Clemson Center for Career and Professional Development

Cooperative Education Program

Frequently Asked Questions by Students

Cooperative Education is an engaged learning program that allows students to learn and work under mentors in their field of study. While working full-time for a company, students are given the opportunity to learn new concepts and to apply theoretical knowledge from the classroom.

It’s a great way to learn and a great way to gain valuable full-time experience in your field of study.

Engineering students will typically earn more than $18 an hour, and many employers offer additional benefits such as paid holidays, leave accrual, housing assistance, etc.

Most students enter the program as sophomores or juniors. All students must have successfully completed all their freshman course requirements and have declared their majors. Students must have a minimum Clemson University GPA of 2.5 and be enrolled in a full time (minimum 12 credit hours) course load. (Mechanical engineering students must successfully complete ME 2010, Statics & Dynamics, before entering. Chemical Engineering students must be in their second semester of their sophomore year or beyond when they enter.)

Multiple rotations on assignment are required to complete the program. Engineering students complete a minimum of three rotations (two 18-week semesters and one 14-week summer session). Non-engineering students complete a minimum of two rotations (one regular semester and one summer session). Engineering students typically alternate semesters on assignment with semesters in classes and non-engineering students typically complete back-to-back rotations such as a Spring-Summer or Summer-Fall.

For majors other than engineering the requirement is two rotations, with at least one of those rotations being a regular semester (fall or spring).

Students make a commitment to complete the program with the same company and typically enjoy increasing levels of challenge and responsibility with each subsequent rotation. Occasionally, students determine that the assignment is not a good fit and may not complete the program with the initial company.

Many engineering students can complete the three required rotations and graduate in four and a half years. Other students may graduate two semesters late. However, keep in mind that students are not delaying their first full year of employment in their field, they are actually beginning it early!

The large majority of assignments are in the Southeast, but there are Clemson co-op students all over the United States and a few in western Europe. About half of the assignments for engineering students are in South Carolina and many of these are within a commutable distance of campus.

Many of our teaching partners provide housing or a housing stipend for students. Companies who don’t provide housing will usually assist students in locating housing.

Yes, as long as the company will agree to the requirements of Clemson’s program. The co-op academic staff will determine if a company meets the requirements.

The Program’s staff meets with students on an individual basis to determine the needs of each student and to explain to each student which assignments might be good matches. Students also receive assistance with their resumes, participate in an interview workshop, receive individualized overviews of the companies and are provided with written reports from students who have completed assignments with the Program’s teaching partners.

Co-op assignments are obtained on a competitive basis through an interview process and, therefore, are dependent on factors such as grades, class status, personal presentation, communication skills and other variables. The large majority of students who elect to participate in the program obtain co-op assignments.

Yes. The Registrar’s Office will gladly send the insurance provider a letter explaining that the student is participating in a recognized academic program sponsored by Clemson University. The letter will state that the University recognizes the co-op student as a full-time continuing student.

Yes. Students may participate in all campus activities, provided the activities do not require students to be in two places at once.

Students in the program who wish to have access to Fike, must go Campus Recreation Customer Service desk and pay the fee. This fee cannot be added to the student bill.

Students in the program can receive football tickets. Once the bills open for the semester, select the optional fee tab within iROAR, and select “Co-Op Activity Fee”.