Division of Professional PracticeUniversity of CincinnatiPROPEL

Division of Professional Practice

Common Questions

Where will I work?

We'll make the best match possible between a student's interests, abilities and available jobs. Our students are co-oping with over 1,500 organizations located in over 30 states and almost a dozen foreign countries, winning accolades (and frequently future jobs) from employers everywhere. The heaviest concentration of assignments tends to be in the Midwest. Over 40% of our co-op students work in the greater Cincinnati area, but there are plenty of opportunities to work in other parts of the U.S. and even abroad. We encourage our students to pursue the best learning opportunity regardless of the geographic location. 

What if I have to relocate for my co-op job?

With 60% of opportunities occurring outside of the greater Cincinnati area, students frequently relocate for co-op positions. While the university doesn’t assist in housing or relocation, employers are often able to provide resources and faculty advisers may be able to help students network in the new area.

Do I have to find my own job?

The centralized program at UC allows for a supportive environment in which students work with a Professional Practice faculty adviser. This adviser acts as a liaison between students and employers and maintains a list of potential opportunities.

What if I have a company or position in mind?

Some students wish to leverage their personal networks to secure a co-op position, or pursue an opportunity in their hometown. Prior to initiating a discussion with an employer, students must speak with their faculty adviser. The adviser will work with the student to evaluate the opportunity to ensure its learning value.

What will I do at work?

Co-op is real world work experience in a professional setting. Co-op students perform many of the same tasks as an entry level professional but at the level that is appropriate to their advancement in school. With multiple, progressive work terms, students often have an increased opportunity to contribute to the organization as they progress through the program.

Will I be prepared to co-op?

All students take a semester-long course: Introduction to Cooperative Education. For mandatory programs, this course is taken during the first year. The goals of this course are to help students identify career goals, build a resume, develop interview skills and learn the policies and procedures of the program.

Additionally, future students can prepare for co-op by gaining experience for their resume. Work experience and leadership experience can be gained in a variety of venues and are valued by our employers.

Do I pay full tuition during co-op terms?

While on co-op, students do not pay full tuition, however, they are assessed a co-op fee. This fee is substantially less than the cost of a term of full-time classes. 

Am I a full-time student while I am on co-op?

Yes! Students who register for a co-op term and pay the co-op fee are considered full-time students by the university. This is especially important for retaining health insurance and financial aid.

How much will I be paid?

UC co-op students earned approximately $28 million dollars through their co-op work assignments last year. Ultimately, the co-op employer sets the wage and pays the student, but on average co-op students can earn from $1,700 to $2,500 per month during their co-op assignments. Just as starting salaries vary significantly by discipline, so do co-op earnings.

How long is a co-op term?

The co-op program operates on a calendar very similar to the academic calendar, however to allow employers uninterrupted periods of work, the co-op calendar spans the academic breaks.

Do I get time off?

Co-op is a full-time, year-round academic commitment. Students typically have the summer following the first year of studies off. Once the student begins participation in the co-op program, the rotation of co-op and classes continues throughout the student’s degree program. During academic semesters, students observe the university breaks. During co-op semesters, students observe the breaks or holidays of the employing organization.

Will the company I work for hire me full-time after graduation?

Many of our students are fortunate enough to receive full-time offers from co-op employers. However, this is not a requirement of co-op employers and very much depends on student performance and employer hiring needs.

How do I know who my faculty adviser is?

The Division of Professional Practice is comprised of faculty members who are advisers for students in particular majors. You can view your potential major and locate the faculty member responsible for this major.

Can international students co-op?

Students on resident visa (green card) or F-1 or J-1 visas are eligible to participate in the program. F-1 or J-1 visa holders must complete one full-year of classes in the U.S. before they are eligible for participation in a practice assignment. However, they are eligible to apply to the program of this year of study. It should be noted that in specific disciplines, such as aerospace engineering, co-op opportunities are vastly limited for international students.

Is co-op available at the graduate level?

At this time, graduate co-op is only available in the Master of Architecture and the Master of Design programs.