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CONTACT US

Office of Cooperative Education
209.946.7499
Chambers Technology Center 105
Jennifer Smith
Cooperative Education Coordinator
School of Engineering & Computer Science
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211
jsmith7@pacific.edu

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Question Guide:
Why CO-OP?
 
Who must take a CO-OP?
How to prepare for CO-OP? 
How long is a CO-OP? 
How many credits do I get for a CO-OP?  
When should I take my CO-OP? 
Are there pre-requisites for a CO-OP? 
I worked for an engineering firm before I enrolled at Pacific can that count as CO-OP? 
Will I be paid during my CO-OP?  
I am an international student.  Can I do a CO-OP? 
I am a Computer Science major.  Should I do a CO-OP? 
May I take classes while I am on CO-OP?  
How do I find a CO-OP? 
Are there international CO-OPs? 
May I take CO-OP at the end of my academic career? 
What should I do if I am unable to secure a CO-OP? 
I am a transfer student.  How do I fit a CO-OP into my experience? 
What is 181-182 Professional Practice?

Why CO-OP? 
You will strengthen and reinforce your academic engineering knowledge and skills, acquire hands-on industry experiences and programming skills, learn how to navigate in a corporate environment and build confidence.  It will reinforce classroom experience by relating theory to practice.  

  • Co-op will make you more employable.  Employers tell us that they prefer to hire graduates with the real-world experience that a co-op provides. Many SOECS co-op students are offered jobs with their co-op employer after they graduate because employers say that this is their opportunity to observe future full-time employees without full-time commitments
  • A co-op will allow you to connect classroom knowledge to industry practice
  • You will learn and practice the professional skills of successfully working in a team at a for-profit company
  • You will learn job hunting and interviewing skills in preparation leading to your co-op and post-graduate employment
  • You will build a network of professionals who are interested in seeing you succeed and can work with you once you graduate 
  • You will receive pay for your co-op that can help defer educational expenses and additional compensation for housing and relocation may be provided by your employer
  • Tuition for CO-OP during a spring or fall semester is discounted 75%. Tuition for a summer CO-OP term is discounted 56%.

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Who must take a CO-OP? 
Co-op is a requirement of graduation for students majoring in Bioengineering, Civil EngineeringEngineering Management, Mechanical Engineering and the degree programs within Electrical Engineering, Engineering Physics and Computer Engineering Co-op is an integral part of the curriculum plans for these majors.  The exceptions are Computer Science and the Biomedical career path in Bioengineering. Co-op is optional for these majors and for non-U.S. citizens.

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How to prepare for CO-OP?
At the start of your first year at Pacific, you will meet with your faculty advisor to create your Academic Plan.  Depending on your major your faculty advisor can tell you what you will need to accomplish and when you can expect to graduate. This determines where your co-op fits in your academic career.  You will submit this Academic Plan along with the Tuition Waiver Request Form to the Co-op Office [hyper link to Tuition Waiver request form]. It is never too early to start looking for a co-op.

  • Keep your resume and portfolio updated
  • Set up an account on Tiger Jobs at the Career Resource Center
  • Consider a summer internship early in your academic career
  • Work your networks of family and friends for leads to a co-op

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How long is a CO-OP? 
A co-op is seven (7) months long as defined in the catalog. Since you will receive academic credit for your co-op, the Director of Cooperative Education must ascertain and approve the quality and length of your experience. Generally a co-op extends over a semester and a summer. This implies that the beginning date of your co-op is shortly after the last day of classes and your end date is shortly before the beginning of classes.

Co-op is a full-time employment with an engineering or computer science-related firm for a specified period of time.  The agreement you make with your co-op employer spells out the beginning and end date for your employment.  

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How many credits do I get for a CO-OP? 
You will receive a total of 32 units or 16 per semester.  Co-op is a regular class, ENGR 181 and ENGR 182, with a syllabus, graded assignments, and final report. You will receive a pass/no credit grade for the class.  If in the determination of the Director of Cooperative Education your co-op is not sufficiently long or of sufficient quality your co-op units may be less than 32 units.  

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When should I take my CO-OP?
Your co-op will generally take place in your junior or senior years. You will work closely with your faculty advisor to develop a curriculum so you can keep track of courses and plan your co-op. Typically your co-op would begin either in the spring semester of your junior year or in the summer before your senior year. Exceptions to this pattern are possible depending on the academic plan that you work out with your faculty advisor.
Note to advisors: In some cases a summer/summer co-op is an option for a student.  However tuition will have to be paid in full for both summers.  

