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Co-operative Education Program

The College of Engineering at RIT is firmly committed to a quality cooperative education program.  The faculty and administration believe wholeheartedly in the value of cooperative work experience as it forms part of the undergraduate education at RIT. Cooperative education [co-op] gives students the opportunity to apply in the workplace what you learn in the classroom, and bring to the classroom what you learn in the workplace.

Students attend classes during the fall and spring semesters of their first and 2nd year. Late in the second year, students will alternate periods of study on campus with periods of co-op employment.  The philosophy of the co-op program is to integrate on-the-job work experience with in-the-classroom academic experience to achieve a more well-rounded education.

Co-op gives you many valuable opportunities. You will be able to undertake various mechanical engineering career options, which will help you make long-term decisions. While taking a break from the classroom, you will be earning a reasonable salary to help pay for your education. Students gain valuable expertise in areas such as oral and written communication, working in a team, and technical skills. Your co-ops will also provide networking opportunities which will give you an advantage when looking for a permanent position after graduation. More than half of our graduates are offered full time employment with one of their former co-op companies. In a recent survey, more than ninety percent of our alumni cited co-op as an excellent aspect of their career development.

Length of Time Required for Co-op in the KGCOE

We in the KGCOE recognize the considerable variability associated with the cooperative education opportunities available for our students, which may include double-blocks and a combination of single and double-blocks. In cases where students complete various combinations of different length blocks, programs should ensure that a minimum of 48 weeks of cooperative education are completed. For dual-degree programs (BS/MS or BS/MEng), students must complete a minimum of 40 weeks of cooperative education, in recognition of the significant experiential education component associated with the thesis or project work required for the Master’s degree.

The Kate Gleason College recognizes the broad array of learning opportunities available to its students, such as study abroad, and the College is committed to providing strong advising to students in order to maximize their ability to take advantage of these special learning opportunities. However, enhancement programs such as study abroad, in which students are engaged in academic, credit-bearing activities in alternate locations, are not a replacement for cooperative education. Therefore, the College expects students who avail themselves of such opportunities to still complete at least 48 weeks of cooperative education (or at least 40 weeks for the dual degree BS/MS and BS/MEng programs).

The curricula for all of the B.S. degree programs in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering are designed to have cooperative education begin after two years of formal study in engineering, and to allow students to complete a minimum of four blocks of cooperative education experience: two semester blocks lasting at least 15 weeks and two summer blocks lasting at least ten weeks, resulting in a potential of 50-60 weeks of experience. There is plenty of time allotted to meet the 48 week requirement, so students need not be concerned if they do not find a co-op job in a particular assigned term, have a late starting date, or an early ending date on a work block.

Semester overview

An example of the co-op block schedule is illustrated in the table below:

 

A Block

 

B Block

 

Fall

Spring

Summer

Fall

Spring

Summer

Year

1

RIT Study

RIT Study

Vacation

RIT Study

RIT Study

Vacation

Year

2

RIT Study

RIT Study

Co-Op

RIT Study

RIT Study

Vacation

Year

3

Co-Op

RIT Study

Co-Op

RIT Study

Co-Op

Co-Op

Year

4

Co-Op

RIT Study

Vacation

RIT Study

Co-Op

Co-Op

Year

5

 

RIT Study

RIT Study

Begin Career

RIT Study

RIT Study

Begin Career

 

Procedural Details About Co-op in the KGCOE

The following sections describe the steps as student should take before, during, and after each co-op work experience.

Before Searching for your First Co-op Job

A co-op coordinator is assigned to assist mechanical engineering students with placement efforts. This process begins with a required orientation session during the second year in which students learn about resume building, contacting employers through the co-op office, and numerous details about scheduling, registration, and reporting. It is through your efforts, in cooperation with the Cooperative Education and Career Services Office, that you will obtain your co-op positions. Although academic credit is not given for cooperative work experience, satisfactory performance during cooperative work periods is considered a requirement for the degree and cooperative work reports are to be submitted to the department. Students should pay careful attention to how their co-op schedule will affect their academic schedule. Faculty advisors can assist students with planning their schedules so that they don’t co-op during a semester that they need to take a specific class or need to be on campus for a sports team, etc. Students should not plan to be off-campus for more than two consecutive semesters, otherwise, they will experience difficulty with course sequencing and scheduling.

