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Cooperative Education for Students

Cooperative Education gives students an opportunity to try out career options prior to graduation. Students gain valuable career-related experience while earning academic credit and money. After graduation, students usually find that their Co-op position makes them more attractive to prospective employers. In addition, they often receive higher salary offers than students without Co-op experience.


To be eligible for a Co-op position, students must have completed a minimum of 60 credits and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0. Co-op opportunities can last for a semester, a summer, or six months and can be part time or full time. In recent years, students have worked at ESPN, Unilever, IBM, Yale New Haven Hospital, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, and the New Haven Museum, just to name a few.


Students earn a salary from the cooperative education employer and are awarded from one to 12 credits by the university upon successful completion of the employment period. These credits are applied to the student's academic program as free electives. The office of Career and Professional Development works with employers to identify Co-op positions that students can apply for utilizing JOBSs (Job Opportunities Benefitting Southern students). The final decision to hire a student is made by the employer. Students can also discuss with the staff any jobs they have pursued on their own to determine if the position qualifies as a Co-op.


The Cooperative Education work experience is a valuable tool in career decision-making. Meet Marcus Patton, Emmy Award-winning Editor for Domestic Production at ESPN. "The Co-op with the Cheshire Housing Authority showed me my career. If I hadn't done that, I wouldn't be an editor." Patton now prepares video highlights for ESPN, but it was the housing authority that really showed Patton how to edit. "When my supervisors saw how much I enjoyed it, they focused the rest of my co-op on editing."