Cooperative Education (Co-op) Program

At the University of Cincinnati, we believe that learning is doing and doing is learning. Through our cooperative education program, (or "co-op," as it is widely known), students in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) practice their future profession in real employment environments—starting immediately after their first year at UC.

The University of Cincinnati is the global birthplace of cooperative education. In 1906, the dean at the time, Herman Schneider, proposed the concept to a skeptical Board of Trustees. He was given the go-ahead; the program started with 27 students. The next year, there were over 800 co-op applicants. Today, our co-op program is the largest of its kind at any public institution in the United States. Read more about the evolution of cooperative education at the University of Cincinnati.

Schnieder’s concept has grown into the pride of the University of Cincinnati. For over 100 years, our co-op program has been putting education into action by connecting our students with the world beyond our classrooms—because we believe that true learning involves inclusion, collaboration, and connection.

What is cooperative education?

Cooperative education is an educational model in which students alternate traditional academic semesters with semesters spent working full-time in their chosen field. By integrating the academic curriculum with paid, on-the-job experiences, students in the CEAS at the University of Cincinnati get a comprehensive engineering education based on real-world application.

Co-op positions are offered by organizations all over the world. Typically, students complete between three and five co-op semesters prior to graduation. On the year-round co-op schedule, students complete at least a year of professional engineering experience, gaining first-hand knowledge of professional practices and advancement opportunities—at the University of Cincinnati, you practice what we teach.

Why participate in cooperative education?

Co-ops are designed to introduce our undergraduate students to the professional engineering environment. Co-op students preview their potential career path and determine if they are heading in the right direction. The best part? If one co-op brings the realization that you’re off-track according to your goals and interests, you have two to four more co-ops to explore your options! 

The University of Cincinnati generates more than 6,000 co-op placements each year in over 1,300 companies in 44 states and 22 countries around the globe. Successful co-ops often lead to employment post-graduation—check out our student co-op stories or find out more about where we co-op.

Learn more about CEAS Cooperative Education 

Explore and pursue the limitless opportunities made available by the College of Engineering and Applied Science co-op program at the University of Cincinnati! Find out more about cooperative education by contacting us. You can also visit the Career Education page to see how the co-op program has become what it is today.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward becoming a Bearcat, visit our admissions page—or apply now using The Common Application!