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How University Co-ops Work

Ever wonder how a co-op works? Under Drexel's academic plan of study, students attend classes full-time freshman year. Then, depending on their academic program and co-op option, they alternate six-month periods of full-time study with full-time employment at University-approved employers. 

Co-op Cycles

Drexel's academic calendar is based on a quarter system, and a student's co-op cycle determines which quarters they will go on co-op. For example, students with a fall/winter co-op cycle will work full-time during the fall and winter quarters, while a student with a spring/summer co-op cycle will work full-time during the spring and summer quarters. Co-op cycles are typically assigned during freshman year.

The number of co-ops required for graduation is determined by the student's curriculum.

  • Three Co-op Option (Five Years) – This option includes three six-month periods of meaningful employment. At the start of sophomore year, students begin co-op during either the fall/winter or spring/summer terms and continue their studies when not on co-op.
  • One Co-op Option (Four Years) – At the start of sophomore year, students study through all terms, including summers. The single six-month period of meaningful employment occurs during the junior year over fall/winter or spring/summer terms. 
  • No Co-op Option (Four Years) – Some programs can be completed in four years without co-op employment. Students are not required to pursue studies during any of the summer terms.

To see which co-op options are available for your program, view Drexel's Undergraduate Majors.

Co-op Preparation and Career Services

From Co-op to Career

At Drexel, your preparation for a college co-op begins in your first year. In order to ensure students are on the path to achieving their education and future-career goals, Steinbright helps bridge the gap from education to employment. Armed with the knowledge and confidence you've accrued in the classroom and the tools and expertise of the Steinbright Career Development Center, you will be prepared to take your first step into the world of full-time employment.

  • First Year Career Counseling – First-Year Career Counseling seeks to engage students in professional development from the very beginning of their collegiate career in order to better prepare them for all professional opportunities they will encounter during their time at Drexel.
  • COOP 101 – All students participating in Drexel Co-op must take COOP 101, a class specifically designed to introduce students to the co-op process and prepare them for a professional environment through résumé building, job search strategies, interview skills, and professional communication.
  • Co-op Advisors – Co-op advisors provide one-on-one guidance and coaching throughout your co-op experiences. They can also administer career assessments to help focus your path.
  • Career Development Workshops – Steinbright has job search workshops, mock interviews, résumé review, and more for students throughout the year. These workshops help develop skills including, but not limited to: résumé writing, interviewing, networking, career fair preperation, and salary negotiation.
  • Beyond Co-op – After you have your co-op, Steinbright also has resources to help you secure your first post-graduation job. Steinbright helps connect students to its employer network with opportunities such as Career Fairs and Handshake, our online job database.

For more information, visit the Steinbright Career Development Center.

Co-op Locations

Co-op employers are located in 22 states (plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico) and 45 countries. Many organizations eagerly embrace and nurture the fresh perspectives, drive, and dedication that are typical of a Drexel student. This chart provides the location distribution of last year's students.

Geographic Distribution of Co-op Employment Number of Students
Pennsylvania 4,266
New Jersey 495
New York 220
Massachusetts 21
Maryland 50
California 88
Delaware 100
Other states 107
Other countries (such as Brazil, China, Greece, Ireland, India, and Japan) 181

Drexel International Co-op

Working internationally is a unique experience for students to expand their horizons. International co-op provides students with employment opportunities around the world that will propel them to new heights as a professional. Not only does an international experience set a student's résumé apart, but the cultural perspective and knowledge that the students are able to gain is a highly sought-after commodity for employers in today's global economy.

Learn more about International Co-op.

Drexel Co-op Nearby

The Greater Philadelphia region is a nexus of businesses virtually unmatched in scope, scale, and specialty. Some of the nation's top biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms, hospitals and healthcare centers, Fortune 500 companies, and individually owned start-ups call Philadelphia home.

Co-op Employers

Drexel students co-op at some of the world's most prestigious organizations. Take a look at a selection of Drexel's co-op employers:

Select Co-op Employers
Academy of Natural Sciences
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Comcast Corporation
Drexel University
Exelon Corporation
Goldman, Sachs, & Co.
Independence Blue Cross
Johnson & Johnson
Lockheed Martin
PJM Interconnection LLC
SAP America
Susquehanna International Group LLC
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
TJX Companies Inc.
University of Pennsylvania

Halima: From Co-op to Career

Halima Olapade's dedication to making the most of her cooperative education experiences was rewarded with a job offer from Google.