Co-op at UC

The Global Birthplace of

At the University of Cincinnati, we believe that learning is doing and doing is learning. It’s part of our DNA. Which only makes sense, since we invented cooperative education more than 100 years ago. So it only makes sense that we continue to innovate all aspects of experience-based learning—from internships and service spring breaks, to virtual co-ops and capstone projects.  

Our co-op students earn a collective $75M per year, working in 22 countries and 44 states for more than 1,300 employers.

With a college co-op, you can jumpstart your career, help fund your degree and graduate with a degree and a resumé, ready to make an impact on day one.


What is co-op?

Video link:

Cooperative education is an educational model in which students alternate traditional academic semesters with semesters spent working full-time in their chosen field.

By merging academic curriculum with paid, on-the-job experiences, students in programs in DAAP, Engineering, IT, and Business at the University of Cincinnati get a comprehensive education based on real-world application.

UC’s co-op program helps you build your resume while earning your degree and prepares you for a smoother transition to a career after college.

In these uncertain times, it can be challenging to think about the future. At UC, virtual and remote options for experience-based learning exist to make sure your career goals post-college are still being met.

Why Co-op?

  • The University of Cincinnati is ranked in the Top 5 nationally among public universities
  • UC students make $75 Million per year in collective co-op earnings annually
  • Get the opportunity to co-op in 22 different countries and 44 states for over 1,300 employer

$75 million

collectively earned by UC co-op students

Co-op FAQ

How do I find a co-op?

To find a co-op fit for you, consult with a co-op adviser from the Department of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education. Visit on-campus career fairs. You can also do research to find your own approved co-op experience. Or, the University database can match you with potential co-op employers.

Does co-op exist for every major?

Current co-op programs exist in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, Lindner College of Business, Information Technology and the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. But don’t be discouraged if you aren’t a student in one of those colleges! Almost every college at UC has some form of experience-based learning including 

  • Academic Internship
  • Service Learning & Civic Engagement
  • UC Forward (Transdisciplinary Collaborations)
  • Pre-Health Internships
  • International Experiential Learning
  • Undergraduate Research

Is co-op the same as work-study or an internship?

A co-op is a fixed-length, employment experience with a company in the professional field; otherwise known as experiential learning. Co-op’s are full time and paid with more opportunity to apply directly what has been taught in the classroom to contribute to the company you are working for. Co-op’s are a commitment in place of in-classroom learning and tend to be more rigorous than an internship or work-study job.

Does income from co-op impact financial aid?

Co-op wages don’t count toward your Expected Family Contribution, which means that you won’t have to worry about paying more in tuition because you’re working. During your co-op, there is a small fee to remain a full-time student but typically, students do not take classes during their co-op semesters.

Hiring a UC co-op student?

Video link:

Did you know that the University of Cincinnati invented cooperative education in 1906? Today, we’re re-envisioning college co-op and career preparation, responding to the needs of an increasingly global economy that demands solutions at an ever-accelerating pace.

With co-op, employers can test drive talent from a diverse—and affordable—pool of prospects. Cooperative education integrates campus life with the business and civic community.


UC Co-op meets your hiring needs

Co-op is a win-win for both students AND employers. Here are some examples of what you, the employer, will gain by hiring a UC Co-op student:

  • Increased Cost-Effectiveness
    According to a survey of 250 companies by the University of Cincinnati and the Mead Corporation, co-ops prove to be 73 percent more cost-effective over the first 21 months of full-time employment, saving more than $24,000 per co-op hired.
  • Continuous Feedback + Recruitment
    UC’s co-op programs rely on feedback from employers and students to keep up with technological skills needed in the workplace and to assess a student's capabilities. Co-op education is a fundamental part of the HR pipeline as it could lead to employment.
  • Innovation + High Quality Work
    Co-op students are highly motivated who come from a variety of disciplines to perform specific projects or tasks. Co-op students bring enthusiasm, new ideas, and approaches which can have positive effects on your workplace.