Through the assistance
of the Swanson School of
Engineering’s Cooperative Education Office, formal arrangements are established
with industry that permit students to rotate four-month terms between the
workplace and the classroom. At the University of Pittsburgh, this rotation
begins after the completion of the sophomore year, and extends into the senior
year, with the Co-op student completing at least two four-month work rotations.
These rotations, which are typically but not necessarily with the same
employer, allow job duties to increase as the knowledge and skills of the
During Co-op rotations,
students earn competitive salaries.
In order to register for the Computer Science
Co-op Program, the student must submit the following materials to the School of
Computing and Information Cooperative Education Coordinator, Alka Singh
Students apply to the
Co-op Program at least one semester before they begin their rotations (in many
cases, this is well before you have a Co-op employment offer). In order to be
eligible for all positions, please see the following dates for paperwork
Students on Co-op
assignment are still responsible for getting themselves registered for classes
in the term following their Co-op term. Some assistance may be provided by the engineering Co-op
office. Additional assistance may be provided by the Computer Science
For more information,
see the Cooperative Education Home Page. If you are interested in the
Co-op program, your first point of contact should be the SCI Co-op Coordinator,
not the CS Department.
SCI Co-op Education
520 IS Building
Completion of at least 2
four-month Co-op rotations and a summary paper can be used by a Computer
Science major to satisfy the Capstone graduation requirement. However, the
Co-op does not count in place of any regular Computer Science courses.
In addition to receiving
an “S” grade for at least two co-op rotations, students using their cooperative
education experience for their capstone requirement must complete an 8-10 page
paper as the final requirement. This paper must be completed in the term
following your final co-op rotation. The deadlines are as follows:
The topic should be an examination / explanation of your co-op both from a
technical point of view (projects you did, things you learned, etc) and from an
experiential point of view (workplace issues, organization, etc).
Please use a standard
format (.doc, .docx, .pdf) and submit via email to Dr. Ramirez. You are
strongly encouraged to have your paper reviewed by the Writing
Center http://www.writingcenter.pitt.edu/ prior to submission.
to most of your questions can be found by reading the undergraduate
Co-op Handbook, which is used by Engineering, Computer Science,
and Information Science undergraduate students.
However, answer to the most common questions asked about Co-op are also
I register for Co-op credits once I have an offer, and how much does this cost?
You will need to provide
a copy of your offer letter to the SCI Co-op Coordinator (Alka Sing) that must
If you are an
international student, you will also need to apply for CPT through My OIS. As a Computer Science
undergraduate co-op student, you will then be registered for a one credit
course entitled CS 1906 – Computer Science Cooperative Program. The
fee for this course is $325 plus the safety and transportation fee, activity
fee and prorated computer fee. Students will be registered for this course
prior to the commencement of each work term. After completing
three terms, registration for the co-op credit is optional (unless you are an
international student on an F-1 Visa – please see Alka Singh for details).
Regardless of whether you register or not, if you remain with your co-op
employer for additional terms, we still consider you part of the co-op.
Note: Students do not
pay the standard university resident or non-resident per-credit charges, the
co-op substitutes instead. University tuition charges can be found at: www.ir.pitt.edu/tuition/phgpafirst.php
able to take classes while I am on a work rotation?
cannot take any coursework during the first work rotation unless necessary. During
subsequent co-op rotations, as per the guidelines established by our Deans and
Faculty, students are permitted to take a maximum of one evening
course per Co-op rotation. Of course, if you travel or work overtime, check
with your employer before committing to a class. Approval to take this course
must be granted by BOTH your site supervisor AND the Computer Science Co-op
work hour and duration criteria must I satisfy for the experience to be allowed
as a Co-op experience?
a minimum of 2 rotations, a maximum of 4 rotations
a minimum of 32 hours per week and a maximum of 40 hours per week
15 weeks is preferred per rotation, as low as 12 weeks per rotation is accepted
Can I participate in Co-op in my final term of study?
No - students cannot graduate in a co-op semester
Can I telecommute?
No – the experience must be at the employer’s physical location; if the
work environment is dispersed across multiple locations, the student must work
at the physical location of the on-site supervisor.
the difference between Co-op and an internship?
A Co-op is a multiple rotation full-time only experience that is
agreed to up-front and which
requires students to map out how they will still achieve semester-by-semester
graduation requirements in a timely fashion.
A student must be registered for 1 academic Co-op credit per Co-op
rotation, the fee structure is different for the Co-op credit than a “normal”
credit course, and a student is defined as a full-time student during each
Co-op rotation through enrollment in the 1-credit Co-op course. Co-op credits cannot be directly counted
towards fulfilling degree requirements, but if the capstone option of Co-op is
achieved, the capstone requirement is met (but the student would still need 120
relevant credits other than Co-op in order to graduate).
An internship is a 3 credit practical experience with a strong academic
component that: a) directly applies to degree requirements, b) does not have to
be paid, c) can involve an employer with whom we do not have to establish a
formal Co-op relationship, and d) can be part-time.
Can I switch an
experience from Co-op to internship or Internship to Coop?
No – this determination must be made in advance of any work done for the
employer; once you have committed to a Co-op with an employer your experience
with that employer must remain a Co-op experience. If you have committed to an internship with
an employer, your experience with that employer must remain an internship.
If I am an
international student studying in the U.S. on an F-1 visa, what work
authorization issues do I need to consider?