What is Co-op Education?

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 of Alabama offers qualified students and approved employers opportunities to participate in the Cooperative Education Program (or co-op). Students alternate periods of full-time study with periods of full-time employment providing the employer with year round job coverage, see Program Alternation Schedule. Co-op employers with quality programs benefit in the following ways:


    • Improved recruiting posture and overall presence on campus.
    • Co-op students accomplish valuable and necessary work freeing up full-time professional employees.
    • Compete for top quality college graduates by early identification, evaluation and development.
    • Co-op graduates are immediately productive at graduation reducing training costs and orientation.


Co-op students are currently working with a diverse group of employers at sites across the United States. Applicants are often matched with their co-op employers during Interview Days, held each October and February.

What we will expect from you:

  • Provide work experiences directly related to the student’s academic program and or career aspirations.
  • Provide appropriate supervision and timely evaluations.
  • Pay a wage which is commensurate with the skill level of the position.
  • Commit to considering students on an equal opportunity basis.
  • Make a good faith effort to continue a student’s employment through completion of the Co-op Program.
  • Ensure the student during work terms will be considered an employee and subject to the policies and laws that relate to other employees of your company.
  • Support University of Alabama Co-op Program requirements.
  • New co-op employers must submit an overview of their co-op program operations or co-op student job description. Students will not be recommended or available for interviews until this information is received and approved by the UA Coop Office.
  • Contract employers seeking UA Coop students must provide the minimum three alternating required work terms, have compatible program operations with the UA Coop Program and provide a listing of employers and locations. In addition, a statement of support from those work sites will certainly assist you with attracting students.
  • Third party recruiting only is prohibited.

Getting Started


An employer must first notify the Cooperative Education Program by calling the co-op office at (205) 348-6422. Once approved, the employer may post co-op positions with the co-op office. When the University is aware of such an opening, school coordinators will begin the process of referring student candidates. Employers may make selections by interviewing on campus or through the telephone, or by selecting a student based solely upon the school coordinator’s recommendations.

During the referral and interviewing process, the UA Co-op office will provide a nomination packet on each qualified student applicant. Co-op employers realize there is a developmental partnership between the University of Alabama, the employer, and the student. Therefore applicants will need to furnish additional information besides the traditional one page resume.

When a student is placed with an employer he or she is expected to complete the number of work periods designated on the “Student Alternation Schedule.” While at work, he is registered as a full-time student and, (although not earning academic credit), may be entitled to all other student privileges (including recreations and sport activities and health benefits).

At the completion of each work period, the student is expected to participate in an exit interview with the employer during which an evaluation of the student’s work is discussed. The school coordinator will then have a post-work interview with each student upon his return to campus. This session allows the student to evaluate the work experience with the school coordinator and gives the coordinator an opportunity to get a sense of the student’s experience.

Employers receive regular correspondence from The University of Alabama Cooperative Education Program. This correspondence allows the co-op staff to stay in touch with the needs of employers as well as allowing the employers to monitor the progress of their employee.

For more detailed program information, please refer to current employer section.

To initiate a co-op program relationship, please call 205-348-6422 now.