Locating and applying for a co-op

Locating a co-op position

Students are responsible for locating their own co-op positions and CSE Career Services will help you with your search. Students interested in participating in a co-op should fill out this Student Interest Form. You can upload a copy of your resume to the form, which will be included in a resume book that is sent to employers. The Co-op program will email you about open co-op opportunities when applicable. 

Students should utilize Handshake to locate open co-op positions. Many positions will be listed as a "Co-op " or under the cooperative education filter. Search for keyword " Co-op" and use the co-op filter to find a current list of Co-op positions in Handshake. We encourage you to complete your entire Handshake profile and upload an updated resume as employers may use Handshake to search for qualified applicants.

Note that employers may set qualifications for their co-op positions (GPA, work authorization, major, etc.). Students should also attend the CSE Career Fair in the fall and/or spring to meet with companies interested in hiring co-op students. Students may find co-op positions outside of Handshake, but employers must meet the requirements as outlined in the employer section of the co-op website.

Students who would like assistance with their co-op search should utilize the resources offered by CSE Career Services. Career Counselors are available to assist students with their co-op search. For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit the CSE Career Services website.

Interviews are scheduled and conducted directly between employers and students. They may be virtual or in person and this will vary depending on the preferences/procedures each employer has in place for their hiring processes. For tips on preparing for interviews and navigating job offers, visit the CSE Career Services website.

Position Requirements

  • You must work under the supervision of a qualified engineer who can provide effective professional and technical guidance.
  • You must work for at least two semesters. A third semester is possible, but credit will not be granted for the third semester. *If an international student you must talk with the co-op office prior to starting your co-op if you want to work 3 semesters
    • Ideally, students will work consecutive semesters (summer/fall or spring/summer). However non-consecutive semesters may be approved.
    • You cannot work the same semester (for example spring 2024 and spring 2025). This is because the same co-op course is offered each spring semester and each fall semester and the course cannot be repeated.
  • You must work full-time (40 hours per week).
  • The position must be related to your major.
  • You must be paid a competitive wage.

Application deadline

Applications must be submitted in Handshake no later than one week prior to the first day of the semester in which you intend to begin your co-op. You can find a list of upcoming deadlines in the Important Dates section of the website

Application process

Once you have located a co-op and accepted the position, you will need to apply to the Co-op Program. The Co-op Program uses Handshake to process application materials. You will be able to manage your co-op application and job status through your Handshake account.

Follow the below instructions to submit your application via Handshake:

  1. Log into Handshake. Sign in with your UMN password. 
  2. You will need to create and/or update your Handshake profile. In your profile, please list your major and your standing (sophomore, junior, etc.). If you are new to Handshake, consider reading this article: Getting Started with Handshake.
  3. Click on Career Center in the left side of the screen. Click on Experiences.
  4. Click Submit an Experience. Follow the instructions below to fill out the application:


Experience Type: select CSE Co-op Program
Term: select the term you intend to begin your co-op

Organization: begin typing the name and this should pre-populate if the employer is already in the Handshake system
Location: enter the location of the co-op
Industry: optional
Phone Number: use supervisor phone number if known
Email: use supervisor email address

Experience: list your position title
Department: if applicable
Dates: enter your co-op start and end dates. This is important to determine if your co-op meets the 2 semester requirement
Experience Type: select cooperative education
Employment type: select full-time
Salary: note your hourly wage
Offer date: enter date in which you received your offer
Offer accepted: select yes. Only submit this application if you have accepted a co-op position.

Complete the rest of the application, answering each question completely. Any reference to supervisor means your direct manager at your co-op site. This should be a qualified engineer and not a human resources staff member. If you are waiting on a supervisor to be assigned to you, please reach out to the co-op office to let us know. Incomplete applications will delay the approval process.

Receiving Approval

Once you request your experience, you will receive an automated email from Handshake. Your application will be reviewed by CSE Career Services first. Next, an email will be sent to your co-op supervisor for approval. Some applications may require further consultation by the Co-op Faculty Director. You will be notified by email within two weeks of submission whether or not your application has been approved.

International Students

International students in F-1 status are eligible to participate in the Co-op Program and work legally in the United States with Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization. International students must complete one full academic year of full-time coursework and must be pursuing an academic program to be eligible for CPT. For more information, visit the International Students webpage.