What is Cooperative Education?

Cooperative education is a nationally recognized educational plan that integrates academic study and paid, real world work experience. More than 1,000 educational institutions have cooperated with business, industry, government, and other private and public agencies to offer work assignments related to students' educational programs and career objectives.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn established its Arts, Sciences, and Letters Cooperative Education Program in 1973. Co-op students who have participated in the program report that co-op gave them a rare opportunity to achieve personal and professional growth.

The co-op student is a candidate for degree, generally working a minimum of two co-op work terms.

Thus, cooperative education is not work/study, nor merely work experience. A good way to think about co-op is that it's a career-related paid internship.  Although many students may hold jobs while going to school, only students in officially recognized and college-monitored programs are cooperative education students.

The difference between co-op and some internships is that interns sometimes only a few hours a week and only for one semester, while co-ops work at least 20 hours per week for a minimum of 12 weeks.  Also, some interns aren't paid, while co-op students are always paid for their work.

An eligible student must:

  • Be admitted to a degree program in CASL.
  • Have completed 30 credit hours (sophomore status).
  • Transfer students must have completed 12 credit hours at UM-Dearborn.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 2.25.

Steps to Apply

  • Complete a co-op application.
  • Complete a resume. Get help and advice if you need it. The resume is a screening tool for employers.
  • Arrange for an appointment with the co-op director to review career opportunities and program requirements.

Mission Statement

Cooperative Education in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters is an academic program founded in UM-Dearborn's commitment to "excellence in teaching and learning." It promotes liberal arts learning and career/personal development through student participation in paid, professional employment. Expected learning outcomes include clarification of values, development of problem-solving and career-related skills, and enhancement of academic knowledge.

CASL Co-op Office

Suite 285 -
Fairlane Center North (FCN)
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