Langan Engineering
ADP Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. UPS The Associated Press
Honda R&D Americas, Inc. Panasonic Corporation of North America L'Oreal USA McGraw Hill Financial
Infineum Prudential Financial Viacom Verizon Wireless
MTA Transit Colgate-Palmolive National Security Agency Wakefem Food Corporation

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BENEFITS OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATION

Cooperative Education provides many unique opportunities.  You can:

  • Determine if the current major is a good match for your interests, skills, and values
  • Test different work environments and management styles within a major
  • Make the connection between academics learned in the classroom and its application in the work place
  • Earn academic credit relevant to your major course of study
  • Help defray the costs of personal or educational expenses through earning a good salary
  • Gain exposure to cutting edge technology and research in addition to what is available at NJIT
  • Develop professional and communication skills in a real world environment
  • Begin a network of professional contacts among colleagues and supervisors
  • Improve interviewing skills for future positions by becoming familiar with an employer’s expectations
  • Increase the likelihood of future full time employment with your current co-op employer through exemplary performance
  • Position yourself for a higher starting salary or more advanced position as a full time employee as a result of your work experience
  • Meet employers’ expectations that prospective employees obtained professional work experience while a student

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COOPERATIVE EDUCATION vs. INTERNSHIPS

A co-op work assignment is always related to your major and is always a paid experience.  Students who successfully complete a co-op work experience may be able to earn three academic credits, according to the major department’s co-op policy.  Co-op assignments coincide with a semester or the summer.  Each degree program at NJIT has a designated faculty co-op advisor who oversees the students within each major to ensure the quality of learning.  Co-op positions are reviewed by Career Development Services to insure that the jobs meet quality standards.

Internships provide a learning experience that may or may not be related to your major and may vary in length. They most often coincide with a semester or the summer. Internship assignments may be paid, unpaid, and college credit may or may not be given. There is usually no formal faculty involvement in an internship as there is in a co-op. However, student interns may choose to consult a faculty member for advice and perspective on the work assignment.  Students who are successful in obtaining an internship are encouraged to enter the employment data into CDSlink.  Some internships may be eligible for conversion to co-op status.  Please check with your Career Advisor to explore this option.

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 CO-OP ELIGIBILITY

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students can apply as early as freshman or sophomore year, depending on major department requirements.  In the undergraduate option, a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.2 or above is required and you must be in good academic standing.  Individual departments may have a higher GPA standard and may also have major-specific requirements for co-op eligibility.  Check with your academic department before beginning the co-op process.

 Graduate Students

To participate in the Co-op Program graduate students must have completed at least one semester of graduate study at NJIT with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, be in good academic standing, and making satisfactory progress toward the degree. Within the 3.0 or above cumulative GPA, at least two major courses must have grades of “B” or better, not counting bridge courses. Graduate students should review the specific requirements for their respective departments. For a detailed description of co-op policy, please review the Graduate Cooperative Education Summary of Policy.

 International Students

International students possessing a valid F-1 Visa may be eligible to participate in the co-op program.  You must secure U.S. employment authorization for co-op education work experiences under curricular practical training. You must have been lawfully enrolled at NJIT on a full time basis for one full academic year.  This means a combination of the fall and spring semesters consecutively, not counting the summer. Or you must have previously been enrolled full time at another US college or university.  The authorization process begins once you have applied to the co-op program through CDSlink after your second semester and after a written offer of co-op employment is brought to CDS. If you are a graduate student, you should review the Graduate Cooperative Education Summary of Policy for additional details on eligibility.

A career advisor will describe the necessary steps, provide a check list, and supply the appropriate documents.  As part of the authorization process, you must register for the appropriate co-op course which you will learn from your Career Advisor.  When all steps and documentation are completed with CDS, take your forms to  the Office of Student Global Initiatives who will review them and grant authorization if all requirements are met. You may begin your work experience only after approval has been granted by a representative of the Office of Student Global Initiatives and by Career Development Services.  Please allow 4 to 5 business days before your proposed start date for the authorization process to be completed.  International students holding a visa other than F-1 should consult with the Office of Student Global Initiatives for work authorization eligibility.

