Engineering student Tyler Wirth co-ops with Messer Construction on the Calhoun Residence Hall renovation project.

Cooperative Education (Co-op) Program

At the University of Cincinnati, we believe co-op develops the best engineers! We invented co-op more than 100 years ago, and we’ve never stopped reinventing it — which is why we're consistently ranked top 5 for co-op (US News) in the nation and offer one of the best returns on investment in higher education.

What is co-op?

Cooperative education — or co-op, for short — allows you to alternate semesters in the classroom with semesters working full-time at a job in your major and pay for college. We're ranked in the top 5 for co-op (US News) and students earn a total of $61,000 on average. The best part? You have five different co-op positions to learn more about what interests you in your field.

Why participate in cooperative education?

With a collective $58 million in annual co-op earnings, many UC students graduate with less debt. Successful co-ops often lead to a job offer before you graduate.

You get a temporary glimpse of a job in your field to determine what you like and dislike. If a co-op experience isn't what you're looking for in a career, you have two to four more co-ops to learn what interests you.

My co-op rotations helped me land my full-time position before graduation and I couldn’t be more thankful! Through my experiences, I learned about different departments that I love and others that I’d rather not continue in — learning what I didn't like prior to graduation was very helpful.

Ali Ziegler Biomedical Engineering, '22

What does a co-op schedule look like?

Typically, your schedule will include:
  • 35+ hours per week
  • 15–18 weeks (semester)
  • On site, remote, or on-campus

Where can I co-op?

Anywhere you want! Choose to stay close to home, in Cincinnati, or travel the globe. Choose a research co-op here at the college or work for businesses and organizations, including Fortune 500 companies. Our students often work for:

  • Apple
  • Ethicon Endo-Surgery
  • GE Aviation
  • L'Oréal
  • Messer Construction
  • Microsoft
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Rivian
  • Siemens
  • Tesla
  • Toyota

Check out our student co-op stories or learn more about where our students often work for their co-op rotation

How do I find a co-op position?

Every CEAS student is assigned a co-op advisor who will help coach you through the job search process. Just like finding any job, you'll submit an application, follow an interview process, and negotiate your offer. Tools like Handshake and services such as the Bearcat Promise Career Studio will help you find your co-op and prepare your application materials. 

How does co-op work?

Your schedule will alternate semesters in the classroom with semesters spent working full-time in a chosen field. Typically, you'll complete between three and five co-op semesters prior to graduation, which is equivalent to 1.5 years of job experience to put on your resumé!

Why is co-op essential to an engineer's education?

It's important to learn how to work with people and understand the business side of being an engineer. Dr. Weidner says co-op is more important than ever to an engineering education.

Learn more about co-op from current students!

If you're ready to explore what co-op is like, follow our Instagram to see current students takeover to share their co-op experience and what it's like to be a CEAS student!