Education is the rotation between school and full-time work assignments that
relate directly to your engineering, chemistry, or computer science discipline. This program enables students
to complement classroom studies with practical experience, technical knowledge, and financial reward.
At the University of Pittsburgh,
the student works full-time for a term, and then returns to school for full-time study.
complete the program requirements and
receive certification, engineering
students must work a minimum of three four-month
terms. Computer science students work 2-3 terms. Some
students have an opportunity to work four or more terms. As long as you remain with your co-op employer, you are considered a co-op student. Students who participate in the Program do
not have the option of changing their status from co-op to intern to
avoid paying the co-op fee. Students pay the co-op fee for the first three terms.
Co-oping begins for many students upon completion of the sophomore year.
Mechanical, chemical, materials
science, engineering science,
computer, environmental, and electrical engineering students have the
option to begin work midway
through the sophomore year. Work sessions begin in May, September, or January. Junior-level students can still participate midway through
the year and easily satisfy the three-term commitment.
Students must possess a minimum 2.0 QPA
overall, and should not be on
term probation. Also, required coursework for each department must
be completed. If you are in doubt regarding your academic status, see the co-op advisor in your department. (Some co-op employers
will set a higher QPA requirement.)
No, co-oping is an option for any
Education office is committed to assuring a practical work experience for each student in their field of study. We
work with a wide range of companies including public and private, small
and large. We have placed students nationally as well as many in the Pittsburgh area.
Some students have had international
assignments with their co-op employers.
have successfully placed many transfer students
from regional campuses and other colleges and universities. Most transfer students
begin at the main campus after the sophomore year and can begin co-op assignments
after one term at the main campus. See your advisor as soon as possible
to ascertain your co-op schedule.
experience, technical knowledge, financial remuneration, confidence, assurance, and better understanding of academics are all benefits of the co-op experience in addition to the academic credits
earned by the student. The co-op
experience has also immensely benefited graduating students in
their job search. Although many
students eventually accept permanent employment with their co-op employers, many others
find that they have multiple offers to
select from; many with a higher than average starting salary.
The co-op office is open from 8:30
a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and located in offices 152 Benedum
In order to register
with the co-op
program, you need to apply
online. The following link will allow
you to register and verify your understanding of the
program. You will also need to read and
acknowledge the Statement of Understanding guidelines and requirements. https://usr.engr.pitt.edu/CoOpStudent
New in 2018, the co-op program will now post all co-op job
notifications on the USR Portal. Students will gain access to the online portal
once they’ve applied for the co-op program. Students can then search for jobs
by their major and apply to jobs they’re interested in. Students can either
apply online through a link posted, or simply check the “send resume” box if
applicable, and the co-op office will send their resume directly to the
employer. Once students accept a job offer, their access will then be revoked
since they will be done with the co-op search process.
In addition to the online application, you will need to submit
a resume (soft copy), and a sample
schedule form. Once you accept
a position, your academic
advisor will need to approve your schedule.
First of all, we cannot guarantee anyone a
co-op position or guarantee that you will receive an offer within a specific time frame.
You may be one of those students who interviews for one
position, receives an offer from the company,
accepts it, and thus completes the interviewing process. Most students
find, though, that securing a position is
a waiting game. Most offers are tendered toward the end of the term, and many students find themselves
deciding between two offers. Keep
in mind that it may take more than one term to
secure a position. You may want to apply to the co-op office as early as possible in your college career. It is our experience that if you are interested in only certain industries or
certain geographic locations, your job search can become more difficult.
give up! Many students think
that because they haven't heard from a company they are not desirable candidates. That is simply not the case. Employers
are extremely busy with varied responsibilities;
the co-op program is just one area for many of them. Again, most students will
receive offers if they sign up for a number
The co-op office hosts two annual job fairs for co-op employers and students during the
spring and fall terms of each year. By attending this job fair, you will significantly increase your opportunities of finding a co-op position. A booklet of participating
companies will be available the week of the fair and can also be found on our website. Please check with the co-op office for details on this event. Not all companies attend
the job fair. The co-op office
works with many employers and continues job
development efforts throughout the term.
should research any company that
interests you on-line. Our job
fair participants are listed on our website. We also
have a list of participating companies from our
annual reports but please keep in mind that this list changes constantly.
