Cooperative Education is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with practical work experience. A cooperative education experience, commonly known as a "co-op", provides academic credit for structured job experience. Cooperative Education is taking on new importance in helping young people to make the school-to-work transition, service learning, and experiential learning initiatives.
The Georgia Tech Undergrad Co-op Program is a five-year, academic program designed to complement a student's formal education with paid practical work experience directly related to the student's academic major. It is available in all engineering majors, as well as in many majors in other colleges at Georgia Tech.
Co-ops alternate semesters of on-campus study with semesters of full-time employment. Co-ops are classified as full-time students during each term, regardless of whether they are attending classes on campus or working full-time at an employer location. Most Undergrad Co-op students begin the program as sophomores. More than 15,000 students have completed requirements for the Cooperative Plan degree designation on their Georgia Tech diploma.
Since Georgia Tech introduced its co-op program in 1912, it became the fourth school in the United States to offer that method of education. With more than 4,100 students participating, Georgia Tech's program is currently the largest optional co-op program in the United States and has perennially been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of the "Top Ten" co-op programs in America.
As an integral part of the overall education experience, the co-op program allows students to take on increasing levels of responsibility and to use their job knowledge and classroom learning to make meaningful contributions to the organizations in which they work. Many co-op graduates are hired by their co-op employer, and more than 700 companies or government organizations throughout the United States and abroad currently employ Georgia Tech Undergrad Co-op Program students.
Co-ops typically earn $8,000-$10,000 per work term and pay no tuition for the 12-hour audit-credit co-op course.