How Do Undergraduates Get Started?

Preparatory Coursework: All sophomore students must successfully complete the required, one-credit Professional Development Seminar (PLAS.2100/ENGN.2100). Students learn how and where to search for a co-op, craft a polished resume, practice interviewing skills, and learn about the professional expectations in the workplace and how to succeed on the job.

Eligibility and Approval Process: Once students have completed PLAS.2100/ENGN.2100 with a C or better, they work with the Co-op Coordinator in Career Services & Cooperative Education Center to plan, secure, and report an approved co-op. Students must be in good academic standing and able to responsibly represent UMass Lowell and the Plastics Engineering Department. 

Transfer students: May participate in co-op after completing the Professional Development Seminar and at least one full semester at UMass Lowell.

International students: Those who are eligible for Curricular Practical Training are welcome to enroll in Co-op. 

You formally declare your interest by reviewing and completing the Co-op Student Contract and Statement of Understanding and submitting it to the Career & Co-op Center.

How Do Undergraduates Search for A Co-op?

We do not guarantee co-op placements; the process for securing a co-op is competitive and ultimately rests with the student, and not the Plastics Engineering Department. Students will get help for searching during the PLAS.2100/ENGN.2100 course. We strongly recommend you begin the co-op search process at least a semester ahead and use all possible resources and networking opportunities in your search, including the following:

  • Handshake, the Career & Co-op Center's database of jobs and internships.
  • Announcements of opportunities during the weekly Safety Lecture.
  • Individual consultation with Career & Co-op Center staff.
  • Internship Search sites on the Career & Co-op Center's website.
  • Attendance at Engineering and Technology Career Fairs, Co-op Expos, and Co-op Connections.
  • Networking with family and friends.
  • Targeted research of specific local, regional, and national companies.
  • Research companies who have hired UMass Lowell Plastics students in co-ops and full-time positions.
  • Utilization of UML Connect, a network of alumni and friends of UMass Lowell who have volunteered to provide advice and information to students.
  • Attendance at Plastics Engineering events and professional association meetings.

As soon as you have been offered a co-op position, contact, Co-op Coordinator at Career Services and Cooperative Education Center.

Students enrolled in co-op course work earn an S/U based on completion of academic requirements including an evaluation of the organization and the experience. Additionally, it is our hope that on-site supervisors will offer students feedback throughout their employment period. At the end of the student's employment, the supervisor will discuss the student's progress toward establishing learning objectives and conduct a formal performance evaluation.

Debriefing the Co-Op Experience and Earning Academic Credit

The Professional Co-op Program requires formalized reflection and assessment processes during and after the co-op experience via through structured academic courses. Plastics Engineering students are enrolled in credit-bearing Co-op Experience and Co-op Assessment during and after each co-op experience.

Reflection during your co-op includes Learning Objectives, meeting with your supervisor, mid-point check-ins withe your Co-op Advisor, a written reflection and evaluation. Your self-assessment process and course will include small group sessions and individual work. Using both of these approaches, you will be asked to candidly review your individual performance, to assess how your experience may influence your future career decisions. You may be required to present a project or specific piece of work that represents a contribution you made to your organization.

You are granted one (1) academic credit for satisfactory completion of Co-op Assessment I and two (2) credits for Co-op Assessment II.

Professional Co-op Program Credits & Sequence

Professional Development Seminar
Work Experience #1
(3 or 6 months)
Co-op Assessment I
Work Experience #2
(3 or 6 months)
Co-op Assessment II

1 credit
Letter Graded
Not counted toward tech elective

0 credits
Co-op experience listed on transcript. Maintains full-time student status although 0 credits.
1 credit (3-month)
2 credit (6-month)
0 credits
2 credits (3 or 6 months)
Must complete two co-op experiences and satisfy all academic and program requirements to earn technical elective credit.

For the latest course information, including course descriptions, degree pathways and more please visit the UMass Lowell online Academic Catalog.