  • Register for the Co-op training course (EGEN 99) on SIS before starting your job search. This degree requirement will
    • help you understand how to get a job using RIT resources,
    • develop your resume
    • learn how to participate in an interview
    • be aware of your professional responsibilities while on the job.

Finding a Co-op job

It takes hard work and effort on behalf of the students to locate employers who participate in co-op programs, and meet the student's specific needs in regard to career development and professional objectives. A successful program requires the cooperation of all parties involved.  Students are encouraged to consider co-op placements in a variety of locations and corporate settings, so that they get a range of exposure to professional opportunities.

  • Register for co-op (MECE- 499) on SIS.
  • Register with the Co-op office and input your employment information in the Co-op website.
  • Use Co-op website and other resources to apply for openings, and participate in interviews.
  • Participate in the RIT Career Fair in the Fall and Spring.

During your Co-op Job

  • Attend the new employee orientation provided by your employer, and do your very best to have a positive work and educational experience.
  • Go to work every day, on time, and look for opportunities to provide value to your employer. Do all of your work in timely fashion, and to the best of your ability.
  • If you are on co-op and have forgotten to:
    • Register for co-op: Call the Mechanical Engineering Office at (585) 475-5181.
    • Register on the co-op website and input your co-op information as soon as possible.
  • If you are registered for co-op and have not found a job:
    • Notify the Mechanical Engineering Office the week prior to the start of the semester.
    • Continue your job search through the third week of the semester.

 

Following Completion of your Co-op job

Co-op is graded as Satisfactory, Incomplete, Waived, or Failed.  A satisfactory grade requires completion of the work block, a supportive review by the employer, and a work report by the student, filed upon completion of the co-op block and an approval of the evaluations by your faculty advisor. Waiver is used for those cases when students have professional work experience that has been approved by the department that does not fit the structure of a traditional co-op block.

  • Complete the work report form. You will receive an e-mail while on co-op concerning this form. The form is found at: http://webapps.rit.edu/students. Complete one online work report form for each semester that you were on co-op. Double blocks with the same employer require two work report forms.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to verify that the employer’s evaluation has been returned to RIT. If it has not, the student must contact the employer and remind the employer that the forms need to be sent to complete the grade.
  • Meet with your faculty advisor to discuss your co-op experience, and how that perspective may influence the rest of your academic studies, and your professional plans for your career.
  • An incomplete for a co-op will be awarded if all necessary paperwork is not received by the end of finals week of each semester. An “I” grade will turn into an “F” if the paperwork is not turned in within two semesters.
  • A failing grade is assigned when the work report is not completed within two terms, or when the student does not successfully complete the work block.
  • If you have worked for the semester and registered on SIS for co-op, but when you return to RIT you realize that you forgot to inform the co-op office, please notify the co-op office immediately by logging onto the Job Zone on the co-op website in order for your employer to receive an evaluation form.
  • Upon successful completion of ROTC Field Training after their first year, ROTC students may request to waive one co-op block requirement for their field training experience. 

 

Important Co-op Contacts

If you have questions at any time before, during, or after co-op, you may use these contacts for assistance:

  • Sarah Burke is the Co-op Specialist for all Mechanical Engineering undergraduate students:
  • Main Office at Cooperative Education & Career Services: 
    • Voice: (585) 475-2301
    • Fax: (585) 475-5476
  • Mechanical Engineering Office:
    • Voice: (585) 475-5181
    • Fax: (585) 475-7710
    For more information please visit the co-op website http://www.rit.edu/emcs/oce/

 

 

 

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