Cooperative Education at The University of Alabama

Cooperative Education is a special academic program at The University of Alabama. In order to promote, encourage, and improve the education of students and to provide maximum service to industry, business, and government agencies, the University offers qualified students opportunities to participate in the Cooperative Education Program (or co-op). Cooperative education is an academic program in which students alternate periods of full-time study with periods of full-time employment. This program offers work related to the academic major or career interests of each student, greatly enhancing the students’ employment prospects after graduation.

How Co-op Works

By alternating semesters of full-time studies with semesters of full-time work, co-op students acquire important career-related skills and earn money to help finance their educations. These students enhance their positions in the job market and command higher salaries upon graduation.

Co-op at The University of Alabama

While in school, students carry regular course schedules. While on co-op, they work with professionals in their fields who supervise their training and work. At work, co-op students earn competitive salaries and may receive benefit packages in addition to valuable on-the-job experience. Students maintain their full-time student status while at work (scholarships and financial aid are deferred to next academic term) and have priority registration status each semester through graduation.

Co-op Alternating Schedule

Students accepted into the program usually begin their first work period either the summer or fall after completion of their freshman year. Transfer students are eligible to begin work after one semester in residence. Students then alternate semesters of work and school until their senior year. Alternation schedules are arranged by the Co-op staff and the student, and are approved by an academic advisor. Co-op employers require several work semesters prior to graduation and expect year-round job coverage. Therefore, summer-only employment is usually not acceptable.

While in School as a Co-op

Students are required to maintain full-time status during their semesters on-campus while not at work. Full-time requirements are for fall and spring semesters.  Summer semesters do not require full-time status; however, co-op students are required to make some type of academic progress, as discussed and approved by the Co-op Program Office.   Scheduled “in school” semesters are verified to ensure students meet full-time enrollment status at The University of Alabama, as an on-campus student.  Distance Education does not qualify toward full-time enrollment.