Co-op Education

Grand Valley State University has one of the strongest mandatory engineering cooperative education (co-op) programs in the nation.  A three semester enrollment in the cooperative education program is a required component of the B.S.E. program at GVSU. 

The cooperative education program is a partnership between the university, student, and an engineering employer, resulting in an experiential learning work experience that is integrated into the student’s degree program. GVSU’s focus on world-class undergraduate engineering education makes  the co-op program a natural fit for reinforcing the concepts, knowledge, and skills in an applied work setting, resulting in tangible benefits to the student, the employer and the university.

The cooperative education program is a valuable complement to the engineering educational experience at GVSU, resulting in several outcomes/benefits:


For Students

    * the ability to ‘try out’ a work-related role within an organization, while exploring interests and better clarifying career options;
    * the knowledge, skill, and professional development necessary for an engineering or other related professional position;
    * a resume builder, including one full year of engineering work experience;
    * a potential career opportunity with an employer after graduation;
    * networking opportunities through day-to-day contact with workplace professionals; and
    * income – all positions are paid, and student frequently cover the cost of the final two years of the engineering degree program through co-op earnings.

For Employers

    * a source for a talented, diverse workforce;
    * an essential resource for generation of new concepts and fresh ideas;
    * a focused resource for projects and productive work; and
    * a rich source of technical talent for the future.


Cooperative engineering education in industry begins during the spring/summer semester, following admission to major standing in the B.S.E. program. Students alternate periods of cooperative education with alternating periods of academic study for the next 28 months. The cooperative education cycle provides the student with 1,500 to 2,000 hours of work experience, with a minimum expectation of 500 hours per co-op semester.  Each co-op semester is designed to provide progressively challenging engineering opportunities that culminate in a final project that is commensurate of that assigned to a full-time, entry-level engineer.

Placement of students in cooperative education is made through the Career Services Office. Students interested in a spring/summer co-op placement must enroll in EGR 289 during the preceding fall semester.  Grand Valley will make a strong effort to assist all students, who are admitted to the major standing, with the opportunity for a number of interview invitations for cooperative education positions, with various potential employers. The student, however, bears the ultimate responsibility for securing employment that is alignment with professional goals.  Students who are not offered employment through the prescribed cooperative education placement process, do not obtain positive evaluations during their cooperative educational experiences, or do not maintain satisfactory progress toward the B.S.E. degree cannot meet the graduation requirements of the program and must withdraw from the B.S.E. program. These students have numerous other options to complete a bachelor's degree in one of Grand Valley's other programs.


GVSU’s engineering co-op program is recognized by employers, students and faculty as a hallmark of the B.S.E program and gives meaning to the slogan – Engineering Education that Works!


Engineering Co-op Students and Employers:

Please contact the Career Services office with questions regarding co-op recruitment or securing co-op employment.
Visit the Career Services website for co-op forms.

Chris Babbitt
Assistant Director
Phone: (616) 331-6708 
Email: [email protected]


Engineering Co-op Students and Employers:

Please contact the School of Engineering with all other inquires related to the co-op program.

Diane LaFreniere
James R. Sebastian Chair of Cooperative Education
Phone: (616) 331-6001
Email: [email protected]

Page last modified March 8, 2021