A UMass Lowell student veteran poses with a co-worker from his co-op at Netscout.

College of Sciences

The UMass Lowell College of Sciences (COS) offers students many venues to support their pursuit of science. In addition to the rigors of classroom training, students are encouraged to gain valuable real world experience to enhance their understanding of scientific principles. Students in the College of Sciences have been able to participate in the academically integrated professional cooperative education (co-op) program since Fall 2011.

The professional co-op program allows students to participate in summer work experiences with regional and national employers pertinent to their academic major.

Benefits of Co-op

Through co-op, a student can develop:

  • Extensive work experience
  • An informed idea of the work environment you prefer
  • Increased business insight
  • A better understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses
  • A stronger, more competitive resume
  • A network of contacts in the professional world

Co-op Sequence

The Professional Co-op Program is optional and COS students elect to participate in either 6-month co-op cycles (Jan-Jun, Jul-Dec) or summer-only, co-op work experiences. These experiences can be either single work experience or multiple summer work experiences, and can be any combination of 6 or 3 month experiences, depending upon participating science department.


Students pay tuition while they are in classes (8 semesters). No tuition is payable during co-op periods. However, students are still considered a full-time and maintain their student status. Maintaining student status allows students to continue to pay room and board to live in a residence hall while on co-op, participate in student organizations, and continue to have access to all campus resources.

Maintaining student status also allows students to keep their student loans and healthcare. Students are advised to discuss the status of scholarships with the financial aid office. Students do not pay academic tuition to participate in co-op; there is a modest fee to participate in the co-op work experience.

Role of the Co-op Coordinator

Students in the professional co-op program are supported by a co-op coordinator; He/she provides education, coaching, and ongoing guidance on careers and skills necessary for success in the professional world. The co-op coordinator assists students in preparing for co-op and identifying opportunities that match their goals and interests. Students are required to complete a one-credit course before beginning their first co-op experience. The course, Professional Development Seminar, is taught by a Career & Co-op Center professional and covers areas including resume and interview preparation, career decision-making and professional protocols.

Co-op coordinators work closely with students, not only in the classroom, but in one-on-one counseling throughout all aspects of the job-search process. The co-op coordinator also works closely with employer partners in developing, enhancing and maintaining co-op positions that align with the educational goals of the college.

College/Department Contact
College of Sciences:  Computer Science, Applied Math, Biological Sciences Catherine Elliott, Assistant Director of Co-op