Cooperative Education

Information for Students

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WHAT IS COOPERATIVE EDUCATION?

BENEFITS OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATION

COOPERATIVE EDUCATION VS. INTERNSHIPS 

 CO-OP ELIGIBILITY 

APPLICATION PROCESS

CO-OP POLICIES AND GUIDELINES

INFORMATION FOR CURRENT CO-OP STUDENTS

COOP VIDEO

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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 Stryker Orthopaedics
Gucci America, Inc. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. ExxonMobil The Associated Press
Honda R&D Americas, Inc. Panasonic Corporation of North America L'Oreal USA U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
Infineum Prudential Financial MTV Networks Verizon Wireless
ITT Industries, Avionics Division 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

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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 can earn three academic credits for each one.  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 or unpaid and college credit may or may not be given. There is 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.

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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 also have major-specific requirements for co-op eligibility.

 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. Graduate students should review the specific requirements for their respective departments. For a detailed description of co-op policy, please review Graduate Cooperative Education Summary of Policy.

 International Students

International students possessing a valid F-1 Visa are eligible to participate in the co-op program if they secure U.S. employment authorization. Co-op education work experiences are an option under curricular practical training. You must have been lawfully enrolled on a full time basis for one full academic year.  At NJIT this means the fall and spring semesters.  The authorization process begins after an offer of co-op employment is made.  F-1 Visa students are responsible for submitting written documentation of the job offer to Career Development Services. If you are a graduate student, you should review the Cooperative Education summary of policy for additional details on eligibility.

A career advisor will describe the necessary steps and provide the appropriate documents.  When all steps and documentation are completed, the Office of International Students will review the forms and grant authorization if all requirements are met. You may begin your work experience only after approval has been granted by the Director of the Office of International Students or his representative and by Career Development Services.  Please allow 5 to 7 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 International Students 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.

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.  Please enclose an unofficial copy of your Rutgers University transcript with the application.

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APPLICATION PROCESS

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.

  • After review of your transcript by a Career Advisor to determine eligibility, your application will be forwarded to the Faculty Co-op Advisor in your major department.  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.
  • Once you have been accepted into the Co-op Program, you can review available co-op jobs through your account on CDSlink which you can access using your NJIT UCID and password. You can begin submitting your resume to co-op jobs right away, after completing your CDS link profile and uploading your resume.
  • At the meeting with your Career Advisor to discuss your goals and interests, review your resume, and address career issues. We will also review the benefits and format of the Career Portfolio and answer any questions you may have. You can make an appointment through CDSlink.
  • 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 are:

  •  January through May
  •  May through August
  •  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 notes for whom you are working, salary information, additional courses taken during the co-op work period, and your learning objectives.
  • Arrange a site visit or phone interview between your faculty co-op advisor and your supervisor to discuss your work progress.
  • Complete a written report using the CDS Format for Work Report and submit two copies:  one for your department and one for CDS.
  • 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).  

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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 which is available to students 24/7. In certain degree programs the arrangement to "co-op qualify" a position obtained on your own can 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 work experience course during your placement period is mandatory. US citizens and permanent residents self-register for the co-op course at the time of placement. International students with an F-1 visa self-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.  Occasionally, 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

In most cases, you will receive three academic credits that will appear on your transcript after successfully completing each co-op course. Academic credit is additive or degree.  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. Masters and doctoral students receive only 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.

Tuition and Fees

Cooperative education is considered a course by NJIT.  Tuition and fees for co-op are your responsibility unless otherwise arranged. Failure to fulfill this requirement may result in holds on your future course registration and may prevent you from participation in other Career Development Services' programs. You are also responsible for tuition for any other course(s) you take while in a co-op assignment. For more info 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 and that are presently posted; adhere to all interview schedules; notify organizations and Career Development Services of acceptance or rejection of offers by the earliest possible time and no later than the time 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 personal appointments, preparation workshops, seminars, group meetings, and conferences as scheduled by the Career Development Services staff and/or faculty 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 for that specific period of registration by the university.

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 nine credits in addition to the co-op course.  If you are a graduate student completing a part-time placement, you will be considered full-time with six credits in addition to the co-op course.

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.

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 is reasonable, up to the limit set by the university.  Cooperative Education places no additional course load limitations on graduate students.

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.  Two or more courses can also be taken while engaged in a full-time co-op job, depending upon the number of hours worked per week.  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.  Employers expect graduating students to have pre-professional experience and some employers will not grant interviews to students who do not have this valuable credential.

Course Load While on Co-op

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 contract and your options.

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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INFORMATION FOR CURRENT CO-OP STUDENTS

•Student Checklist for Co-op Education Participation:


  • Review Co-op Job Postings in CDSlink  for new additions.