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Cooperative (Co-op) Education Program

This program is the traditional, engineering academic option for undergraduates and serves all nine undergraduate majors in the UK College of Engineering: Biosystems, Chemical, Materials, Civil, Electrical,  Computer, Mechanical, Mining Engineering and Computer Science.

 

Our students work full time for a minimum of three semesters, which alternate with full time academic work.

Undergraduate students can gain significant and valuable experience through an engineering cooperative education opportunity. A co-op is a highly encouraged, non-mandatory experience where students work full time for typically a minimum of three terms, alternating with full time on campus study. Our mission is to provide students with at least 12 months of work experience while they continue to make progress towards an academic degree in engineering. The co-op program integrates theory learned in the classroom with its practical application in industry. Through cooperative education, we help students obtain transferable skills, such as communication, leadership, presentation, teamwork and social skills. Students get a glimpse of “real life” as an engineer.”
This program is a process, and it does take extra commitment and time to earn a degree while gaining nearly a year of valuable experience. However, it is worth it.
Benefits of a co-op:

  • Nearly a year of FULL TIME work experience
  • Co-op salaries average $19/hr
  • Broaden and enhance academic knowledge and professional skills
  • Receive academic credit
  • Higher GPA
  • Higher starting salary
  • More job offers upon graduation

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide students with at least 12 months of work experience while they continue to make progress towards an academic degree in engineering. The co-op program integrates theory learned in the classroom with its practical application in industry.

We also strive to provide industry with the students needed to maintain a skilled and well educated workforce for future years. Our employers get a chance to mentor a student, introduce him or her to their business, and possibly hire him or her after graduation.

Through co-operative education, we help students obtain transferable skills, such as communication, leadership, presentation, teamwork and social skills. Students get a glimpse of “real life” as an engineer.”

Our assessment tools provide the college with necessary tools and data for accreditation.


Participation and Outcomes

About a quarter of UK ‘s graduating engineering and computer science class elected to participate in co-op before graduation. Many employers in and outside of Kentucky participate in this program and routinely recruit co-op students from UK. About thirty percent of our co-ops work outside of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The company size is not important; the work assignments must, however, complement academic programs. Most Co-op employers request students to work for a total of three, full-time semesters (about four months each) alternating with semesters of study on campus. Many of UK’s co-op graduates receive job offers before receiving their diplomas. Their starting salaries are consistently in the 75th percentile of starting salaries being reported nationwide by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Fifteen percent of UK co-op graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees – at schools such as UK, Purdue, GA Tech, MIT, Duke, Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins, University of Florida, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Tech, Carnegie Mellon, and UC Berkeley.


2018 Lou Takacs Co-op of the Year Winners Honored at Tau Beta Pi Banquet

This year's Lou Takac Co-op of the Year Award winners are Allison Crupper, a Chemical Engineering major who co-oped at Patheon, a Thermo Fisher Scientific company, and David Oswalt, a Mechanical Engineering major who co-oped at GE Aviation. Allison will complete a fourth work rotation with Patheon in Greenville, NC, in the summer of 2018, and David will complete a summer internship with Tesla in the San Francisco Bay Area this summer.

Both students did exemplary work in their three co-op rotations in industry and we celebrated their achievement at the annual Tau Beta Pi Banquet in April 2018.

In 2017, our Lou Takacs Co-op of the Year was Chemical Engineering Student Damarcus Smiley, who worked at Marathon Petroleum and Belcan.