Cooperative Education and Internships

Important Co-op Deadlines

  • Spring 2018 Co-op: Friday, January 4, 2018

About Internships and Co-ops

An internship is a work-related learning experience for individuals who wish to develop hands-on work experience in a certain occupational field. Internships are usually temporary job assignments and are categorized by the way they compensate the student. The three most common types of internships are employer-offered internships, cooperative education (Co-op) and volunteer.

  • Employer-offered internships are pre-professional experiences that provide opportunities to gain relevant knowledge and skills prior to starting out in a particular occupation.
    These internships pay the student.
  • Cooperative education (Co-op) provides students with practical experience related to their major that will enhance and complement their classroom learning.
    Co-op students receive academic credit for their work experience.
  • Volunteer experience can be just as helpful in getting a job as paid or for-credit experiences. It provides the opportunity to explore a career, gain practical experience and acquire skills to include on your resume.

Getting Started with Cooperative Education

Step 1. Watch the presentation
Step 2. Complete the required forms/documents
  1. Completed by all Co-op students: Student Developed Job Description Form
  2. Completed by faculty advisor or dept designee: Departmental Approval Form
  3. Completed by Employer (Information Technology and Computer Science students only): Job Description (Required for all Student Development Positions)
    The job description or employer letter of hiring should be submitted on a company letter-head. This document will provide an overview of what tasks and duties the intern will complete. This should include the title of the internship, location, description of the company/organization, job summary, reporting structure (supervisor/s to whom the intern will report), primary job duties, and time commitment for the internship. View sample employer letter.
Step 3. Meet with a CSAM Career Representative
Connect with a CSAM Career Services representative to discuss your Co-op internship intentions further. Please plan to attend the Cooperative Education Information Session.

Questions About Cooperative Education

What is Cooperative Education?
Cooperative Education is a University-wide, credit-bearing, experience-based learning program that provides students with preparation, counseling, academic projects and the opportunity to reflect on what is learned. It’s a great resume builder and a way to test out a career.
How do I qualify for co-op?
Generally, students must have at least a 2.0 GPA and have earned 30 credits. Computer Science and Information Technology require prerequisite courses and major GPA of 2.75 to be eligible.
Students who transfer into Montclair State University with an associate or bachelor's degree, do not have to obtain any course credit at Montclair State University to be eligible for co-op.
Transfer students without a degree must complete at least 9 credits at Montclair State, have at least 30 accumulated credits (including Montclair State and transfer), and have a 2.0 minimum GPA.
Am I guaranteed a co-op?
No, you are not guaranteed a co-op. It is a highly competitive process. You should be actively involved and stay on top of the process. Following-up in a timely and professional manner is essential throughout the job search to ensure your success.
Can I find my own position and use it for co-op?
Yes, this is called a student-developed position. Your position may be approved if the work is related to your major or your career goals and if the work experience provides new learning.
Your CSAM Career Services representative and/or your major department, must approve these positions.
Can I use my current job/employer for co-op?
Yes, if you can demonstrate new learning through a promotion, different position within the company, or evidence of a project or tasks that will compromise at least 50% of the time spent at the work site.
Are there any guidelines for my co-op to ensure I am treated fairly?
Review the United States Department of Labor Internships Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act to help determine whether your unpaid internship meets program guidelines.
How will my co-op experience be scheduled?
Co-op participation is for an entire semester. Typically, a semester is 15 weeks during the fall and spring; co-op is 14 weeks during the summer term. While participation in more than one semester is not required, it is encouraged.
How much credit can I earn for co-op?
A maximum of 16 credits can be earned through co-op.
During one semester, a student has the following options:
  • Part-time: 3-4 credits (Biology and Molecular Biology Majors)
  • Part-time: 3 credits (Information Technology and Computer Science)
How do I earn a grade for my co-op experience?
You earn your grade by fulfilling ALL of these requirements:
  • Successfully completing your co-op position
  • Submitting academic projects that are assigned by your Co-op Faculty Advisor
  • Attending co-op seminars, when required
Is withdrawal from a co-op course possible?
Yes, it is possible but you need to discuss this with the employer, your Co-op Faculty Advisor and your advisor. Guidelines for course withdrawal established by the Registrar must be followed.
Can I choose the Co-op Faculty Advisor?
Faculty adivsing in the co-op program vary by semester/term. While students may specify specific faculty supervisors for the co-op program, this request is honored on a first-come/first-serve basis by submittal date of completed co-op paperwork.
Do I pay for my co-op credits?
Yes, you pay tuition and fees just as you do for any other course.
Are there any additional fees?
Yes, there is a commercial liability insurance fee and a processing fee for each co-op course.
Will I earn enough money to pay my school expenses?
Salaries vary widely depending upon location and nature of the work performed. Some positions are paid, some are unpaid and others provide a stipend.
In any case, you should not count on a co-op position to support all your college expenses. Co-op is designed to emphasize academic and professional experiences rather than to provide financial support.
Am I obligated to work for my co-op employer after graduation?
No, and while many co-ops do lead to a permanent job offer, it is best to do a thorough job hunt that includes many potential employers.
Are there any deadlines for co-op application?
Yes, deadlines vary each semester. Ask about current deadlines when you meet with your advisor.
How many hours are required for cooperative education?
  • Biology and Molecular Biology Majors:
    4 credits (16-20 hours per week) for a total of 240-300 hours.
  • Computer Science and Information Technology Majors (Cooperative education is required for information technology):
    3 credits (20 hours per week) for a total of 300 hours.
  • Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Earth and Environmental Studies Majors:
    3 credits (20 hours per week) for a total of 300 hours.

Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Earth and Environmental Studies majors do not have academic courses within the major curriculum; therefore, students will not receive credit for participation in co-op towards their major. Rather, co-op credit will be applied as free elective credit on the transcript.