School of Engineering

Co-op Students

How to Become a Co-op

Step 1: Apply for Secondary Admission to the School of Engineering
Application for Secondary Admission

Prior to participating in the co-op program, students must first apply for secondary admission to the GVSU School of Engineering. The secondary admission process consists of completing an application form, which includes a review of academic background and past involvement in work experiences and other activities. The application also requires the student to write an essay regarding "why engineering is the profession for you." Another part of the application package is review forms from employers regarding performance in practice employment interviews.

A student must have an overall grade point average of 2.70 or above and a 'C' or better in all foundation courses in order to gain secondary admission to the School of Engineering.

Engineering Co-op Prep (EGR289)
The application process, including preparing for and participating in employer practice interviews, is coordinated through the Engineering Co-op Prep course (EGR289). EGR 289 introduces potential engineering cooperative education students to the industrial environment and the basic principles of leadership. This course helps students develop a better self-understanding through self-assessment and career development theory and prepares students for the co-op interview process. There are a series of interviews that students go through to build their confidence in interviewing. There is a simulated interview with the EGR 289 instructor and a few practice interviews with actual companies.

IMPORTANT: Students need to plan to take EGR289 the fall semester prior to the summer targeted for the first co-op semester.

Practice Interviews

Practice interviews are conducted by industry volunteers and are a required part of EGR 289. Each student completes a resume and at least one simulated interview with the EGR 289 instructor before having an industry interview. The instructor and companies critique the students on how well they interview. This gives the student a chance to see where they need to improve on for real interviews. The Career Services staff provides the interviewer with a form for each student. These forms are kept in the student's co-op file and made available to the faculty in the secondary admission process. The student will gain confidence with interviewing through the practice interview process.


Step 2: Secure a Co-op Position

Once a student is admitted into the school of engineering, the co-op company search begins. The co-op company search coordinator, Tom Demmon, assists students in finding a co-op site, but the student is ultimately responsible for securing the co-op position. The student must make the effort and take initiative to search for and find a co-op position. A student is required to secure a co-op position prior to being granted full secondary admission status, which allows the student to take upper division (junior and senior-level) courses.


Step 3: Confirm the Co-op Position with GVSU

Co-op Confirmation Form
Once a student secures a co-op position, a co-op confirmation form must be filled out prior to beginning each co-op semester. The co-op confirmation form can be found by clicking here.
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Foundation Courses

The following courses must be completed with a satisfactory grade ('C' or better) prior to gaining secondary admission to the School of Engineering, and beginning the first co-op semester.
 
MTH 201 Calculus I
MTH 202 Calculus II
MTH 203 Calculus III
MTH 302 Linear Algebra & Differential Equations
EGR 101 Introduction to CAD/CAM
EGR 103 Engineering Measurements & Analysis
CHM 115 Chemistry I
WRT 150 Strategies in Writing
PHY 230 Physics I
PHY 231 Physics II
PHY 234 Engineering Physics
CS/EGR 261 Structured Programming in C
EGR 209 Statics and Solid Mechanics (All Except Computer)
EGR 226 Introduction to Digital Systems
EGR 214 Circuit Analysis I
STA 313 Probability & Statistics (Electrical & Computer)
STA 314 Probability & Statistics (Mechanical & Product Design & Manufacturing)
EGR 250 Material Science (Mechanical & Product Design & Manufacturing)
EGR 255 Material Science (Electrical)
CS 162 Computer Science I (Computer)
CS 262 Computer Science II (Computer)



Co-op Course Requirements

During each co-op semester, the student must be signed up for the corresponding co-op course. The following descriptions contain the general co-op program description and requirements for each course.

IMPORTANT: Students should consult the Blackboard site for specific requirements and due dates for each semester of co-op.


EGR 290 (Co-op I)

Bring the student into the engineering staff of a company. The student learns how a company is structured, how engineering fits at the company, and how things get done in the "real world". Typical tasks include: entering engineering changes into prints (to learn the product line), working on the floor (to learn how a product is produced), short term design project (to gain experience in getting things done in a plant).

The student has academic requirements that include keeping a work journal detailing the student's experiences (keeping in mind some items are confidential or proprietary to an organization and therefore should not be described in detail in the journal), reading assignments, writing a report based on the reading assignments, writing a summary of the co-op experience, and completing an end-of-semester evaluation of the co-op experience that semester. The student also has a meeting to attend during the semester that involves all students participating in co-op that semester. An ethics case study is reviewed and discussed as part of that meeting.


EGR 390 (Co-op II)

By now the student has a semester of co-op completed and has worked with engineers at a company. The student has also taken a semester full of courses related to the major emphasis (Mechanical, Electrical, Computer, Product Design & Manufacturing). The projects or work assigned should be more challenging and should involve more responsibility in measure with the company's observation of the student's ability to assume that responsibility.

The student has academic requirements that include keeping a work journal detailing the student's experiences (keeping in mind some items are confidential or proprietary to an organization and therefore should not be described in detail in the journal), reading assignments, writing a report based on the reading assignments, writing a summary of the co-op experience, and completing an end-of-semester evaluation of the co-op experience that semester. The student also has a meeting to attend during the semester that involves all students participating in co-op that semester. An ethics case study is reviewed and discussed as part of that meeting.


EGR 490 (Co-op III)

This is the last co-op term and begins the student's senior year. Levels of responsibility should increase and the student should be working at the level of any other junior engineer in a company by the end of the term.

The student has academic requirements that include keeping a work journal detailing the student's experiences (keeping in mind some items are confidential or proprietary to an organization and therefore should not be described in detail in the journal), reading assignments, writing a report based on the reading assignments, writing a summary of the co-op experience, and completing an end-of-semester evaluation of the co-op experience that semester. The student also has a meeting to attend during the semester that involves all students participating in co-op that semester. An ethics case study is reviewed and discussed as part of that meeting.


Overall

An individual assignment plan is developed with each co-op to match the needs of the company and the individual department with the developing needs and capabilities of the co-op. Typically a new co-op will start with a Level 1 (EGR 290) assignment to learn some of the basics about the company’s processes, materials, products and services. Level 2 (EGR 390) assignments will follow to expose the co-op to a variety of relevant areas where they can apply their developing technical skills. Level 3 (EGR 490) assignments will typically build upon the previous experiences as the co-op is completing their academic degree. Assignments that will expose the co-op to a variety of products, functions and locations, each with a steep learning curve, are some of the key goals.


Example Student Experiences

For examples of what students experience on each of the three co-op semesters, refer to the Experience Matters website. This site documents student experiences on internship and co-ops from throughout the university. Simply identify the major you would like to review experiences for (Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, or Product Design & Manufacturing Engineering).



Example Co-op Employers

For a complete list of current and potential co-op employers that GVSU works with, please contact:

Tom Demmon
Associate Director - Career Services
(616) 331-6708  demmont@gvsu.edu
 

Page last modified March 14, 2014