Co-op (Cooperative Education) is an integral part of our program. Professional preparation includes work in a variety of organizations, where you can both apply skills learned in the classroom and acquire new skills from real-world projects. Through co-op you can enhance your technical, communication, interpersonal, and networking skills.
Co-op Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a co-op?
Definition from the Office of Co-op and Career Services:
Cooperative education at RIT is full-time, paid employment directly related to a student's field of study, for a minimum period of 10 weeks (a single quarter). Co-op begins after students have completed the first two years of coursework in their academic program. Students alternate quarters of coursework with quarters of co-op during the last three years of study.
Cooperative education is a unique kind of education. It is different from summer employment, and different from an internship. Here's why:
- Co-op employment is related to a student's field of study
- Co-op employment is full-time, productive work
- Co-op employment is paid
- Co-op employment increases in complexity and challenge according to academic level
- Co-op employment includes formal evaluation and documentation of performance
- How many quarters do I have to co-op?
Undergraduate students need four co-op blocks (four quarters) to graduate. Co-op is optional for graduate students.
- What is the length of a co-op?
A co-op block is ten weeks of full-time employment (35-40 hours per week) You may, in fact, work longer - as long as thirteen weeks- depending on your exam schedule the preceding quarter and on your employer's needs.
- Does the co-op have to be paid?
Yes. RIT defines co-op as paid work.
- How do I register for co-op?
- Who evaluates my co-op?
You and your employer must both complete online evaluation forms for each quarter you work. The Co-Op Office will email links to form toward the end of the quarter.
- How is a grade assigned for Co-op?
After you and your employer submit online evaluations, you should arrange a meeting with your faculty co-op coach. Your coach will review the evaluations, and assign a pass/fail grade after meeting with you.
For more information, please refer to Co-op Grading.
- Do I pay tuition for co-op?
You do not pay tuition or any institute fees while on co-op. But you remain eligible to utilize all the facilities and services of the Institute.
- How much do I get paid?
There is no set rate of pay - compensation is decided by the organization that hires you. Currently the average wage for an SE co-op is $18.15 per hour.
Check the Co-op website for the latest co-op salary data.
- What type of work qualifies for co-op?
Your co-op should give you hands-on experience that relates to the Software Engineering skills you acquired in your courses. Job opportunities listed by the Office of Co-op and Career Services are "approved" co-op positions. If you obtain a co-op position through another source, and are not sure if it is acceptable, see your academic advisor before accepting the job.
- Am I guaranteed a co-op job?
The Office of Co-Op and Career Services will help you find job opportunities, but seizing the opportunities and interviewing for them is your responsibility. Expect to go through the same hiring and interview process for a co-op as you would for any full-time position.