What is Co-operative Education (Co-op)?

Co-op

Co-operative Education (Co-op) is a type of internship program that enables college students to receive career training with pay as they work with professionals in their major fields of study. Work experience in government, business, industry, and human services enhances the students’ academic training. This valuable work and educational experience is documented on their official college transcripts.

Most employers who hire Co-op interns use the co-op concept as a recruiting tool. They tend to fill their new hire vacancies with graduates from their own Co-op programs, whenever possible, since they already know the capabilities and work habits of the Co-op interns they have trained. Co-op positions are offered on a part-time, parallel basis (20 hours or less weekly) or a full-time, alternating basis (40 hours weekly).

How can students register for Co-op?

Co-op education/training appears on the official transcript, therefore, students in the program must register each semester of Co-op using their PeopleSoft account or at the Admissions Office located in the Welcome Center for the letter grade to appear on the transcript for the non-credit Co-op course. To register and pay for the Co-op course, students wil also use their PeopleSoft account to pay before the specified deadline each semester of Co-op. All students registering for Co-op must confirm their work plans with their college/department by discussing the Co-op offer with their Academic Advisor to ensure they are in good standing with the college and university, they are at a point within their curriculum to adequately work in their chosen field of study, and that the offer letter is valid. All Co-op students must submit a Co-op Data Form in person at the Co-op Office or via email to complete the process. Please review Student Co-op Participation Requirements to ensure you meet all requirements.

Is there a fee paid to participate in Co-op?

There is a processing fee charged for each semester a student receives education/training as a Co-op intern. The fee is posted directly to the student PeopleSoft account. Some employers reimburse the student for the processing fee; it is up to the student to discuss with the employer regarding Co-op fee reimbursement. If the employer agrees to reimburse the student, the student should provide the employer with documentation that the fee has been paid through PeopleSoft and request the employer issue the reimbursement separate from the student paycheck to ensure the student receives the full reimbursement with no taxes removed.

What are the advantages of being a Co-op Intern?

  • Provides months of meaningful experience, making the student more valuable to an employer upon graduation. Many companies cut recruiting and training costs by hiring former Co-op interns.
  • Enables a student to earn money to help finance his/her college education.
  • Makes academic work more meaningful through practical application of classroom principles. Many employers have lab facilities and equipment that are not available on most campuses, at least not to the degree provided by companies.
  • Creates the proper environment to explore career choices and be professionally exposed to diverse opportunities within a specific field of study before graduation.
  • Offers the opportunity to collaborate and network with professionals who have many years of experience in the student’s major field of study.
  • Students can retain actively enrolled status while working as a part-time or full-time Co-op intern.

What is a Co-op Work Report?

A Co-op Work Report is a pre-formatted 6-8 page document which must be completed to verify the work is educational training in a particular field of study. A letter grade is assigned based upon completion of the Work Report submitted by the student each semester of Co-op. Co-op interns must complete and submit a Work Report each semester to verify the Co-op internship experience is within their field of study. Review of the Work Report (which includes an employer evaluation) assists in determining the letter grade received on the official transcript. Work Reports must be completed, submitted and signed by the appropriate employment supervisor (for undergraduate and graduate students) and faculty advisor (for graduate students only) before each semester deadline. Work Reports and evaluations should be scanned and submitted via email to ecareers [at] central [dot] uh [dot] edu to confirm the date and time of the submission. Submitting the Work Report after the deadline will result in the student receiving a lower letter grade on the official transcript up to and including a letter grade of F.

Co-op Intern Deadlines and Documents

The Co-Op Fee posting, Work Report due dates and Application deadlines are as follows. Three reminders will be sent to each Co-op student's UH email address each semester of Co-op to ensure awareness of policies and deadlines. If you are officially registered for Co-op and do not receive email reminders, please call (713) 743-4230 to ensure the Co-op Office has your correct UH email address on file.

Can a student complete back-to-back full-time Co-ops during fall and spring semesters?

No. Full-time rotational work experience (21+ hours or more per week) during fall or spring cannot be completed back to back. To maintain full-time actively enrolled status Co-op interns must be on one semester and off the next semester for full-time work experience within the Cooperative Education Program.

Can students request exceptions to current Co-op policies and procedures?

Yes. Co-op will consider exceptions on a case by case basis.