A female student poses next to a robot and her poster from her co-op and a campus event.

How Professional Co-op Works

How Professional Co-op Works: A Three-Phase Process

Three discinct phases of the UMass Lowell co-op program

Beginning in the sophomore year, students in good academic standing and who are approved by their academic department may elect to join the professional co-op program.

The professional co-op experience is comprised of three required phases:

  1. professional preparation
  2. the actual industry experience
  3. the integration of on-the-job learning into the student’s program of study

Before: Preparation-Seminar

To ensure student readiness to successfully participate in co-op employment, all professional co-op students enroll in a graded, one-credit, full-semester Professional Development Seminar.

During: Work Experience

Cycle Options:

  • January - June (Six-months)
  • July - December (Six-months)
  • Summer Only (Three-months)
  • January - April (Accounting students only)

Students are not placed into positions, but learn how to apply and interview for co-op positions with the support of their coordinator. Depending upon the requirements of their academic department, students may undertake a combination of two, three-month summer co-ops or one (or more) , six-month co-op work experience. Some employers are eager to employ students for multiple co-op cycles and a student may elect to remain with the same employer. To see how the professional co-op program is structured into a particular program of study, please refer to the academic curriculum in the appropriate College.

After: Assessment-Seminar

Upon the completion of each co-op work experience, students enroll in a one or two-credit co-op assessment course. These courses, which often include guest lectures from our faculty/employer partners, are designed to assist our students in evaluating, reflecting, and presenting on their work experience, while gaining an understanding of professional ethics and the dynamics of the workplace. A special emphasis is also placed on preparing for future employment opportunities.