Transfer Students

Students transferring to NJIT from another institution must complete at least one semester at NJIT to be eligible to apply for the co-op program.  Acceptance into the co-op program is dependent on meeting eligibility requirements once your application has been reviewed.

Rutgers University--Newark Students

You must be matriculated in a major that is eligible for the NJIT co-op program. You must meet minimum NJIT co-op criteria and have completed at least 15 credits at NJIT by the end of the semester in which you apply.

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PARTICIPATING IN CO-OP

Complete the Cooperative Education Application Form on-line through CDSlink  Please be sure to read the statement of co-op policies. By submitting the co-op application electronically, you agree that you have read and understand the co-op policies and that you will abide by them.  You also agree to authorize the release of your resume and unofficial transcript to potential employers by submission of the co-op application to CDS.

  • After review of your transcript by a Career Advisor to determine eligibility, your application will be reviewed by a Career Advisor and forwarded to the Faculty Co-op Advisor in your major department, if required.  Career Development Services will notify you by e-mail if you have been approved for or denied entrance into the Co-op program. If you are denied entrance, the reason will be stated.  If you are not accepted into the co-op program and wish to apply the following semester, contact your career advisor.
  • Make an appointment through CDSlink to meet with your Career Advisor to discuss your goals and interests, review your resume, and address career issues.
  • Once you have been accepted into the Co-op Program, you can review available co-op jobs through your account on CDSlink. You can begin submitting your resume to co-op jobs right away, after completing your CDSlink profile and uploading your resume.
  • If you have not received a response to your co-op application within two weeks, please contact Career Development Services at 973.596.3100 or your career advisor

Co-op Work Cycles
You may work in one or more co-op assignments, depending on individual preference and eligibility.  Work placements do not have to be consecutive.  Students should apply the semester before the cycle in which you would like to work.  The typical work cycles spring, summer, or fall:

  •  January through May
  •  January through August
  •  May through August or September
  •  June, July, or August through December

Course Requirements
All placed co-op students are required to:

  • Meet with their designated career advisor.
  • Complete and submit a Learning Agreement that is signed by you, your supervisor, your faculty co-op advisor, and a Career Advisor.  The Learning Agreement states your employer and supervisor information, salary information, additional courses taken during the co-op work period, and your learning objectives.
  • Contact your Faculty Co-op Advisor to arrange a site visit or phone interview to discuss your work progress.
  • Meet with other co-op students and give a brief oral presentation of your work experience.  Specific requirements for the presentation will be given to you by the Faculty Co-op Advisor.  Click here for course requirements and written paper format for additive/zero credit (doc, pdf) or for degree credit (doc, pdf). Please submit two copies of your report: one for your department and one for CDS.   Check with your Faculty Co-op Advisor for any additional assignments.

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CO-OP POLICIES AND GUIDELINES  

Placement

You may secure a co-op position through Career Development Services.  All co-op positions are posted on CDSlink. The arrangement to "co-op qualify" a position obtained on your own may be approved. The required standards for acceptable co-op assignments are that they relate directly to your major and/or career goals and provide new and appropriate work responsibilities that advance your knowledge, skills and abilities in your field.  To determine if a specific position can be co-op qualified, please make an appointment to see a Career Advisor. You must provide written documentation of your job offer in a letter from your employer that should contain:

  • Your name and that you have been offered employment as a co-op student
  • Your job title and a two-to-three sentence job description that confirms that the position is related to your major
  • Name of supervisor and contact information
  • Exact start and end dates of your work assignment
  • Number of hours per week you will work
  • Salary by hour, week, or month

Course Registration

Registration for your academic department's co-op course during your placement period is mandatory. All students register for the co-op course at the time of placement. International students with an F-1 visa register for the co-op course as part of the work authorization process.

Relocation

Most co-op assignments are located in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area within reasonable commuting distance.  Some quality opportunities occur out-of-state and require relocation.  In some cases of relocation, the employer may subsidize housing costs or may have arranged for inexpensive housing for co-op students, help you locate housing, or assist you with relocation expenses.  The type and amount of assistance varies among employers so be sure to have a clear understanding of your employer-provided relocation benefits, if any, before you accept a position that requires a move.


