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Campus Resources

Cooperative Education Program

What is a Co-op?

Cooperative Education (Co-op) is a paid, primarily full-time, career-related opportunity allowing students to gain professional experience before graduation. Co-ops commit to multiple semesters and receive higher levels of responsibility and training than participation in internships.


As an evaluated experience, Co-op students are registered for a zero credit transcript notation course during their work semester, which maintains their full-time status with the university. There is a $60 registration fee and no tuition for the co-op course. Upon returning from their Co-op, students must do a presentation of their experience for their Co-op faculty advisers.

Student Eligibility

  • The Cooperative-Education Program is available to undergraduate students in the College of Computing and Informatics, William States Lee College of Engineering, and College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and selected Graduate programs.*
  • Eligible students must:
    • Be enrolled as a full-time student (minimum of 12 credit hours) during the fall or spring semester prior to the semester you start your co-op.
      • EXCEPTION: The William States Lee College of Engineering allows both part-time and full-time students to participate in the Cooperative Education programs.
    • Have completed 30 earned credit hours at UNC Charlotte before you begin working (12 as a transfer student).
    • Must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5.
    • Must be in good standing with the University with no financial holds more than $99.

Both Graduate and Undergraduate students from the School of Architecture are eligible to participate in a Career Center Co-op after they first apply and are officially accepted to the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (iPAL) curricular pathway.

Graduate level students in the Health Psychology enroll in Co-op and are registered for HPSY 8950 - Co-op (Internships) - Placement in a pre-doctoral clinical internship at an American Psychological Association approved site or at another site approved by the Director of Clinical Training. Internship typically lasts for one continuous year.

Co-op details

There are two ways that this form of experiential learning can happen; participating students may work 3 alternating full-time semesters of work with full-time semesters of school, or 2 back-to-back full-time semesters of work:

  • College of Engineering: Students have an option of 2 to 3 co-op work rotations depending on department. Rotations can be alternating or back-to-back (spring-summer or summer-fall). Example: [Summer 2018, Fall 2018, Summer 2019] or [Summer 2019, Spring 2019, Summer 2020]. College of Engineering students may earn up to 1 year towards their North Carolina professional license after working and completing departmental requirements for co-op.
    • Engineering Students are required to meet with Linda Thurman as part of the coop process. (See How to Enroll in Co-Op below for details).
  • College of Computing & Informatics: Students need only 2 alternating semesters.  Start with your academic advisor to learn about eligibility. 
  • School of Architecture/Department of Psychology: typical co-op experience is back-to-back semesters
    • Back-to-back schedules must not include fall and spring in a given semester (spring-summer or summer-fall only).  Start with your academic advisor to learn about eligibility.

While on your co-op assignment, you are registered for a $60 zero-credit transcript notation course that is applied to your student account each work rotation.  Enrollment in the course during your work rotation maintains your full-time student status.  Students receive a “Satisfactory” or Unsatisfactory” grade for the co-op transcript notation course, based on completion of a co-op student evaluation.  Student evaluations are sent by email near the end of each semester.  Students will not receive a “Satisfactory” grade for the co-op transcript notation course, unless their student evaluation is completed by the date designated in their co-op work semester.

The University Career Center processes co-op applications one semester at a time. (Note: If you are hired to work back-to-back rotations over the course of two semesters you must still reapply for the second rotation.) We accept applications each semester based on the course registration dates set by the office of the Registrar. Submission dates for each semester are as follows:

  • Fall | We will begin accepting applications the first week of July.
  • Spring | We will begin accepting applications the first week of November.
  • Summer  | We will begin accepting applications the first week of April. 

How to Enroll in a Co-Op

  1. For Engineering Students:  Meet with Ms. Linda A. Thurman, Director for Student Professional Development and Employer Relations, College of Engineering Student Professional Development Advisor to learn all Cooperative Education policies and processes. Email Ms. Thurman,, to schedule a 1-on-1 appointment or a virtual session. See the Professional Development Advising page for more details.
    • Contact your co-op Faculty Advisor to complete and sign a co-op Approval form (complete before your first co-op work rotation and update if your rotations change)
  2. Access the Cooperative Education application form in Experience
  3. Select the dot beside the co-op experience relevant to your program of study
  4. Complete all required fields and upload all required documents (see below), then click "Submit"

Information Required

  • Co-op approval form signed by your co-op faculty advisor listed on the form below (complete before your first co-op work rotation only unless your rotations change).
  • Detailed job description showing an overview of your daily activities and responsibilities as well as the skills you will learning and using throughout your co-op.
  • Offer letter
  • Supervisor's contact information
  • Pay

Timeline and Deadlines

  • All Cooperative Education Work Assignments must last the entire duration of the work semester (Start dates must be on the first day of class and end dates must be on the last day of finals week).
  • The University Career Center requires 5 business days to review your request to enroll in the Co-op Program from the date you accurately complete your submission in Experience.
  • A member of our team will be in touch within 5 business days as soon as your submission has been reviewed.
  • Failure to accurately and thoroughly complete your request in Experience will result in processing time delays.
  • Your application must be submitted before the last day of add/drop for the semester you wish to enroll. Failure to turn the application in before this date may result in having to submit an academic petition to the Office of the Registrar.
  • Students must enroll in Co-op and be registered for transcript notation every semester they work in a Co-op assignment.
  • Co-ops must have enrolled and registered for their appropriate Cooperative Education Experience course (Example - ENGR 3500) by the last Add/Drop date of the semester in which they Co-op. Upon that date, students will have five (5) business days to pay the $60.00 fee required. Failure to pay the fee after the 5 days will result in a hold being placed on their UNC Charlotte student accounts until payment is received.
Summer 2023April 24, 2023
Fall 2023Friday, April 11, 2023
Spring 2024Monday, December 11, 2023
Summer 2024Friday, April 19, 2024

* No applications after this date will be accepted for the respective term. This means you must have acquired your position and submitted all required documentation by the deadline in order to enroll.

Co-op Approval Form

Financial Aid

According to federal guidelines, as long as a school determines the co-op program is equal to full-time status and the student is required to take the co-op as part of their program, then the school is allowed to pay federal financial aid to these students. UNC Charlotte does not require students to complete a co-op program as part of their degree requirements; therefore, students are not eligible for financial aid in the term(s) where co-op is the only course taken.

Verifying Your Enrollment for Purposes of Financial Aid or Health Care

UNC Charlotte recognizes your enrollment in a zero-credit transcript notation course, for the semester in which you work, maintains your full-time status with the university. While out on your Co-op, you may still receive automatic notices from financial aid or health care insurers which question your full-time status. If you receive such notices (i.e. Financial Aid's referral to Exit Counseling), please visit the Office of the Registrar's website to obtain enrollment verification forms at no charge via the National Student Clearinghouse. The UCC encourages all Cooperative Education students, even prior to the start of your assignment, to contact any relevant financial aid or health care insurer to notify these institutions of your intention and be prepared as to how your full-time status will be handled. Please contact Student Accounts for information on how to maintain your student health during your coop experience.

Students may be eligible for financial aid and should check with the Office of Financial Aid to determine eligibility.

Co-op students can apply for an alternative loan if they meet the lender’s requirements. Students will need to check with their lender of choice to see if they qualify.

Co-op students are considered full-time status during the term(s) of the co-op course. Students will remain in an in-school deferment status for loan repayment purposes and will not have to begin repayment during their co-op term.