Science Co-Op Program
Co-op experiences are full-time jobs, typically two semesters long, where you’re expected to work 40 hours per week. During this time, you’ll remain a full-time student, but you’ll only register for one to three credits each semester.
Co-Op Program Features
Academic: A co-op is an academic program in which students earn credit for 2+ semesters of employment related to their majors.
Structure: Co-op experiences are typically two semesters long (Summer+Fall or Spring+Summer). Students are registered for 1-3 credits of SC 295 during the first semester and 1-3 credits SC 395 during their second. If there is a third semester, students may register for 1-3 credits of SC 495. Academic advisers can help determine the best way to use the credit. Depending on major, co-op courses may fulfill practicum or elective degree requirements.
Full-time: Co-ops are full-time jobs; typically students work 40 hours/week for the duration of the experience. Students participating in co-ops remain full-time Penn State students, though they are only registered (and pay) for 1-3 credits/semester.
Paid: Students are paid for their experiences – employers determine the rate of pay based on the job and level of skill.
English 202C option: Interested co-op students have the option of compiling a portfolio of technical writing samples to submit to the English Department during completion of the second co-op assignment (SC 395) to earn credit for the English 202C requirement.
Co-Op Program Guidelines
- You need completion of at least 30 credits, a 2.0 overall grade point average, be progressing in your degree program and be in good academic standing.
- The co-op experience must be related in some way to your academic plan and educational goals.
- Approval of academic credit and subsequent course registration in LionPATH must occur before starting the co-op experience. Since retroactive enrollment is not permitted, you need to apply in advance.
- Your degree program is among the following:
- an Eberly College of Science major; all science majors at all Penn State locations are eligible
- a science-oriented major (ex. Toxicology, Immunology, Animal Bioscience, Biobehavioral Health, etc.).
Apply to the Science Co-Op Program
Complete the following steps to apply to receive credit for your co-op experience. Remember: You must complete this process before your co-op starts.
- Obtain a copy of your offer letter on company stationery. Your offer letter must contain the following information:
- job title
- exact start and end dates
- hours to be worked per week
- specific address of where you will be working
- brief description of duties (specifically what you will be doing and either how or why you are doing that activity)
- employer signature and the signer’s name and title
- Here is a copy of these Offer Letter Components that you can use to help with the preparation of this letter.
- Meet with your academic adviser to complete and sign the Science Co-Op - Adviser Approval Form.
- In LionPATH, please accept Financial Responsibility and make sure there are no holds on your account. Our office cannot register you for classes until this is done.
- Read and agree to the co-op Participation Agreement & Ethics Statement.
- Apply through the relevant online application form (see below) and submit all required materials.
For BS/MBA majors, please contact Dr. Beth Johnson for your Co-Op form.
If you are interested in participating in the Science Co-Op Program, please contact Dr. Tiffany A. Mathews (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.