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Co-op FAQs for Students

  • Major in engineering, computer science, math sciences, physics or chemistry; you must be enrolled full time at the University of Kentucky to participate in Co-op
  • Complete at least the first two semesters of your degree program – we recommend that you have some classes in your major completed before starting your Co-op in order to be given more meaningful work
  • Maintain a 2.5 GPA or above (progress toward engineering standing and academic performance in the most recently completed semester are also considered)
  • Have time left to work a minimum of three semesters, alternating between school and work
  • We understand Co-op as a multi-work-term agreement usually with the same employer; traditionally with at least three work terms alternated with school terms, resulting in a 5-year degree program. Co-ops are full-time, paid positions, and our Co-op employers are prepared to give Co-op students increasingly more responsibility with each work term.
  • An Internship is usually a one-time work assignment, often in the summer, but could also be considered a part-time format during the academic semester. Internships can be full- or part-time, paid or unpaid, depending on the employer and the career field. To discuss internship opportunities at UK, please contact Zachary Fuqua at 859-257-9145.
  • Please note that not all employers use these terms consistently or with consistent meanings, and some use the term co-op interchangeably with internships.
  • When you talk to an employer, especially at the career fair, be clear on what format, alternating semester co-op, or one time internships you are referring to in order to avoid confusion.

The first step is to understand the term “Engineering Co-op.” For UK Engineering:

  • “Co-op” is a formal, alternating semester program, requiring special co-op registration procedures for student participants.This is the traditional, academic co-op model in which students work for a total of three, full-time semesters (about four months each) alternated with semesters of study on campus. Many employers hire a pair of students who alternate with one another and are able to cover a full-time position over a period of two years.
  • Summer jobs require no formal working agreement with UK. We and the career center engineering liaison post job information to all students via our “job seeker” email lists for each engineering major
  • Part-time positions require no formal agreement with UK. We post job information to all students via our “job seekerr” email list for each engineering major.

To join our engineering job seeker mailing list job announcements, please follow these steps:

  1. Go to http://lists.engr.uky.edu
  2. Pick the major lists you want to be on (bae-jobs, ce-jobs, cs-jobs, ee-Jobs, compe-Jobs, chem-jobs, mse-jobs, me-jobs, mng-jobs, coe-jobs – the latter is all College of Engineering jobs)
  3. Enter your name and e-mail address on the subscription form

For the Computer Science jobs mailing list, please contact Paul Linton, postman@cs.uky.edu, and request to be added.

These lists are monitored and require administrator approval to ensure that only UK students and alumni are receiving these announcements.

If students wish to seek pass/fail academic credit for summer or part-time work, they may request paperwork from the internship program provided by the Stuckert Career Center by meeting with the experiential education advisor in the James W. Stuckert Career Center at 408 Rose Street. This credit may not take the place of required courses; it is additive credit only.

If you are interested to hear more about Co-op, the next step is to contact the Co-op staff in order to discuss your particular needs: Zachary Fuqua, 355E F. Paul Anderson Bldg., (859) 257-9145

Our program is set up to “fit” the desired format of many corporations in Kentucky and across the country that use Co-op as a major recruiting tool. Twenty-three percent of UK’s  engineering and computer science graduates have participated in Co-op. The company size is not important; the work assignments must, however, complement academic programs and must increase in challenge and responsibility as students progress through work semesters.

Start by visiting Zachary Fuqua in FPAT 355E in order to sign a co-op interest sheet and share your preferences with us.  Zach will also ask you to create a profile on Handshake, where some, but not all, co-op positions are available for you to apply to. In addition, Zach will refer your co-op resume to employers directly throughout the semester and until you find the co-op that suits you.

Employers will select the students from the online and e-mail referrals whom they want to interview; interviews may be conducted via a telephone call, skype, on campus or at the company site. We offer interview preparation help, as well as co-op reporrs for your review from previous co-ops to help you prepare for interview questions.

