Semester ConversionSemester ConversionUniversity of Cincinnati

Semester Conversion

Cooperative Education

UC's first co-op students.

UC's first co-op students in an on-campus photo taken in 1906.

Co-op, which had its world-wide founding at the University of Cincinnati more than 100 years ago, is the practice in which students alternate academic periods with periods of professionally paid work experiences related directly to their majors.

UC’s celebrated cooperative education system is a key element in many programs at the university. As such, UC will maintain this premier program throughout the semester conversion period and beyond.

Co-op during conversion

Student cooperative education work opportunities will continue throughout the conversion period and beyond.

Co-op on the semester calendar

Co-op will basically function much as it does now under a quarter system. Many people don’t know it, but UC’s celebrated co-op system (founded in 1906, the first co-op program in the world) has functioned under a variety of academic/workplace timing cycles in its history.

Under the semester system, students will alternate terms of coursework with terms of career-related experiences between their sophomore through senior years. Under the semester system, students will typically complete five co-op terms prior to graduation. 

 

Information for students in mandatory co-op programs (CEAS, DAAP)

Students in mandatory co-op programs will work with their academic advisors within their home colleges to develop an Individual Advising Plan (IAP). This IAP will include students' co-op work terms that meet program requirements. The manadatory co-op programs have developed transition schedules for each class year in order to ensure proper completion of the co-op program. Once the IAP is developed, each student and his/her co-op faculty advisor will communicate the planned work-and-school sequence to the student's employer.

If a student in a mandatory co-op program is not academically on track per the curriculum in his/her major, needs to make up a co-op term, or has other individual scheduling needs that vary from the normal curricular schedule, the student's co-op and academic advisors will work together to develop the IAP. Again, once the IAP is developed, the student and his/her co-op faculty advisor will communicate the planned work-and-school sequence to the student's employer.

 

Information for students in optional co-op programs (A&S, Business)

Due to the flexibility of scheduling classes and co-op work terms in optional programs, students' Individual Advising Plans (IAPs) will differ greatly from student to student. Students in optional programs will work with their academic advisors in their home colleges to develop IAPs, which will include students' co-op work terms. Once the IAPs are developed, students and their co-op faculty advisors will communicate the planned work-and-school sequences to the students' employers.

 

Employers love semesters

Other co-op institutions function on the semester system, including Northeastern University, the University of Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech University and the University of Tennessee. Some, like Pittsburgh, have always functioned with a semester calendar. Others have converted their academic calendar.

According to the University of Tennessee after its conversion in the 1980s, co-op under the semester system allowed greater return on investment in terms of employer training provided to students. In other words, coop under the semester system permits employers to give students projects of greater longevity – which translates into potential for greater educational value.

A student survey following Northeastern’s conversion to semesters in 2004 found much the same result: Students there were able to make the adjustment to the longer on-the-job learning cycle. At the same time, the former head of Northeastern’s co-op program stated that “employers love it” when they have students for longer periods of time. 

Links for Employers

  • UC's Professional Practice Division has posted information specifically for current co-op employers, including

The co-op schedule during the transition period of spring, summer and fall 2012.

Co-op schedules that will be in place under semesters.

An FAQ specifically for employers.