In addition, the co-op office has a file on each company. We
sometimes have informational brochures on each company that you can keep or borrow. We also have salary information on almost all of our employers. Please ask us for this
information if it is important to you!
It is important
that we follow guidelines established by the employers. However, if
you are truly interested in a company for which you do not meet criteria, please
let us know. We will contact
that company on your behalf.
Many employers will agree to consider those candidates
and some have received offers!
How will I know
which companies are interested in me?
Once the resumes leave our
office, one of several things might happen:
We strongly encourage all
students to mock interview with our
staff members or someone in the Career Services Office.
Additionally, we will host a mock interviewing session during the fall semester that can accommodate
almost 100 students. We have
found that most students who utilize this service not only feel more comfortable
during the interviewing process, but ultimately receive job offers. Co-op employers sometimes offer interviewing skills workshops through Career Services or our office. Check out our important
dates to see if there are any professional
development workshops coming up. It's
Particularly if you are interested in the position. A sample letter
can be found in our student handbook. It is appropriate to send by email or regular mail. The notes can be hand written
if sent by regular mail.
No, you do not. However, it is
critical to turn down the position in a professional manner. There may come a
day when that same company might be of great interest to you. If they've had a
bad experience with you, it’s possible that they won't consider you for future
employment with them. Be truthful but professional. If you have absolutely no interest
in the position, don’t take up the interviewer’s time by accepting a plant
visit. Here are two examples: we have had students register, interview, and
then decline a position by saying that they will have trouble completing coursework
if they co-op. First of all, schedules
are in place to ensure successful
completion of coursework. All
students must see a faculty
advisor before beginning to interview
to have a schedule
approved; the co-op office must have a copy of that schedule. Saying that Pitt does not offer the courses is not
true and only serves to hurt other applicants. Also, after receiving an offer, some students have said that they do not want to
move out of town, or that their
parents do not want them to move. These are issues that should have been resolved
before the student's first interview. We suggest that you be open, but realistic. If you absolutely
know you cannot leave Pittsburgh, indicate that under Geographic Restrictions on
the Interest Form. Yes, it will limit you, but it is only impeding
the chances of other students who are more interested.
first thing you need to
do is notify the co-op office. We will make certain that your resume is not circulated to any additional companies,
to save you the responsibility of explaining your decision to them.
Do not continue to interview or go on plant trips. Tell any employers
who contact you that you
are no longer available, but thank them
for considering you. You may also want to add that you might
re-submit a resume to them during senior
However, some companies just
notify the students they wish to extend the offers to for
co-op employment. If you have not heard from a company you are interested
in, ask someone in the co-op office.
We are usually up to date on what
is happening with each company.
all positions are paid. The average
starting salary is between
approximately $12-21 per hour for undergraduate
students and between $16-30
per hour for graduate students. All positions are full-time.
We ask that you consider
any job offer very seriously before accepting or rejecting. If you have an offer but are waiting
for a possible offer from another
company, it is perfectly acceptable and in fact a good idea to call them to ascertain your status before making a decision. We are also available
to help you obtain any needed information.
Once you have made your decision, however, we expect you to consider that a commitment to the company. Reneging on job acceptance may cause dismissal or suspension
from the co-op program. We recommend
that students ask questions and get details
regarding the position
before accepting. Information can be gained
from: 1. Employer 2. Internet 3. Other Students 4. Professors. 5. Co-op office. Take advantage.
The co-op students at the University of Pittsburgh usually
remain with the same employer
for all work assignments. Our philosophy
is that by completing three or more terms with the same employer, the student
receives increasingly challenging
work assignments, and is typically performing as an entry-level engineer by the
last session. This is dependent upon both the student
and employer's satisfaction with the program.
Students do have the ability
to change employers, however.
Please review our section on “changing co-op employers" which is on page 27 of the handbook. We expect our students to have at least two rotations with the same employer. Additionally, employers are not required to take
back a student whose work performance does not meet their standards.
