students in CELS lab

Cooperative Education and Internships

Cooperative Education (co-op) provides practical experience for students that will enhance and complement classroom learning. Through this experience, you can gain skill-building content for your resume, clarify your career intentions, network with professionals in your industry, and more. Students enrolled in a co-op course can also receive academic credit for the co-op experience. To learn more about co-op, please review the information below or connect with us at a CSAM Co-op Information Session.

Co-op Deadlines

Summer 2024
May 3
Fall 2024
August 23

About Co-Ops

How does a co-op differ from an internship?

  • An academic credit-bearing course
  • Will work with a faculty member
    • Receive a letter grade
    • Expected to complete assignments
    • No weekly class meetings
  • Must be parallel to a semester

  • Optional completion for academic credit (e.g., COED401-free elective credit)
  • No deadlines
  • Term of internship usually decided between the employer and student
  • No minimum number of hours per week
Co-Op Hours and Credits
  • Biology and Molecular Biology Majors:
    • 4 credits (15 hours per week) for a total of 225 hours.
    • Academic course designed for co-op: BIOL409
  • Computer Science, Information Technology and Data Science Majors:
    • 3 credits (15 hours per week) for a total of 225 hours.
    • Academic course designed for co-op: CSIT491
    • Information Technology co-op is required; Computer Science co-op is optional; Data Science choose between co-op or research
  • Biochemistry, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Applied Mathematics, and Earth and Environmental Studies Majors:
    • 3 credits (15 hours per week) for a total of 225 hours.
    • The above CSAM 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 (e.g., COED401).
What is Cooperative Education (co-op)?
Co-op provides students with practical experience related to their major that will enhance and complement their classroom learning. Through this experience, you can gain a resume-building opportunity; clarify your career intentions, network with professionals in your industry, and more. Co-op students receive academic credit for their work experience.
When is co-op offered?
Co-op is offered during the fall (15 weeks), spring (15 weeks), and summer semesters (15 weeks); there is no winter co-op session.
Are there any deadlines to apply for co-op?
Yes, there are deadlines to submit your co-op application (see top of page).
How do I qualify for co-op?
Generally, students must have a 2.0 minimum GPA and have earned 30 credits before applying.
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.
Students who transfer into Montclair State University without a degree must complete at least nine credits at Montclair State, have at least 30 accumulated credits (including Montclair State and transfer), and have a 2.0 minimum GPA.
How do I learn more about the co-op process?
Register via Handshake to attend a CSAM Co-op Information Session
How do I apply for co-op?
The Co-op application form is found on Handshake (Click on NEST > Career Services > Handshake > My Account > Co-op & Internships)
My major requires that I complete a departmental approval form, where can I find this form?
The Departmental Approval form is also found on Handshake (Resources > Biology/Molecular Biology Approval Form, Information Technology Approval Form, Computer Science Approval Form and CSAM General Majors Approval Form)
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. Follow-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 must approve these positions through Handshake.
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.
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 as part of the learning agreement;
  • 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.
Do I pay for my co-op credits?
Yes, you pay tuition and fees just as you do for any other course.
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.
How do I find a co-op?
  • Review job postings on Handshake
  • Attend career fairs
  • Company websites
  • Current employer
  • Networking
  • Social media (e.g., LinkedIn, Twitter)
  • Attend employer-led workshops (e.g., Comodo, Emergency Medical Associates, ADP)
  • Specialty internships such as:
Things to keep in mind
  • Time management (i.e., when’s the optimal time for you to participate in a co-op?)
    • Give yourself time to secure an internship (i.e., application process, interview, complete paperwork)
  • Co-op is a great experience building opportunity (i.e., resume building)
  • Be proactive in your internship search
  • Attend CSAM Workshops for Job Search Strategies, Interview Strategies, Science Resume Writing and more. Register for all career events on Handshake.
Where can I find more information about co-ops?
  • Register via Handshake to attend a CSAM Co-op Information Session
  • Check out our Canvas page for more co-op info
  • Send an email to