Pitt | Swanson Engineering
BioE UG Guidebook - Cooperative Education

Cooperative Education
Cooperative Education, aka Co-op, is the single best educational experience an undergraduate can have. Co-op provides an unique opportunity for undergraduate students to connect directly with industry for “real-world” experience in bioengineering. The Department highly encourages all undergraduates, including transfer students, regardless of future career aspirations (industry, graduate school, medical school, etc.) to participate in Co-op. Experience gained through the program will pay dividends in future endeavors, whatever they may be.

Process
       NOTE: The process for Bioengineering students differs slightly from that in the Co-op Office brochure.

  1. Register with the CO-OP PROGRAM.
           NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE AN "APPROVED CO-OP SCHEDULE" to register or search for a position.
           Co-op schedules are individually tailored to the student, depending upon which semester one starts and the rotation cycle (three Co-op semesters in a row, alternating Co-op/school semesters, or some other sequence).
           See POSSIBLE BioE CO-OP SCHEDULES for ideas on how you can structure your co-op experience.
           BIOENGINEERING WILL PROVIDE AN APPROVED SCHEDULE ONLY AFTER YOU HAVE A CO-OP OFFER.
  2. Start searching for a position.
           Your responsibility.
           The Co-op Office can help, but do not expect them to do all the work.
  3. Notify both the Co-op Office AND your Undergraduate Coordinator when you have an offer.
           Your Undergraduate Coordinator will prepare an individualized (and approved) co-op schedule based upon your educational process and the semesters you will co-op.
  4. The Co-op Office will register you for ENGR 1090 for each semester that you co-op.
  5. Inform the Co-op Office and your Undergraduate Coordinator immediately about any changes to your co-op plans.

Academic Credit
Students participating in the Co-op Program register for the 1-credit course ENGR 1090 for each rotation. Students will receive a grade of "S" for satisfactory completion of the rotation. Bioengineering students who satisfactorily complete three co-op rotations (grade of “S” in each of the three ENGR 1090 courses) can use the credits to satisfy a 3-credit advanced engineering/technical elective in the undergraduate program by submitting a professional report documenting their experience to the Undergraduate Coordinator. The report format is as follows.

  1. A report cover page which includes:
    • A title - based on the main topics of your co-op assignment
    • Your name
    • The company(ies) at which you worked
    • The semesters when you worked
  2. An abstract of no more than 200 words that conveys the summary of the foremost results/conclusions of your co-op assignment. Do NOT include comments on the co-op program itself or the effect of your assignment on your academic performance in this section.
  3. The report should be divided into three main sections:
    • The co-op program itself - include all comments, including unfavorable ones and suggestions for improvement, on our co-op program, how it influenced you, how it affected your academic performance, whether it had any bearing on your career choices or opportunities, how it helped/hurt your finances, whether the program is a benefit to our department, etc. PLEASE BE HONEST - this part of your report will be used to improve the program. Please suggest ways to improve the program for new students. (3-4 pages suggested)
    • The assignment(s) that you had; describe the problem(s) on which you worked. Give the reader a sense of the problem as it was presented to you. If you had several assignments, make note of them all in, but emphasize the one on which you spent the most time or made the most significant contributions. DO NOT include any data or information that is confidential. The summary should provide an informative set of conclusions you made on a specific task or contributions that you made to a task involving many people. (3-5 pages suggested)
    • Clearly describe the relationships between your assignments and your academic program. Indicate specific courses that were particularly useful. (2-3 pages suggested)
  4. Submit an electronic copy of your report to the Undergraduate Coordinator as soon as practicable after your last co-op rotation.