Real-World Experience: Career Services & Cooperative Education
An integral experience for all Saunders College students is the opportunity for real-world work experience before leaving the classroom. Cooperative Education, or co-op, provides the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience before you graduate, helps you further define your career path, and fully realize the value of what you are learning in the classroom. Rochester Institute of Technology has one of the oldest and largest cooperative education programs in the U.S.
Cooperative education is a unique kind of education. It is different from summer employment and different from an internship. Co-op employment is full-time, paid, productive work experience related to your field of study. It is full-time status equivalent, meaning you will maintain your student status. While you are on co-op you will maintain your full-time student status, and are not required to pay tuition. Your co-op responsibilities will increases in complexity and challenge according to your academic level. .
Whether in Rochester or across the country, Saunders students have countless co-op opportunities. Check out our Co-op Student Spotlights to see what Saunders students have been up to, the type of companies that hire co-op students, and learn how their experiences have shaped their careers paths. Or view our list of student co-op position placements since 2014.
Applied-Learning at Saunders
Cooperative education at Saunders College of Business is full-time, paid employment directly related to your field of study. In most cases, co-op begins after you have completed the first two years of coursework in your academic program. To fulfill your requirement, co-op students must complete the criteria outlined below:
a. One semester (fall, spring or summer term) of full-time employment (35-to-40 hours a week); OR
b. Two semesters of part-time employment (15-to-30 hours)
Students need to have been enrolled in Saunders College for more than one semester, and need to have at least one academic Semester remaining (12 credit hours) upon their return from co-op. You can work with your Academic Advisor and Career Services Advisors to determine what timeline is best for you and your program of study.
The Career Services Office sponsors and promotes two prominent University-wide Career Fairs every fall and spring term, in the Gordon Field House. The career fairs typically draw over 250 companies that are actively recruiting for students to fill co-op and full-time openings. More than 4,000 students and alumni attend each fair. Companies that participate range from small tech firms to Fortune 500 companies. There is something for everyone. In addition, we offer smaller tailored events for Saunders students such as the Accounting Career fair in the fall and a Saunders Networking Event in the Spring.
Career & Co-op Resources for Students
- Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
- Career Services and Resources for Students
- Program and Salary Info, by program
- About Cooperative Education
- Career Services Events and Announcements
- Career Fairs
- Career Resources for Women
- Web-Based Tools and Recommended Online Resources
- Alumni Services Overview
- Work-related Information for International Students