The UMass Lowell Francis College of Engineering has a long and distinguished tradition of offering students an intensive, hands on and multidimensional educational experience. The Professional Coop program is an important way in which students are able to apply and integrate their academic and technical learning with real world engineering.
Our academically-based professional co-op program allows students in Plastics, Chemical, Mechanical and Electrical and Computer Engineering to participate in multiple co-op work experiences by tapping into our employer partnerships with regional and national engineering organizations. Students are encouraged to participate in at least two co-ops, three or six months in duration.
The Co-op program enables students to:
- Clarify short and long-range personal, educational, and career goals
- Explore jobs in engineering, alternating work and academic semesters
- Connect academic study to real-world challenges
- Develop a professional engineering identity
- Meet financial responsibilities
Learn more about how to how to participate in co-op.
Students who participate in the professional co-op program have options for sequencing. The university's calendar is comprised of two, 15-week semesters (fall & spring), and two 7.5-week summer terms. A student chooses a co-op cycle, based on their major and goals; this will determine a student’s calendar and co-op periods. Co-op cycles are aligned with the UMass Lowell's academic calendar and as such are January-June, July to December or some programs allow a summer-only co-op experience (to align with both summer-school sessions).
Undergraduates do not earn academic credit for the work experience, but for the completion of courses before (25.2100 /26.2100) and after each co-op experience (25.3100/25.4100/26.3100/26.4100).
The full cycle of professional co-op awards up to 3 credits or a technical elective in some departments.
Students do not pay tuition during co-op work terms. However, students are still considered 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 who provides education, coaching, and ongoing guidance on careers and skills necessary for success in the professional world. The Co-op Coordinator assists students to prepare for co-op and identify 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 Services & Co-op 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.
For more information, contact the appropriate person in your major:
Industrial Experience Program
Undergraduate students in Civil and Environmental Engineering and all graduate students in the Francis College of Engineering can gain hands-on experience through the Industrial Experience program. These independent study-like opportunities are coordinated directly through faculty in its respective disciplines. Students should contact their department and faculty "Industrial Experience" advisers to inquire about the specific requirements, course registration and Industrial Experience contracts in their major.
Industrial Experience is NOT affiliated with the Professional Co-op Program. In disciplines where both Professional Co-op AND Industrial Experience are offered as ways of fulfilling a technical elective, students must choose one or the other.