Options within Co-op

As a student in a mandatory co-op program, you have options that expand the range of what you can do during a co-op semester to make your educational experience suit your needs or academic interests more closely.

Alternatives include:

  • upskilling
  • project work
  • study abroad (subject to coronavirus-related travel guidelines)
  • service learning
  • research or creative practice
  • career-related travel (subject to coronavirus-related travel guidelines)
  • international experience (subject to coronavirus-related travel guidelines)
  • entrepreneurship
  • leadership
  • open source software or web application development

For definitions and details, consult the Cooperative Education Student Handbook or your faculty co-op adviser. In the handbook, look for a section titled "Experiential Explorations Program (EEP)."

As of July 2022, the IT co-op student handbook has not yet been updated to reflect the additional Experiential Explorations options in Upskilling and Project Work. For more on those, visit the  Experiential Explorations Program site (UC credentials required).


The COVID-19 Experiential Explorations Program (EEP) was designed with students at the forefront to ensure meaningful, transcribed experiences that align with professional pursuits. The COVID-19 Experiential Explorations Program (EEP) opportunities were developed as an emergency measure to combat the co-op vacancies which erupted from the COVID-19 pandemic. They represent a suite of unique work-integrated learning and professional development activities that embrace flexibility, diversity and creativity.

All co-op students are permitted to engage in an EEP throughout the course of an academic term. The EEP must provide students with the opportunity to grow professionally through a variety of experiential learning options. Experiences should enhance student knowledge of their chosen field and/or provide an opportunity to expand their knowledge with skills that contribute to professional marketability upon graduation. Funding for credentialing and training may be available.


  • The EEP must consists of at least 250 hours of experiential learning.
  • Experience may be paid or unpaid.
  • Examples of acceptable EEPs are trainings, projects, student competitions, credentialing (which may be classroom-structured or virtual/online), leadership development experiences, upskilling, project-based opportunities, undergraduate research projects which align with colleges’ strategies and priorities, entrepreneurship projects, part-time employment, creative competitions and service learning. Other opportunities which faculty co-op advisors deem acceptable are also permitted.
  • Multiple experiences can be joined together to fulfill requirements.
  • Academic courses are not acceptable as EEP experiences.
  • Should a student choose to pursue an apprenticeship program, the apprenticeship program must have a RAP or IRAP designation.
  • Students should have a mentor/supervisor with discipline-specific knowledge who can provide feedback on their experience(s).
  • Reflection is a required critical component which must be utilized in the learning experience.
  • The experience should be initiated by the student and must be approved by the appropriate faculty co-op advisor in the Division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education.
  • EEPs will serve as a substitution for cooperative education as needed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Students must identify and propose a final deliverable that adequately demonstrates their increased proficiency and learning which maps to their long-term career plan.
Updated July 17, 2020, and current as of May 10, 2021



  • Notifies co-op faculty advisor of their planned experience
  • Records EEP in PAL database
  • Confirms EEP is registered on Catalyst
  • Completes the EEP experience
  • Completes the required student report
  • Meets (virtually or face to face) with faculty co-op advisor in the returning semester for reflection and assessment
  • Discusses job change/return confirmation with faculty


  • Approves the student’s request to complete EEP experience as substitute for co-op
  • Establishes student’s unique individual requirements and processes
  • Confirms student is placed in EEP position in PAL
  • Solicits employer/mentor feedback via PAL where appropriate
  • Communicates with student upon return for reflection and assessment
  • Advises student regarding reassignment to co-op position or discusses steps to plan for next work experience
  • Awards grade for EEP experience
  • Note: EEPs are repeatable through 21SS

How to Place Yourself in an EEP in PAL

Students are now able to place themselves in the Upskilling and Project-based Work EEP.

Students can find the job in PAL by searching for the term “Upskilling” or the job ID #JCC9EA66C.

Please consider this EEP as a job opportunity. You can select this EEP now, and if you later get a full-time co-op job, your co-op advisor can easily unplace you in PAL and have you placed in the co-op instead.

Steps for students to place themselves

  1. Log into PAL
  2. Click on the link, “I’ve Accepted a Position”
  3. Select appropriate term (Fall 2020)
  4. In the search box, type “Upskilling” or use the Job ID # JCC9EA66C
  5. Under the Supervisor dropdown, select the appropriate EEP supervisor:
    1. All DAAP majors: Hilary Lewallen
    2. All CEAS and IT majors: Brittany Arthur
  6. In Position Information, use the following options:
    1. Check the box, “Unpaid experience such as…”
    2. Do not alter the start and end dates
  7. Select Position location for only the “University of Cincinnati Cincinnati Ohio 45221”
  8. Answer the final Co-op Additional Information questions
  9. Click on the Submit Button