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. CO-OP consists of competitive industry leaders and higher education institutions “cooperating” with one another to provide hands-on work experience to full-time actively enrolled students within a degree seeking program, while simultaneously receiving vital assistance from student interns to complete company projects and initiatives.
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 (21-40 hours weekly). UH CO-OP is not offered to recent UH graduates or alumni.
What students are eligible to CO-OP?
Most students participate in Co-Op at the start of their junior year but all student levels are eligible to apply to Co-Op after completing a minimum of two semesters at UH,including currently enrolled post-baccalaureate, DACA, F-1 international, and graduate students. CO-OP positions are available in most UH college disciplines, especially engineering, business, and natural science and mathematics. Student must be enrolled full-time the semester (Long Semester: Fall or Spring) prior to participating in CO-OP and the semester after participating in the CO-OP program if the student is not graduating.
How can students register for Co-op?
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.uh.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.
What are the policies and procedures for registering in CO-OP?
The policy of requiring each student to complete paperwork in the CO-OP Office is in place to ensure students participating in CPT/CO-OP complete the CPT form and are not only aware of the requirements to participate in the Cooperative Education Program (CO-OP) but also to assist students with any questions they may have while completing paperwork before, during and after the work experience.
It is legally allowed to authorize another person to process CPT/CO-OP documentation in your absence but please be aware that historically when someone else processes the paperwork for a student, there is often important information miscommunicated and/or misunderstood, deadlines are usually missed and paperwork is frequently not processed in a timely manner. To avoid these issues, please consider a visit to the CO-OP Office at a later date to receive the orientation before starting the work experience, if possible. Please note that by authorizing someone else to process your paperwork, you are responsible for knowing and adhering to all policies and procedures for CPT and CO-OP. A letter of authorization must be completed prior to the visit to the office.
Please visit the CO-OP office for all policies and procedures regarding the Cooperative Education Program (Co-Op).
Can students request exceptions to current Co-op policies and procedures?
Yes. Co-op will consider exceptions on a case by case basis.