Cooperative Education

Cooperative Education - Undergraduate


The WPI Cooperative Education Program (Co-op) is an opportunity for undergraduate students to alternate time in the classroom with extended periods of paid, full-time, career-related work experience in industry or government. This optional program can be done during the following scenarios:

  1. Summer plus A term
  2. Summer, A term and B term
  3. C term, D term and Summer
  4. D term and Summer
  5. Summer, A term, B term, C term and D term
  6. A term, B term, C term, D term and summer

Most students elect to participate in one Co-op assignment, though up to two is possible. Because Co-op is not a credit-baring program, it is recommended that students pre-plan during their first or second year. Preparation of a complete four year plan with the student’s academic advisor is required to ensure compatible scheduling of work periods and academic courses.

In order to qualify for the Co-op program, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Must be a current, full time, undergraduate WPI student in good standing. Note: If any of the following conditions apply a student may petition for eligibility.
    1. Not in good academic standing (i.e. on academic warning or probation)
    2. Have financial holds on their account
    3. Have a judicial record. Note: having a judicial record does not automatically preclude you from participating in a Co-op.
    4. Want to register for up to 1/3 unit of course while on Co-op.
  2. International students must complete one full academic year at WPI before being eligible for Co-op, due to US Federal Government regulations. In addition, the Co-op must be related to the major (not minor). For questions, please contact International House.
  3. Understand the impact Co-op would have on your federal and institutional financial aid through a meeting with the Office of Student Aid & Financial Literacy.
  4. Understand the impact your Co-op will have on your course schedule and outline your four year plan, including projects, Co-op, etc. and have it reviewed through a required meeting with your Faculty Advisor.
  5. Approval will be needed from your Faculty Advisor, Office of Student Aid & Financial Literacy, Supervisor at your Co-op, Bursar, Dean of Students Office, Career Development Center (CDC), and International House (if applicable). Approvals are done electronically through Handshake, beginning with you entering your Co-op information in your Handshake Account’s Experiences section. The deadline for fall Co-op application is August 1; the deadline for spring Co-op application is December 1. Co-op applications received after deadline are reviewed on a case by case basis. Submissions after the add/ drop deadline will not be approved.
  6. To be considered, the Co-op must be full time (at least 30 hours per week), paid, 4-8 months in duration and related to your major and career goals.
  7. Understands and accepts the Terms of Agreement. (see website for more information)

Advantages for Students

Co-op offers several advantages for students:

  1. Gain experience, build their resume and bring theory into practice.
  2. Earnings enable students to pay a significant portion of their college expenses.
  3. Sharpen skills and abilities as an emerging professional.
  4. Test out career options to help clarify career goals and interests.
  5. Return to school with new knowledge and experience in their field.
  6. Position themselves for future opportunities; Co-op participants are preferred full time hires.
  7. Transcript will show Co-op and indicate company name.

Information and Registration

Students interested in exploring the possibility of participating in the co-op program should attend drop-ins or schedule an appointment with a CDC Career Advisor.