Co-op Student Resources

On This Page:

  • Steps to Obtaining a Co-op
  • Co-op Course Requirements
  • EGR Student Co-op Experiences
  • List of Co-op Employers

For questions related to the academic or workplace component of the co-op program, including academic requirements/milestones, individualized educational plan, and on-site co-op visitation by a faculty co-op advisor, please contact:

Diane LaFreniere                                     
James R. Sebastian Chair
Engineering Educational Development, Assessment/Accreditation and Co-op Education
Phone: (616) 331-6017
Email: lafrenid@gvsu.edu


How to Obtain a Co-op

Step 1: Apply for Secondary Admission to the School of Engineering

Application for Secondary Admission
Prior to participating in the co-op program, students must first apply for secondary admission to the GVSU School of Engineering. The secondary admission process consists of completing an online application form, which includes a review of academic background and past involvement in work experiences and other activities.  The final component of the application package is a review of corporate employer feedback on the practice interview forms to assess preparedness for the co-op job search and interview process.
Note: A student must have an overall grade point average of 2.70 or above and a 'C' or better in all foundation courses (with only one repeat) in order to gain secondary admission to the School of Engineering. Learn more about secondary admission


Engineering Co-op Prep (EGR 289)
The application process, including preparation and participation in employer practice interviews, is coordinated through the Engineering Co-op Prep course (EGR289). EGR 289 introduces potential engineering cooperative education students to the industrial environment and the basic principles of leadership. This course helps students develop a better self-awareness through self-assessment and career development theory and prepares students for the co-op interview process. The student is exposed to simulated interviews, as well as practice interviews with corporate employers.  This process helps to build confidence and preparedness for the job search process.
IMPORTANT: Students need to plan to schedule for EGR 289 enrollment the fall semester prior to the summer targeted for the first co-op semester.  Those students who will not complete their foundation coursework prior to the summer targeted for Co-op I should not enroll in EGR 289 until the following year.


Practice Interviews
Practice interviews are conducted by industry volunteers and are a required part of EGR 289. Each student completes a final resume and at least one simulated interview to prepare for the industry interview. The instructor and corporate representatives provide feedback and critique the students on how well they interview. The professional input received from the course instructor and corporate representative provide the student with a chance to see areas of improvement before scheduling co-op interviews. During the practice interviews, the Career Services engineering liaisons and staff provide each corporate interviewer with a feedback form for each student. These forms are kept in the student's co-op file and made available to the faculty in the secondary admission process. The aim of this process is to assist the student in developing the necessary confidence and assertiveness to be successful in the co-op job search and interview process.

Step 2: Secure a Co-op Position

Once a student is admitted into the School of Engineering, the corporate search begins for co-op employment. The Career Center engineering liaison, Chris Babbitt, will assist the students in finding co-op employment, but the student is ultimately responsible for securing the co-op position. The student must take the initiative to lead the job search and locate a co-op position. A student is required to secure a co-op position prior to being granted full secondary admission status, which allows the student to take Upper Division (Junior and Senior-level) undergraduate courses.

If the student would like to co-op for a company that is currently not on the co-op employer pre-approved list, it is the student’s responsibility to contact Chris Babbitt at the Career Center to discuss this matter.  He will initiate correspondence with the employer regarding the co-op program requirements.

Step 3: Confirm the Co-op Position with GVSU

Once a student secures a co-op position, a co-op agreement form must be filled out prior to beginning each co-op semester. The co-op agreement form can be found by clicking below.

NOTE: The employer and student employer forms must be submitted in an electronic format (PDF) to Diane LaFreniere, Sebastian Chair, at lafrenid@gvsu.edu, prior to the start of the co-op rotation.


Co-op Course Requirements

During each co-op semester, the student must be signed up for the corresponding co-op course. The following descriptions contain the general co-op program description and requirements for each course. IMPORTANT: Students should consult the Blackboard site for specific requirements and due dates for each semester of co-op.

