The Cooperative Engineering Education Program (or the "co-op program" as it is generally known) is a program within the Swanson School of Engineering whereby the student engineer's educational experience is enhanced by a series of challenging, highly relevant, "real world" work sessions. Rotating semesters at work with semesters at school does this. Typically, the first work rotation is after the end of the sophomore year or the first term of the junior year, and students can complete three 4 month or two 6 month rotations. This is a popular and highly successful program: co-op salaries are excellent and the work experience gained is invaluable as well. More information can be found on the co-op program's website.
Partial List of Companies
Participating companies range from small to large, public to private, Pittsburgh-based to international. Participating co-op companies that hire IEs include: Connors Group, Curtiss-Wright EMD, FedEx, H. J. Heinz, Logile, LMI, Mine Safety Appliances (MSA), Stores Consulting, Siemens, Tindall, UPS, Walt Disney Company, and West Monroe Partners.
Industrial Engineering Credit for Co-op
During each co-op rotation the student must register for 1 or 1.5 credits of ENGR 1090. Students may substitute three credits (with "S" grades) of ENGR 1090 for one of their technical electives. At the end of the co-op experience the student is required to turn in a written technical report (see below for Report Requirements) to the IE Department. This report should detail the entire co-op experience. If a report is not turned in, the student will still get a grade of S/U for each credit of ENGR 1090 - however it will not be possible to count these as a technical elective.
Co-op Schedule Forms
Standard co-op schedules for IE students can be found here:
Standard Co-op schedules for IE students
As part of the requirements to earn credit for a technical elective for ENGR 1090, industrial engineering students are required to submit a co-op report. This report is expected to be a professional technical document (although it should be written in first person) and contain no typographical or grammatical errors. At a minimum, it should contain the following:
- Title Page: This should include a suitable title for the report, the name of the student, the name of the company where the co-op experience took place, the name of the industry supervisor(s) and the dates of the rotations.
- Table of Contents
- Abstract: An executive summary of the entire paper.
- Introduction: This section should provide an overview of the company, including a description of its product line, the processes used and the industrial engineering functions. It should also describe the co-op student's position within the company and an overview of the tasks assigned and completed.
- Description of Activities: This section should provide a detailed description of all projects and assignments carried out at the company during the course of each of the work rotations undertaken by the student. The activities should be arranged chronologically. The write-up must clearly bring out the relationships between the assignments carried out and the student's coursework and academic program at Pitt. The description should also specifically discuss how the co-op experience improved your ability to function effectivley as part of a professional workplace team.
- Conclusions: This final section should summarize the impact of the student's work assignments both on the company as well as on the student. It should also integrate the various assignments that a student typically undertakes and discuss their relevance to the "big picture" from an industrial engineering perspective.
- References & Appendices (if applicable)
To get a clearer picture on what a technical paper entails, it is suggested that the student refer to the Styles Manual published by various technical societies, take a look at some of the journals in the engineering library, or review the co-op reports written by other industrial engineering students (available by request from the department co-op advisor). There is no maximum or minimum length restriction. However, a typical paper is about 15-20 pages long.
DEADLINES: The report must be turned into the departmental co-op advisor in the term in which the student plans to graduate (a specific date will be provided at the beginning of each fall and spring semester).