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Engineering Co-op Program

Lehigh University’s Co-Op Program is a selective honors program for sophomore students in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science that integrates academic study with approximately 8 months of full-time, professional experience. Co-Op has been a central component of our engineering curriculum for over 25 years, with the concept of cooperative education first conceived here at Lehigh by Professor Herman Schneider in the early 20th century.

Co-Op students acquire in-depth, resume-enhancing industry experience while participating employers gain vital contributions from high-achieving young professionals and prospective employees.

***An Engineering Co-Op Information Session is scheduled in November for interested students.  Please check your Handshake account for more details.  

 

Who Can Participate

Engineering students who have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher after their first three semesters are eligible to participate. This GPA requirement is a unique feature of Lehigh’s Co-Op program that is in place due to the high quality, technically challenging nature of our Co-Op opportunities as well as the rigorous academic schedule that Co-Op students must follow. Students from the following engineering disciplines are eligible:

Bioengineering Electrical Engineering
Civil Engineering Environmental Engineering
Chemical Engineering Industrial Engineering
Computer Engineering Information & Systems Engineering
Computer Science/Engineering Material Science & Engineering
Computer Science and Business Mechanical Engineering

 

How the Process Works

Official letters of invitation are sent to eligible students during the winter break between the fall and spring semesters of their sophomore year. Students proceed to apply and interview for positions throughout the spring semester, and offers are typically extended by April 1st. Those who successfully secure opportunities then follow the timeline below:

 

Fall

Spring

Summer

Sophomore

Lehigh

Lehigh

Lehigh

Junior

1st work rotation

Lehigh

2nd work rotation

Senior

Lehigh

Lehigh

Available for full time conversion

 

Why Co-Op: Student Perspective

Co-Op students gain valuable, in-depth industry experience while still graduating in four years. This experience helps to clarify their career interests, build their network of industry contacts, and bridge the gap between classroom concepts and real world practice. In addition to gaining essential skills and knowledge, Co-Op students earn competitive salaries and six free-elective credits for this experience. Research also shows that Co-Op heightens students’ confidence in their ability to succeed in the engineering industry, especially among members of underrepresented groups such as women and students of color.

Upon graduation, Co-Op participation enhances students’ resumes and increases their marketability to employers. A national study conducted by the National Commission for Cooperative Education exemplifies this point, finding that approximately 95 percent of Co-Op students have successfully secured a job by the time they graduate. Some studies also suggest that Co-Op students generally earn higher starting salaries than those who are non Co-Op. At Lehigh specifically, many Co-Op students are converted into full-time employees with their Co-Op employer while others are able to successfully leverage their Co-Op experience for offers from other companies. Clearly, the Co-Op program is one of the best ways for students to prepare for life after Lehigh! 

 

Co-Op Student Testimonials

"Working at Sanofi Pasteur introduced me to a new way of life that I had never experienced before. Until this Co-op, my life was bubbled within the world of academia and a consistent structure of attending classes, studying, and taking exams. At Sanofi Pasteur, I experienced real world problems." Co-op Student, Sanofi Pasteur

"The most rewarding aspect of this Co-Op thus far is a feeling of investment and responsibility in my work." Co-op student, Sanofi Pasteur

"I really feel that, rather than learning completely new skills in this rotation, I reinforced skills I began developing in the fall.  In some cases this meant feeling more comfortable working with or on the machines I used every day. In other cases, it meant gaining enough knowledge to more confidently provide ideas and suggestions to help move my project along.  I developed more focused experiments and understood their results more thoroughly." Co-op student, Crayola

 

Why Co-Op: Employer Perspective

Employers who hire Lehigh Co-Op students not only gain ambitious and creative talent in the short term but also have the opportunity to observe and develop prospective employees. The students who participate in Co-Op have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or above and engaged in rigorous academics focused on experiential learning, making them well prepared to bridge skill areas and provide vital contributions to companies. In addition to gaining fresh perspectives and energy, Co-Op provides employers with a pool of talented young professionals who are available for full-time conversion after only four years of study – an entire year earlier than Co-Op students at most other institutions. This is an extremely cost-effective strategy for workforce development. Employers also find Co-Op to be a personally rewarding experience that allows them to participate in the educational process, contribute to students’ professional development, and form a strong partnership with Lehigh University.

 

A Snapshot of Employers Who Have Participated in the Co-op Program:

Air Products St. Luke's University Health Network
Crayola Colgate-Palmolive
ExxonMobil Amtrak
Sanofi Pasteur General Electric
Ingersoll Rand Mack Trucks
Intel B.Braun
KCI Technologies Essroc Italcementi Group
Lutron Electronics RPA Engineering

 

For more information, please contact Katharine Marianacci at krm617@lehigh.edu or (610) 758-3710.