What is a co-op?
A cooperative education, or co-op, experience provides the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience related to your psychology education before you graduate. Co-ops are meant to give students hands-on experiences in their field of study. The co-op is an opportunity to develop strong career skills and apply the knowledge you are learning in the classroom. An official co-op (PSYC 499) is a non-credit bearing, full-time, paid employment position directly related to psychology. Completion of a co-op (or equivalent) is a requirement of the B.S. in Psychology program at RIT.
What does “or equivalent” mean?
In the Psychology program, students may meet the co-op requirement by completing a co-op (PSYC 499), an internship (PSYC 498) or an undergraduate research experience (PSYC 550). Co-op equivalents differ from co-ops in specified ways, such as being unpaid. Throughout this website, the term ‘co-op’ is used to mean ‘co-op or equivalent’ unless otherwise specified. See the flow chart posted in the Co-ops vs. Equivalents tab to identify the differences between these three options.
How do I find a co-op?
- Meet with your faculty advisor to discuss potential opportunities as early as possible (at least one year prior to the planned co-op). You can also talk to other psychology faculty as well; this is vital if you want to set up an undergraduate research experience.
- Attend the Internship Search Workshop for CLA majors or contact the CLA Career Services Coordinator; both are offered through the Office of Co-Op and Career Services (see the Co-Op Resources tab for contact information)
- Search through Handshake (https://rit.joinhandshake.com) to locate job opportunities posted by the Office of Co-Op and Career Services
- Search regular job sites (i.e., Indeed, Monster, etc.) for jobs that fit the co-op timeframe
- Visit the Psychology Co-op and Career Center (Eastman 2378) to browse lists of prior student co-ops and view current advertisements for co-ops and internships
- Directly connect with individuals at relevant workplaces or organizations in your community to discuss potential co-op opportunities
How do I know if a placement qualifies?
All placements (co-op or equivalent) must be at least 350 hours, require you to do applied work, and be directly related to psychology. You should try to find a position that provides you with hands-on experience in psychology that you have not had before. If your preferred co-op is not obviously and directly relevant to your education in psychology, then you need to clearly demonstrate how your supervisor can teach you the psychological principles of the experience you are obtaining. Final determination is made by the department chair (Dr. Baschnagel). If you are unsure if your placement qualifies for this requirement, e-mail a description to Dr. Comer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she will let you know if it will qualify.