Internships and Co-op

Cooperative Education

Co-op is an educational partnership between the University and employer that allows current students to engage in a paid training experience related to their major and is administered by Career Services. Co-op is a cost-effective way to recruit from a pre-screened candidate pool and permits evaluation of potential hires without long-term commitment. Co-op may be a one or multi-semester commitment from the employer and the student.

Developing a Co-op program takes commitment, but students and employers involved in one find a greater return on investment. In the NACE 2017 Internship and Co-op Survey, 85.5% of respondents said they considered on-campus recruiting to be the most effective recruiting technique for Co-op positions.

USF offers two types of Co-op programs and they are outlined below.

Pipeline Program

The Pipeline Program is a part-time or full-time Co-op experience in which the student's major is a direct match for the position. This is ideal for majors like accounting, engineering, or computer science, where the student works in that specific career field for a minimum of one semester, with two to three semesters being the average length of the experience. A student's willingness to accept part-time or full-time opportunities is dependent on the academic term and the student's required course load. For full-time opportunities, we recommend utilizing the summer semester.

Bridge Program

Our Bridge Program is a part-time experience in which the student's skills and career goals are a fit with the opportunity, but due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the position, the student is learning skills on the job that their major does not address. Students will come to the experience with a relevant major or skills and work toward developing a bridge to other skills with the assistance of their supervisor.

The Course

Cooperative Education is a semester-long course with an academic component taught on-line. This course is taught while students are concurrently accumulating practical on-site training with an employer. While Career Services handles the academic side, our Co-op employers provide the opportunity for students to engage in a paid training experience in fields related to their major while they are pursuing their degrees. Co-op offers a cost-effective way to recruit from a pre-screened candidate pool and permits the evaluation of potential hires without long-term commitment.

As Co-ops are always paid positions, the Co-op course is "0" credits but is documented on the students' academic transcript each semester they are out training. Career Services pre-screens students for good academic standing with a minimum of a 2.5 GPA, completion of at least 45 semester hours of coursework, and an officially accepted/declared status within their major. Cooperative Education may be a one or multi-semester commitment from the employer and the student.

Two plans are available:

Alternating Plan: students alternate full-time semesters of training (35-40 hours a week per semester) with full-time semesters of study.

Parallel Plan: students work their Co-op assignments on a part-time basis (15-25 hours a week per semester) while taking classes.