Academic Credits

After successfully completing each co-op course, you will receive three additive, three degree, or zero credits. Additive credit courses are graded as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Degree credit courses that replace a departmentally approved elective are given a letter grade and count in your GPA. Some co-op courses are zero credit. Master’s and doctoral students receive additive credit for co-op work experiences.  Undergraduate students should consult your Career Advisor to determine your major department's policy on whether co-op courses are for additive, zero, or degree credit, depending on your department’s co-op policy..

Tuition and Fees

Cooperative education is considered a course by NJIT.  Tuition and fees for the co-op course are your responsibility. Failure to fulfill this requirement may result in Bursar holds on your future course registration. You are also responsible for tuition for any other course(s) you take while in a co-op assignment. For more information please visit the NJIT registrar web site at www.njit.edu/registrar.

Professional Interviewing Conduct

You are expected to honor NJIT's co-op policies and procedures; prepare for the interviewing process and accurately present your qualifications and interests; request employment opportunities for co-op positions in which you are generally interested; adhere to all interview schedules; notify organizations and Career Development Services of acceptance or rejection of offers by the earliest possible date and no later than the start date mutually agreed upon; honor an accepted co-op job offer (written or verbal), as a contractual agreement; withdraw from the interviewing process upon acceptance of a job offer; and notify Career Development Services and all employers with whom you have a pending job offer or scheduled interview of your decision.

Professional Workplace Conduct

You are expected to arrive for your co-op position as scheduled, observe the employer's hours, policies and rules, and continue your work period until the arranged ending date. You must demonstrate professional performance and behavior during your co-op work experience.  Click here for a Checklist For a Successful Work Experience

Attendance

You must attend all career advising appointments and final seminars as scheduled by the Career Development Services staff and/or Faculty Co-op Advisors.

Status while Participating in Co-op

If you are enrolled in the university's Co-op Program, registered for an appropriate co-op work experience section, and a full-time co-op student, you will be considered a full-time student by the university for that specific period of registration.

If you are an undergraduate in an academic department in which part-time co-op has been approved and you are completing a part-time placement, you will be considered a full-time student when registered for at least twelve (12) credits including the co-op course.  If you are a graduate student completing a part-time placement, you will be considered full-time with nine credits including the co-op course.

Course Load While on Co-op

Full-time undergraduate students completing a full-time co-op placement may register for two courses in addition to their co-op course. Undergraduate students who are part time or working in a part time co-op arrangement may take as many credits as approved by your academic advisor, up to the limit set by the university.  Cooperative Education places no additional course load limitations on graduate students.

Impact on Financial Aid

The salary you earn may affect the financial aid that you receive.  A percentage of a student's earnings (with the exception of College Work Study) may be added to the family's contribution. For specific information, please contact your Financial Aid counselor.

Taxes and Unemployment Insurance

According to the US Internal Revenue Service, wages paid to co-op students are fully subject to federal income taxes.  Wages are also subject to state income taxes and FICA (Social Security taxes).  International students also pay federal and state taxes, but not Social Security taxes. For all students, once your co-op assignment is completed, you are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

Impact on Residence Life Contracts

Occasionally, a student accepts a co-op position that makes it impractical to live on campus during the co-op cycle because of the employer’s location.  You are encouraged to contact Residence Life as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Impact on Graduation

Depending on how you schedule your co-op assignment with your academic classes, your graduation may be delayed while you obtain major-related work experience. Students who plan early can maximize summer classes, summer co-ops, or distance learning to keep pace with their original expected date of graduation. Working in one or more co-op assignments is highly beneficial even if it results in delayed graduation.  Time spent gaining major-related work experience can greatly improve your chances of obtaining a full time position before or shortly after graduation.

Limited Guarantee of Placement

While every attempt is made to place each co-op student, Career Development Services cannot guarantee placement.  Co-op assignment schedules are determined by employers and are subject to business conditions and student performance.  Assignment duration cannot be guaranteed.

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SUGGESTIONS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR CO-OP EXPERIENCE