Chalkboard with the word success written on it.

Getting Started in Co-op

Co-op is an educational experience which integrates academic and career interests with industry experience. Students convert theory into practice, applying classroom knowledge to work situations, learning information and skills to enhance future coursework.

Sophomore students in Engineering, Computer Science students in A&S, and Biological and Environmental Engineering students in CALS, must attend an information session* to learn about Co-op.


*Engineering Co-op Information Sessions are scheduled for October 16 & 17, 2018 at 4:30pm in 155 Olin Hall. A panel of seasoned Co-op students will be there to talk about their experiences and answer your questions.

"go get it" written on chalk board


  • Cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher
  • Declared major by end of Sophomore year
  • Junior status before first work term

How is Co-op Different from an Internship?

Usually internships are limited to 12 weeks or fewer, whereas Co-op involves paid work experience over a semester plus a summer. Because Co-op students complete 28 weeks or more, the work tends to be more substantive. Students tend to find added satisfaction in the more involved projects and learn more about te industry.

Employers appreciate Co-op's longer work terms because students are able to work on projects more independently after training. On a resume, the longer work terms reflect a higher level of responsibility and greater industry experience.


Co-op vs. Internship
Eligibility2.7 Gpa, Engineering Major (or CS-CAS or BEE-CALS, Junior StandingDetermined by employer
Length of Work Period

28 weeks

(Fall or Spring plus Summer)

Summer 10-12 weeks
Cornell InvolvementMonitored through Cornell: site visits, evaluation forms, contact with supervisors, assistance with problemsNo direct involvement once internship begins
QualityMonitored through Cornell: work assignments are monitored for quality; students are assigned actual Engineering workVaries
For International StudentsCurricular Practical Training (CPT)Usually Optional Practical Training (OPT)


Why Co-op?

Engineering Senior discusses how Co-op was a better choice for him than an internship, and how it fit into his academic and career plans.


Engineering Co-op Information Sessions for the 2019-2020 academic year are scheduled for October 16 & 17, 2018 at 4:30pm in 155 Olin Hall.

All students participating in Co-op are required to complete an on-campus recruiting (OCR) tutorial. Please go to the Cornell Career Services website to locate and complete the tutorial.