We will need your resume and rotation plan (to show which courses you plan to complete between co-op work terms) completed in the first half of the semester before your desired work term. Each semester, we conduct an Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair as well as a Co-op and Internship Fair. We would like to have had a chance to assist you with your resume and interviewing skills before these fairs.

To obtain help with your resume, please contact John Beck to perfect your resume, interview skills and your application materials.

Full-time, continuing student status is retained during work semesters through registration in the co-op course, EGR 399.

Tuition (for EGR 399 – 1 credit hour) + Student Acitivity Fee for the 2018-19 Academic Year:

RESIDENT    $503.00 + $42.50
NON-RESIDENT    $1206.00 + $42.50

The EGR 399 credit hour charge does not include eligibility to utilize student health services, but does provide you with FULL-TIME STATUS. A mandatory student activities fee, assessed by the university and included in the above total, will allow you to use the Johnson Rec Center.

If you plan to use the student health services (which is not health insurance!), you may elect to pay to pay one hour tuition plusthe student health services only ($160.00/semester as of Fall 2018).

A co-op staff person must be notified in writing to assess your account should you opt for this.

Full-time status through EGR 399 assures:

  • continued insurance coverage by parents (if applicable)
  • retention of scholarships and financial aid
  • retention of financial aid and exemption of student loan pay-back status

Three semesters of co-op assignments will earn 3 hours of EGR 399, may be used as an upper division elective in Computer Science, but you should always check with your academic advisor to make sure. If you plan to take the Professional Engineering (PE) Licensure exam, the three tours may count towards practical experience required before taking the exam. The State of Kentucky, however, no longer counts worktime before graduation towards practical experience required to take the PE.

Geographical Distribution of Co-ops: About 70 percent of our alternating co-op students worked in Kentucky.

For co-op salaries, please check out http://www.engr.uky.edu/students/student-success/career-development/co-op-students/average-co-op-salaries

  • Oddly enough, both alternating co-ops and students who choose not to co-op average five years to graduate. In looking through records from engineering graduation classes for the past five years, we also see a general tendency for GPA’s of co-ops to rise. Those who work part time jeopardize the GPA and take fewer classes per semester. We also discovered that the only students who matriculate the engineering program in four years are those who come in with lots of AP credit – at least 12 to 18 hours. Are employers impressed that a graduate finished in four years? Not if it means they have no work experience.
  • All employers look for related work experience. Many use the alternating program as a major recruiting tool. Thus, you will seldom see employers such as Toyota, Honda, GE, NASA, Marathon Petroleum, Messer Construction and others at a UK career fair interviewing new grads. Instead, they will be replenishing their co-op pipeline from which new hires are selected. Does this mean you are entirely shut out from these employers if you have not co-oped with them? Not necessarily. Co-op experience with one company is always valued by other companies. However, your chances are greatly diminished if you have not co-oped at all. Even companies who do not have a co-op program or only have a small co-op program, often hire co-ops who worked at other firms for full-time employment after graduation.
  • Summer jobs are great – if you can find them. From the employer’s perspective, creating meaningful assignments for an extra person in the summer can be quite a challenge, and summers are often when team members take vacation time, so mentorship and work assignments might be less consistent. On the other hand, the more committed co-op program provides them a year-round employee who can assume more responsibility, self direction and real engineering projects. Obtaining a summer job before graduation can be a gamble. Co-op positions remain more consistent and predictable.
  • Employers, not primarily UK Engineering, are the ones who request three rotations. Working three rotations for the same employer allows students to progress to more responsibility and ownership of projects during later work sessions. The first rotation is an introduction to the company and an “assessment” where the employer evaluates the student’s abilities and work ethic in order to match him or her with the right projects. During the second and third rotations, students are in charge of their own projects and even manage other workers. Sometimes, they present their work to company executives, or the project outcome changes the way a company operates, thus having a lasting impact on the company’s successes.