EGR 290 (Co-op I)

The first co-op rotation allows the student to be immersed into an engineering role within a company. The student learns how a company is structured, how engineering fits into the company, and how things get done in the "real world". Typical tasks include: entering engineering changes into prints (to learn the product line), working on the floor (to learn how a product is produced), completing a short term design project (to gain experience in getting things done in a plant).

While working in industry, the student must be concurrently enrolled in EGR 290. The student has academic requirements that include maintaining a work journal with reflections on the workplace experiences (keeping in mind some items are confidential or proprietary to an organization and therefore should not be described in detail in the journal).  The curriculum also includes academic modules/quizzes on professionalism, engineering ethics, project management, engineering economics, reading assignments, report writing based upon required reading assignments, writing a co-op experience summary, and completing an end-of-semester evaluation of the co-op experience.

EGR 390 (Co-op II)

During the second co-op rotation, the student has successfully completed one co-op rotation and has worked in an engineering capacity within a co-op company. The student has also taken a full semester of engineering coursework related to their major (Computer, Electrical, Interdisciplinary, Mechanical, or Product Design & Manufacturing). The projects or work assigned should be more progressively more challenging and should involve more increased responsibility in alignment with the company's observation of the student's ability to assume that responsibility.

The academic component of Engineering Co-op II with SWS concurrently engages the student in academic material with an increasing level of difficulty during the second workplace rotation, and prepares the student for the professional knowledge and skills related to engineering technical communications, particularly technical proposals.  During this semester, students are immersed in more challenging experiential learning in an industrial/professional environment, in addition to online academic instruction with supplemental writing skills (SWS), specifically developed to meet the needs of engineering professionals. The writing intensive academic content associated with the second SWS co-op semester focuses explicitly on developing written communication in the context of engineering technical communications, preparing students to communicate professionally and effectively in an engineering workplace.

The academic component of the Engineering Co-op II SWS course is centered on a series of writing exercises, including peer-review and iterative revision. Writing assignments include professional journal entries in response to four written prompts; an engineering pre-proposal memo and two drafts of a final formal technical engineering proposal.  Ideally, the technical proposals will be based on projected engineering projects with feasible, supervisor approved workplace implementation.  In addition to the supplemental writing skills component of the course, which involves technical proposal development, two learning modules will be required with examples and discussion on various types of written technical communication. Each module will conclude with an online quiz to assess student understanding and retention.

EGR 490 (Co-op III)

This is the last co-op semester for the student, which coincides with the beginning of the student's senior year. Increased levels of responsibility should be expected and the student should be working at a level that is commensurate of a junior engineer by the end of the term.

During this semester, the student has academic requirements that include keeping a work journal detailing the student's reflections of workplace experiences (keeping in mind some items are confidential or proprietary to an organization and therefore should not be described in detail in the journal).  The curriculum also includes reading assignments, academic modules/quizzes related to engineering ethics, project management, and engineering economics, report writing based upon required reading assignments, writing a co-op experience summary, and completing an end-of-semester evaluation of the co-op experience that semester.

Overall

An individual educational assignment plan is developed with each co-op student to match the corporate and departmental needs with the developing needs and capabilities of the student. Typically, a new co-op will start with a Level I (EGR 290) assignment to learn some of the basics about the company’s processes, materials, products and services. Level II (EGR 390) assignments will follow to expose the co-op to a variety of relevant areas where they can apply their developing technical skills. Level III (EGR 490) assignments will typically build upon the previous experiences as the co-op is completing their academic degree. Assignments that will expose the co-op to a variety of products, functions and locations, each with a steep learning curve, are some of the key goals.


EGR Student Co-op Experiences

For examples of typical co-op experiences, refer to the GVSU Experience Matters website. This site documents student experiences on internship and co-ops throughout the university. Simply identify the major you would like to review experiences for and the site will provide a variety of engineering examples (Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, or Product Design & Manufacturing Engineering).


List of Co-op Employers

For a complete list of current and potential co-op employers that GVSU works with, please contact:           

Chris Babbitt
Assistant Director
Phone: (616) 331-6708 
Email: babbitc1@gvsu.edu



Page last modified October 23, 2017