The College of Science and Engineering Co-op Program connects the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering with engineering companies across the nation. It is designed to provide students with the best education possible while exposing each student to a variety of engineering experiences within a given company. The program attracts many of the best students in the college. With their strongly directed interests and motivation, Co-op students contribute solidly to the employers for which they work, and the Co-op experience engenders noticeably greater maturity in students.
Involving students in diverse work situations during their academic career, while helping them improve their technical writing skills, transferable skills, and professionalism, is a unique opportunity for both industry and students.
The academic aspect of the Co-op Program calls for considerable commitment by the student. Students take two credit online courses during their work periods. Academic assignments include various reports and oral presentations. More information about academic expectations can be found on the required co-op courses page.
Goals of the Co-op Program
The Co-op Program has the following dual goals for the students:
Gain Real-World Work Experience
The first goal of the Co-op Program is to help students understand an engineer's role in the technical world. The program gives them an opportunity to apply some of their knowledge of fundamental theory to practical problem-solving. In most cases, it helps students select a direction in the broad field of engineering and thus influences their selection of elective courses during their last two years as a college student. The experience motivates students to plan and successfully complete their academic program.
Improve Transferable Skills
The second and equally important goal is to improve students' non-technical skills that are necessary in a business environment. Students take online courses during their work periods. The courses cover a diverse set of material including effective business writing, engineering ethics, networking, team-work, the patent process, the business model canvas, and dealing with conflicts at work. Some of the assignments in the course require students to conduct short interviews with colleagues and talk to their supervisor.
Benefits of the Co-op Program
- Access to students before they enter the job market as a graduate engineer.
- The opportunity to observe students as a Co-op employee before making the commitment of a permanent hire.
- The opportunity to train individuals in your particular methods.
- Advertisement for your company to students in the College of Science & Engineering.
- The opportunity to be involved in the educational process of future engineers.
- Development of technical writing skills through the Co-op coursework.
- Valuable major-related experience in their field of interest.
- Application of classroom theory.
- Exploration of career goals and options.
- Networking within the company and industry in general.
- Development of maturity and social skills.
- Financial support for their college education.