No. You still pay the co-op fee if
you got the position through the efforts of this office, regardless of the
number of rotations spent with them or when they occur. We will contact the
company to be sure of their commitment to our program.
If you are laid off by the employer
for economic reasons,
you may re-enter the program
and look for another employer for the remaining terms,
or you may leave the program with an “S” grade as long as your evaluations are completed. If
you lose your position for poor work performance, you must meet with the
Co-op Director. A determination will be made
regarding any further
participation in the program. If you are suspended for academic reasons,
you must raise your GPA before
continuing in the program.
Yes, each student has a co-op
faculty advisor and courses have been scheduled to accommodate the co-op students. Your advisor will complete
a schedule form for you, which can be picked
up from the co-op office. The schedules are to
be completed as a part of the application checklist before you accept
interviews. It is the student's responsibility to give a
signed copy to the co-op
office and his/her
department. You also need to keep a copy for yourself.
co-op course maintains your full-time student status each term that you
There are liaisons in both the
financial aid and housing offices who will
work with you to provide a smooth transition from full-time student to co-op student
each term. Beginning
with the FAFSA application for the 2010-11 academic
year, co-op wages reported
on a student’s IRS return
will be subtracted from any other earnings the student might
have had for that tax year. This is the same practice
that applies to Federal College
Work-Study wages. Financial
aid is generally not available to students while they are on co-op assignments; this aid will be available
for the terms when students
are in class. State funds (PHEAA) might
be affected by earnings.
Students may live in the dormitories while on a work rotation
as long as they have a current
housing contract. Also, on-
campus housing is contingent upon participation in the housing
office's lottery system. We can obtain a reduced meal plan
for co-op students if requested for students who need to leave the area for
Accepting a co-op position
outside of Pittsburgh is a great
way to broaden your horizons and for you to
see what it’s like to live in another part of the country or even internationally for a finite
period of time. Most companies will offer some form of housing
assistance for those positions outside
of Pittsburgh. Inquire
at the co-op office or ask the company during your interview. When you return
to Pitt for classes and need a sublet for 4 months,
you can let us know and we will email your housing needs to current co-ops through
Blackboard. Please see the housing section on page 25 of the handbook for
additional details. The housing office will allow students to break their
contract and will work to make sure that you have a dorm room when you return.
They cannot guarantee you the same space, but will assist every way they can.
Also, the university offers a sublet site at
Yes; engineering co-op students
will be registered for a one credit course entitled Engineering 1090P (Pittsburgh
campus) or 1090J (Johnstown campus); approved arts and sciences co-op
students for Engineering 1091; international co-op students for Engineering
1092; and computer science co-op students for Engineering 1093. The
fee for this course is $305 plus the part- time safety & transportation
fee, activity fee, wellness fee, and 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. 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
*Students working more than 75 miles from campus may
be exempted from the wellness fee and the safety and transportation fee.
No. If a student uses the services
of this office to gain employment, the fee must be paid for the first three
Although the majority of our students
are on four-month work and school cycles,
some employers have programs that require deviations from that model, which is usually
an extension of the work term. If academic schedules permit, the co-op
office and academic departments will usually grant approval for a change in the
rotations under those circumstances. If something comes up during
your tenure in our program
that interferes with the alternating semesters, please email the co-op director.
Additional information on this subject
can be found on page 28 of the student handbook.
No, we do not have a
"summers only" program. Our students complete the program by rotating
work and school.
You'll most likely be drug tested.
Companies have the right to rescind the offer in the event of a positive
testing. Also, many companies complete background checks, and can also rescind
an offer based on the results of that check.
Yes, but it takes
planning. When developing your co-op schedule, the co-op office advises you
meet with the Study Abroad Office in addition to your departmental co-op
faculty advisor. You must inform the co-op office when you apply to Study
Abroad in order to coordinate your rotation schedule.
You will have to decide which offer you want to take. You will have to
let the other company know that you are declining their offer and thank them
for their interest. You can ask the co-op office for assistance with this and
advice on how to handle having one offer on the table while you're still
waiting to hear back from another company as well.