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Are there pre-requisites for a CO-OP?
You should take ENGR 25 Professional Practice Seminar in the semester before your co-op.  This class helps you prepare your resume and portfolio, hone your interviewing skills and give you ways to search for and apply for co-op positions. You must also have completed your Fundamental Skills as defined in the catalog.

You must have a minimum GPA of 2.0.  Some co-op employers require you to have a higher GPA and may also require a background check and a drug test.  

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I worked for an engineering firm before I enrolled at Pacific can that count as CO-OP?
Yes. You may petition to have work experience credited toward your co-op. It must have been with an engineering, computer science or other firm related to your major.  The experience must have taken place before you were an enrolled as a Pacific student. In the petition, you must describe and document in detail your work experience and account for the number of hours that you worked at this job. [hyper link to petition instructions and form]  

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Will I be paid during my CO-OP? 
Yes.  You will be paid.  Pay rates vary greatly from industry to industry and region to region.  We see co-op salaries in the range of $13.00 to $32.00 per hour.   
Note to advisors: students may petition to the Director of the Cooperative Education to take an unpaid position to satisfy the co-op requirement.  The volunteer experience must meet all requirements for a co-op.

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I am an international student.  Can I do a CO-OP?
Yes.  A co-op is an option for you.  It is strongly suggested you make this intention known to your academic advisor and the Director of Cooperative Education early in your academic career. There are special requirements related to your visa.  An F1 visa with OPT (Optional Practical Training) or CPT (Curricular Practical Training) approval is required. You should consult International Programs and Services for more information.

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I am a Computer Science major.  Should I do a CO-OP?
You should strongly consider doing a co-op. The growth, experience, and the benefits you will receive during a co-op are no different than an engineering student.  

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May I take classes while I am on CO-OP? 
You may not take a class while on co-op.  Your employer has an expectation that you will be dedicated full-time to your employment with them.  
"While on their co-op, students do not take academic courses, whether at Pacific or at another institution, or whether in a traditional classroom setting or online."  (2015-2016 general catalog)  

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How do I find a CO-OP?
Finding a co-op is a 'cooperative' process. Your active and early participation in the job search is essential for success. The co-op office will bring co-op employers to campus for interviews and arrange for off-campus interviews. You are expected to also search for your own co-op.  In the class ENGR 25, and in conjunction with the Career Resource Center, we will give you the techniques to successfully find a co-op.  

Sometimes the best way to find a co-op is to work in parallel with all available resources and through your own network of family, friends, faculty and employers.  The keyword is being flexible and open to getting a good experience.

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Are there international CO-OPs? 
You may do an international co-op. INTL 151 course: Cross Cultural Training is recommended to be completed prior to working overseas. You may also need to take appropriate language courses. You should consult International Programs and Services for additional requirements and information. An international co-op requires a lot of lead time to negotiate other country's requirements so you should plan accordingly.

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May I take CO-OP at the end of my academic career? 
No. A terminal co-op would be one that was taken after the completion of all required coursework. You must return to the School for at least seven units of credit following your co-op.   

"A minimum of seven units (undergraduate or graduate) must be completed after the final co-op experience. At least three of these seven units must be from their major area." (2015-2016 general catalog)

What should I do if I am unable to secure a CO-OP? 
Thirty-two units of co-op are required for you to graduate.  The search for a co-op is a cooperative effort between you and the co-op office.  The co-op office will work diligently to find co-op opportunities for you but you must do your part by preparing your resume and portfolio, interviewing, researching the firms that the office brings to the table and aggressively pursuing all opportunities.  It is an expectation that you will also search for co-op opportunities on your own initiative.  

If you are unable to secure a co-op for the designated period in your academic plan you will have to revise your academic plan in coordination with your faculty advisor. The goal will be to fit the co-op into a revised plan and to apply lessons learned in the first attempt.  

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I am a transfer student.  How do I fit a CO-OP into my experience? 
At the start of your first year at Pacific, you will meet with your faculty advisor to create your Academic Plan.  Depending on your major your faculty advisor can tell you what you will need to accomplish and when you can expect to graduate.

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What is ENGR 181-182 Professional Practice?
"This course offers cooperative employment in a professional engineering environment.  Students register for a variable number of credits that depend upon the length of the work period [typically 16 units].  The course requires a satisfactory completion of the work assignment and a written report.  Grading is on a Pass/Fail basis.  Prerequisites: Completion of all Fundamental Skills." (2015-16 general catalog)

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