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Graduate Master's Co-op Option in Engineering

Graduate Master's Co-op Option in Engineering

Program Descriptionprogram

The Francis College of Engineering offers a Graduate Master's Cooperative Education Option (Co-op) in the Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) programs in Chemical, Civil and Environmental, Computer, Electrical, Energy (Solar & Nuclear), Mechanical and Plastics Engineering, and the Master of Science programs in Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology, Engineering Management and Environmental Engineering Studies.

A Co-op work Experience offers an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge in new, authentic contexts. Co-op participation at the graduate level is voluntary, and most students seek out the professional experience to deepen their education, develop new skills, and determine how theory and practice work together. The policies below are specific to the Engineering Graduate Co-op Program.

All full-time non-thesis master's students in a participating major are eligible to apply. Students must submit a separate application to this option before the end of their first semester of study.

For most departments, the Co-op Program consists of two one-credit components that are in addition to the master's degree requirements. In the semester immediately preceding the student going on Co-op, each student will complete the one-credit Co-op preparatory workshop-based course (ENGN.6020 Graduate Professional Development for Engineers), where they will learn how to approach a job search, address workplace cultures and behavior, and hone their technical writing skills. Following this preparatory course, students will engage in the one-credit Co-op work experience (ENGN.6030 Graduate Cooperative Experience) for a three- or six-month period of paid professional experience in an industrial setting, in the United States (i.e. private, non-profit or government sector). The combination of the one-credit preparatory course and one-credit Co-op work experience is a two-credit add-on to the existing non-thesis master's program in most of the participating departments in the College of Engineering.

The Co-op option in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and Energy Engineering (Nuclear Option) program includes a third component, a one-credit ENGN.6040 Workforce Development course to be taken in the semester immediately following the Co-op work experience period. ENGN.6040 is an independent study aimed at promoting student interaction and networking with professionals in their field from industry, government, academia and non-profit sectors with a focus on workforce development activities.  The ECE Department has integrated this Co-op Program into the traditional non-thesis master's degree by having the ENGN.6020, ENGN.6030, ENGN.6040 sequence of courses count as one of the required technical electives in each of its 33-credit non-thesis master's degree programs. The Energy Engineering (Nuclear Option) has also integrated this Co-op Program into the 30-credit traditional non-thesis master's degree, replacing one of the technical electives with the three component Co-op sequence.

Questions regarding the Engineering Co-op program should be directed to:contact

Rae Perry
Director of Cooperative Education Career Services
Phone: 978-934-2453

Application Eligibility and Criteria

To be eligible to apply for the Graduate Master's Co-op Option in the College of Engineering, the students must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time, matriculated, non-theses, master's level student in their first semester of graduate-level master's degree studies in one of the programs in the College of Engineering offering a Co-op Option.
  • Be on track to successfully complete two semesters and at least the first 18 credits of the Co-op Plan of Study for their major, including the ENGN.6020 Graduate Professional Development for Engineers course, prior to the Co-op work experience.
  • Must have a minimum 3.000 CGPA at the end of the first semester to participate in the preparatory course.
  • Students may not participate in Co-op during their last semester of study.
  • Students who are admitted into the Co-op Option are required to complete a two-credit course sequence comprised of one-credit of Co-op preparatory coursework (graded) followed by the one-credit Co-op work experience in the United States (graded S/U). Students who earn a grade below a B in the preparatory course will not be allowed to continue onto a Co-op work experience. Students in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Energy Engineering (Nuclear Option) are also required to take a one-credit networking course (graded S/U) to be completed following the Co-op work experience.

Additional Criteria for International Students

  • Must have a full-time semester remaining at the end of the Co-op work experience.
  • Cannot take any courses during the Co-op work experience.
  • Must obtain an approved CPT I-20 at least two weeks before their intended Co-op start date and no later than the first day of the semester.
  • All international students will need ISSO approval through a CPT I-20 listing employment details prior to commencing employment. Failure to have this approval will be cause for an automatic termination of F-1 status.
  • Students enrolled in the Navitas PMP/GSSP will need to complete a minimum of 18 graduate-level credits in their major, plus the one-credit ENGN.6020 prior to commencement of the Co-op work experience.
  • A student is NOT eligible for the Co-op Program if:
    • Student is missing two or more pre-requisites prior to matriculation.
    • Student received a grade of U, F, or more than one INC.
    • Student is not in Good Academic Standing or Judicial Standing.
    • Student is currently working full-time.


  • There is no guarantee of a Co-op work experience.
  • There are no guarantees of a job opportunity after the completion of the Co-op Program.
  • The Student will have primary responsibility to identify and secure a Co-op employer in the United States. In the event that a student does complete the one-credit preparatory course, but is unable to secure a qualified Co-op work experience, then the student can elect to:
    1. Complete the Master's degree with one additional credit from ENGN.6020 (all majors except Electrical, Computer and Nuclear Engineering).
    2. Enroll in an applicable three-credit technical elective for the degree major and finish with one extra credit from ENGN.6020 (Electrical, Computer and Nuclear Engineering).

Ineligibility due to academic standing will be monitored and enforced by the Director of Graduate Student Services.

Ineligibility or failure to comply with Co-op policy standards will be monitored and enforced by the Co-op Program Director.

Application Procedure 

Students who have applied and been admitted to a master's program in the Francis College of Engineering must apply separately to the Co-op Option by completing the Co-op Application Form and submitting it by the deadline specified on the application, typically one to two weeks after the semester ends. Applicants will also need to submit a professional resume (through Handshake) and a statement of purpose. 

For students who begin their graduate studies in the fall and apply for a Co-op beginning in the summer, these students will be notified about acceptance into the Co-op Option no later than mid-January. For students who begin their graduate studies in the spring and apply for a Co-op beginning the following spring, these students will be notified about acceptance into the Co-op Option no later than mid-July. Students will register for all relevant Co-op courses (ENGN.6020, 6030 and/or 6040) using a permission number granted by the Co-op Program Director.

Additional Co-op Policiespolicies

  • Teaching and Research Assistantship (TA or RA) - Students may not hold a TA or RA position during a Co-op.
  • Duration - A Co-op assignment must align with academic semesters and is either three or six months in duration. Co-ops cannot exceed six months. Students may only participate in one Co-op experience.
  • Extensions - Co-op extensions must be requested at least two weeks in advance of the agreed-upon end date and be approved by your Co-op Program Director. The work experience cannot extend beyond six months.
  • Academic Program Completion - Students may not complete their academic program while on Co-op and must return to campus for at least one semester to take courses prior to graduating.
  • Taking a Course While on Co-op - Students are not allowed to take courses while on Co-op.