17 June 2021

Great Co-Op Programs for Undergraduates

Posted in Your College List

Great Co-Op Programs for UndergraduatesWant to gain valuable career skills and work experience during college? If so, you may want to consider a cooperative education program, or co-op.

Co-ops are fantastic opportunities for students to apply their classroom knowledge to hands-on job experiences. Through co-ops, students balance classroom learning with practical work experience related to careers of their interest. Co-ops allow students to earn money, build their resume, learn useful skills, and boost their employability.

To help you explore your options, we have curated a list of strong co-op programs at schools across the nation. Covering a wide variety of institutions, the following list features the admission profiles, program types, academic areas, and more related to these schools' co-op programs.

Click on Continue Reading to see our list of great undergraduate co-op programs nationwide.


Great Undergraduate Co-op Programs

Various institutions across the United States offer opportunities for students to participate in co-op programs. Using information compiled from U.S. News, Business Insider, World Association for Cooperative Education, Cooperative & Experiential Education Division, and National Society for Experiential Education, we have created the following list of institutions with great co-op programs for undergraduates.

For each institution's co-op program, we detail a breakdown of profiles, types, and offerings:

  • Academic Profile. To help you assess academic fit, we have included each institution's overall admission rate and mid-50th percentile test score breakdowns.
  • Academic Area. We have noted if some institutions offer co-ops only to specific academic areas or are open to any student.
  • Program Type. Co-op programs typically come in three types: full-time alternating, part-time parallel, and full-time one-time. We have included descriptions of each institution's co-op program type.
    • Full-time alternating. Students alternate one semester or quarter of academic coursework with one semester or quarter of full-time work.
    • Part-time parallel. Students work a part-time job while taking classes.
    • Full-time one-time. Students complete one full semester or quarter of work.
  • Integral. For certain institutions, co-ops are integral to their educational model, and most or all of their students participate. Thus, we have marked the co-op programs that are integral and receive a lot of emphasis from their institutions.
  • Academic Credit. Some institutions offer academic credit to students for completing co-ops, which we have noted.
  • Notes. We have included some highlights specific to each institution's co-op program.



Helen Li Claire Luo is a graduate from The Harker School’s Class of 2021 who will be attending Stanford University in the Fall.


Great Undergraduate Co-op Programs

College Kickstart LLC

InstitutionStateAdmit Rate (%)Mid 50 SAT/ACTProgram TypeIntegralAcademic CreditNotes
Bradley University
IL 73 1090-1270
Part-time, full-time, or full-time alternating  
  • Credit possible for all colleges except for engineering and technology
Carnegie Mellon University
PA 17 1460-1560
  • Obtaining a cooperative education assignment is competitive
  • Not available for international students
Case Western Reserve University
OH 30 1350-1490
Full-time, 2 semester    
  • Voluntary program that provides students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on, paid experience relevant to their course of study
Clarkson University
NY 75 1180-1350
Full-time, semester    
  • Career Center ranked among the Top 20 Career Services in the country by the Princeton Review
  • Strong industry connections to find co-op placements
Clemson University
SC 62 1230-1380
Full-time alternating or back-to-back    
  • 1000+ students participate
  • 94% student satisfaction with co-op assignments
Cornell University
NY 9 1410-1530
Full-time, semester    
  • Students can find engineering-related work that is verified with the employer and Cornell co-op program
Drexel University
PA 77 1190-1370
Alternating (3 or 1 co-op cycles)
  • One of the first co-op programs and nationally-renowned
  • Choose from more than 1,500 employers in 22 states (plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico) and 45 countries, or conduct an independent search for an employer
Elon University
NC 78 1160-1310
Academic program  
  • Academic assignments that help students deepen the learning at the work site
Georgia Institute of Technology
GA 18 1380-1520
Alternating semesters    
  • Optional, five-years long
  • 3,000 students in the program
MA 4 1520-1580
Full-time, six-month cycles    
  • Co-ops through the Lincoln Laboratory throughout the year
  • Introduce students to careers in research and development
Michigan State University
MI 76 1110-1280
  • Experiential education courses for credit
Northeastern University
MA 20 1430-1540
Alternating semesters
  • Required cornerstone of Northeastern's education
  • Vast network across 7 continents yields global cooperative education opportunities across all industries and sectors
Purdue University
IN 67 1210-1420
3-5 work sessions  
  • 12-22 months of practical experience prior to graduation
  • Typically sessions with the same employer for a long relationship
  • Students awarded co-op certificates
Rochester Institute of Technology
NY 71 1220-1410
Alternating semesters  
  • Offers industry, on-campus, and entrepreneurial co-op opportunities
  • Partnerships with 3400+ hiring organizations
  • Required for most undergraduate programs
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
IN 77 1270-1440
  • Recruiters include Microsoft, Google, General Electric, Rockwell Collins, Rolls-Royce, Interactive Intelligence, Roche Diagnostics, and Texas Instruments
Stevens Institute of Technology
NJ 40 1340-1500
Alternating semesters  
  • First-year students attend co-op workshops
  • ~30% of undergraduate engineering students participate
State University of New York - Stony Brook
NY 49 1240-1420
Parallel or alternating  
  • Closely integrated with the course curriculum
  • Has faculty oversight with academic credit
University of Toledo
OH     Alternating
  • One of a strongest engineering co-op programs in the nation
  • One of eight universities in the nation with a mandatory co-op program
University of Arkansas
AR 78 1110-1270
Parallel or alternating  
  • Over fifty co-op courses offered in various fields of study
University of Cincinnati
OH 76 1120-1310
Alternating (Full-Time), part-time, or micro
  • First university to use co-op education
  • One of the best co-op programs in the nation with signature programs in DAAP, Engineering, IT, and Business
University of Georgia
GA 39 1220-1390
  • Selection and participation in UGA’s Engineering Co-op Program is considered an honor
  • Variety of past hiring companies
University of Kentucky
KY 96 1070-1310
Alternating semesters  
  • Goal to provide students with at least 12 months of work experience before graduation
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
TN 78 1140-1290
Full-time, alternating for engineering    
  • Over 40% of engineering students participated in the co-op (2016)
  • 490+ employers are registered with the program, with majority in the southeast.
University of Vermont
VT 67 1200-1360
Full-time, 6-9 month long  
  • Students can work with employers in the co-op program or apply to other programs that are not partnered with the co-op program
Villanova University
PA 25 1320-1460
Full-time, 6 month long  
  • Participating students maintain full-time student status and remain on track to graduate in four years by completing coursework before, during, and/or after co-op
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
VA 66 1170-1370
Full-time or part-time    
  • Course assignments to help students gain the most from work experience
Washington University in St. Louis
MO 16 1450-1560
Full-time, 7-8 month long    
  • Over the course of a semester and summer term
  • Paid average $23/hr
Wentworth Institute of Technology
MA 94 1080-1260
Full-time, semesters
  • One of the most comprehensive co-op programs of its kind in the nation
  • Two co-op semesters required
West Virginia University
VA 82 1050-1240
  • Nationally accredited, statewide initiative
  • Almost always paid and for academic credit
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
MA 59 1320-1450
Full-time, 4-8 month long    
  • Highly ranked for co-ops by US News
Cron Job Starts