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Your Co-op Experience

Drexel's innovative model of learning combines world-class academics with real-world experience, providing our Dragons the opportunity to see first-hand how the knowledge they gain in the classroom is being used every day in the field. Our renowned cooperative education program — also known as co-op — allows students to take this even further by integrating up to three six-month, full-time professional work experiences into their academic schedule. Each co-op included in your schedule provides new opportunities to not only explore potential career paths and build a larger professional network, but to also gain additional experience and build a more impressive résumé before you graduate.

For over 100 years, our co-op program has been preparing students to excel, and we offer a variety of academic calendars that allow students to participate in up to three different co-op experiences:

Three Co-op Option (Five Years)

Available to most majors and programs, this option includes three individual six-month co-op experiences beginning in the start of a student's sophomore year, providing an additional 12 months of professional work experience.

One Co-op Option (Four Years)

Students who choose the One Co-op Option will begin a single six-month employment experience in their junior year over the fall/winter or spring/summer terms.

Three Co-op Option
(Five Years)

Chart depicting quarter schedule for five-year, three co-op option.

One Co-op Option
(Four Years)

Chart depicting quarter schedule for four-year, one co-op option.

Co-op Cycle Key

  • On-campus study
  • Co-op experience
  • Vacation

We encourage our Dragons to include as many co-ops as possible within their academic plan. By maximizing the number of your co-op opportunities, you will further expand the scope of your education and become a more valuable asset to potential employers. If you elect our Five-Year Program, you can integrate two additional co-op experiences into your academic calendar — for the exact same tuition price as our Four-Year Program. Even better, as a majority of co-op positions are full-time and over 75% positions are paid, with an a gross median six-month salary of over $19,000, you'll have the chance to graduate with more money in your pocket when you officially enter the professional world!

Drexel also offers a No Co-op Option that is available to limited programs and majors.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cooperative Education

How can a student change their co-op plan?

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 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.

Do students pay tuition when on co-op?

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.

Do employers value a student with three co-op experiences more than a student with one co-op experience?

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.

What do students do if they cannot find a co-op?

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.

How do students manage housing when on co-op?

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.

How many students do co-op abroad?

Each year, roughly 200+ students go out to almost 50 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.

Do students have to co-op at a job related to their major?

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.

How many hours a week are typical?

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.

How does co-op work for undecided students?

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.

What kind of jobs do students have while on co-op?

Students can co-op with 1,650 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.

Virtual Co-op Day 2021

Check out a recording of this year's Virtual Co-op Day presentation to get an up-close look at our signature co-op program.

Select 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:

  • Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
  • Amazon
  • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Comcast Corporation
  • Drexel University
  • Estee Lauder/Northtec
  • Exelon Corporation
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Google
  • Independence Blue Cross
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Lockheed Martin
  • PJM Interconnection LLC
  • SAP America
  • Susquehanna Int'l Group LLP
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • The Vanguard Group