Engineering Co-Op Program

Information for Engineering Students Considering a Co-op

What is the Engineering Co-op program?

The McKelvey School of Engineering offers students a unique opportunity to gain in-depth engineering experience through the Engineering Co-op Program. Co-ops learn about a field of engineering by working alongside practicing engineers on extensive projects that are typically undertaken by entry-level engineers. The cooperative education experience is typically completed over the course of a semester and a summer term. This in-depth experience gives students a chance to preview a career path and employment options, gain career clarification, improve communication and team project skills, and enhance marketability with future employers.  Because co-ops work full-time for seven to eight months, they typically will delay graduation by one semester. Even though it postpones graduation, the benefits prevail by giving a competitive edge when applying to postgraduate jobs.

Student Status during a Co-op

During a co-op semester (fall or spring) you will be enrolled in the “Engineering Cooperative Education” course.  The course appears on your transcript and is a zero credit audit course.  This means you will not accrue credit nor pay tuition but will maintain full-time student status. Financial aid eligibility and scholarship are deferred.  Co-ops are paid an average of $23/hr.; that’s approximately $27,600 over an entire co-op term.

Co-Op Eligibility

Before applying to co-op positions, first verify that you meet the requirements to participate:

Are you qualified to co-op?

  • Enrolled in the McKelvey School of Engineering
  • Enrolled at WashU for at least two semesters
  • In good academic standing with a recommended GPA of 2.7 or higher
  • Confirm with your academic advisor your ability to take a break from your curriculum

Does your co-op qualify?

  • Full-time 32-40 hours per week
  • Paid at a rate commensurate with experience, typically $19-25/hr.
  • Last a minimum of a full semester (16 weeks) or full summer (10 week minimum)
  • Co-op is related to your engineering major

How to Get a Co-Op

Co-ops are obtained in the same ways internships and post grad jobs are obtained:  Handshake postings, Career Fairs, McKelvey Meet-up (spring) or McKelvey Spotlight (fall), or company websites, etc. Contact Sue Kruessel to find out WHERE to find co-op opportunities and contact a career adviser to find out HOW to land a co-op.

How to Register once a co-op is secured

  1. Send your employment letter to (Forward the attached letter the company creates. It should include start/end dates, salary, duties).
  2. Complete the online form