Empowering New Leaders for a New Workforce

Woman using a laptop

Halima Olapade (Class of 2016 – College of Computing & Informatics) fully utilized all of the Steinbright Career Development Center resources at her disposal, taking her on a journey across the U.S. and to Germany. Her dedication and hard work was rewarded with a job offer from Google.
Dragon statue at dusk

Jenna Bechard (College of Engineering) discusses the value and variety of services at the Steinbright Career Development Center which prepare students for their job search before entering the workforce.
Philadelphia skyline with 'Drexel University' painted on a rail bridge in the foreground.

Shane Nelson (Class of 2017 – College of Arts and Sciences) speaks about his cooperative education experience, including Co-op 101 and working alongside industry professionals, and how it has prepared him to excel.

A Program Built to Yield Results

Co-op presents a chance to learn from a mentor, travel the world, or pursue a passion. This experiential approach to education nurtures driven graduates who are ready to make a real, dramatic impact in their field from day one — and their accomplishments are recognized and valued by all those around them. In fact, nearly half of all Drexel graduates receive a job offer from a company where they went on co-op, according to surveys of exiting seniors.

94.5%
Drexel undergraduate students enrolled in the co-op program.
88%
Co-op students that found their experience relevant to their career objectives.
44.9%

of co-op participants working full-time had received a job offer from a former co-op employer.

$19,000

The gross median six-month salary for a paid co-op experience. The majority of co-op positions are full-time and over 76% of positions are paid. For more detailed information, visit the Steinbright Career Development Center's Salary Guide webpage.

*Data from academic year 2020-2021 co-op data

Frequently Asked Questions about Cooperative Education

Students can change between the Three Co-op (five years) and One Co-op (four years) Option until their second year at the University. Before starting classes, admitted students can email Undergraduate Admissions at enroll@drexel.edu to inquire about a co-op change. Once enrolled, students should contact their academic advisor to change their co-op plan. To learn more about the co-op plans available for specific majors, please visit Drexel's Course Catalog.

Students remain enrolled at the University as full-time students during their co-op terms, but they are not paying tuition during their co-op cycle. This means that whether students choose the four-year or five-year co-op curriculum, the tuition is the same.
Just like in any other job search, employers value students with more experience. Additionally, the Three Co-op (five years) Option gives students flexibility to try out a variety of different employer types, jobs, and professional opportunities to determine what the right fit career path is for them. Ultimately, it is up to the student to decide the type of experience they want and which co-op option best aligns with their goals.
Students are supported by their co-op advisor throughout their entire search process. Although not common, some students may not find a co-op by the start of the term. If a student does not secure a position by the start of the term, they will enroll in a Strategic Career Planning and Development course while continuing to apply for co-op positions. Students will work closely with Steinbright staff to continue their job search and build on their professional skills, including networking and interviewing, along with their resume and cover letter.
If a student chooses a co-op in the Philadelphia area, they can continue to live on campus in the residence halls or in Drexel-affiliated housing while they are working. If a student chooses to co-op farther away, students primarily are responsible for securing their own housing and transportation for co-op. Some co-op employer partners may provide housing as a part of the job. Other co-op employer partners may provide guidance to help find temporary housing close to their location. Students also can live with family or friends while on co-op if they have personal connections in the area.
Each year, roughly 100+ students go out to almost 30 countries around the world for co-op. International co-op is an exciting opportunity available for all students who are interested. If you have questions about international co-op, visit Steinbright Career Development Center's International Co-op FAQs.
Drexel does not require that students apply to co-op positions that are related to their major. Students can choose to co-op with employers that are unrelated to pursue a passion, work at a company that they believe in, explore a new area of study, or for a variety of other reasons. While it is not a requirement, most Drexel students will accept co-op positions connected to their major because it aligns with their interests and career goals.
Most Drexel students will work a similar schedule to their full-time counterparts at their employer. For most students, that means a full-time, 40-hour per week position. Students who accept unpaid co-ops typically work approximately 20 hours per week in their position so that they have time for an additional part-time job to supplement their income.
Students who are undecided on their major are eligible to participate in co-op. In addition to exploring majors in the classroom, co-op provides students with the opportunity to learn how different careers relate to their academics. This is another learning experience to help students identify their passions and choose an area of study that aligns with their goals after graduation. Some students also change their major after a co-op experience. Our First-Year Career Counseling team is here to guide and support undecided students as they explore their options and ensure they remain on track to meet their goals.
Students can co-op with 1,748 business, industrial, governmental, research, and non-profit co-op employer partners. To learn more about opportunities for specific a college or school, please visit Steinbright's Co-op Fast Facts by College.

Alumni Testimonials

Kieran Billmann's co-op with Penn State Applied Research Labs set him on a path to his current career with the U.S. Navy at the Naval Air Warfare Center in New Jersey.

"The co-op program was amazing. You can tell they've been doing it for 100 years because it's very well-orchestrated and very well done. Everyone was there to help you. Everyone gave me tidbits of information for how to do better interviewing. So, when it actually came time to get a real job, I felt pretty comfortable with interviews because I had already had so many."

Kieran Billmann '11 and '15,
College of Engineering
Penn State Applied Research Labs


While on co-op with Philadelphia-based startup Lia Diagnostics, Riley Stanford created a patent-pending film for the firm's flushable pregnancy test, which is close to commercialization.

"It's definitely a project I'm proud to be involved with. What they are doing is good for the environment and good for women, and both are things that I care passionately about. The Drexel co-op system ultimately gave me the chance to see everything through and effect change for the company."

Riley Stanford '19,
College of Arts and Sciences
Lia Diagnostics


Brian Lofink is one of Philadelphia's most high-profile chefs and he says it likely wouldn't have happened without the opportunity to co-op for acclaimed chef and five-star restaurateur Georges Perrier of Le Bec Fin fame.

"Without working in that specific co-op, I'm not sure I would have lasted this long in the restaurant industry. It was such an intense period — immersive learning — that it set up my whole career. It catapulted me ahead of my peers because, by the time I left, I was 24 years old and had worked in one of the best restaurants in the city with one of the best chefs in the world."

Brian Lofink '03,
Food & Hospitality
Brasserie Perrier