The Steinbright Career Development Center
The Steinbright Career Development Center (SCDC) serves all students and recent alumni through cooperative education and career services offerings. This is an introduction to those programs, and includes a list of specific policies. For information about previous co-op experiences, or to access career guides for specific majors, visit the Steinbright Center's Co-Op Career Guide page.
I. Drexel Undergraduate Co-op
Drexel University uses experiential learning or cooperative education (co-op) as the principal approach to career development.
Cooperative education at Drexel enables full-time undergraduate students to alternate periods of classroom theory with professional experience prior to graduation. Participation in co-op is available in most academic programs. Successful completion of the cooperative education experience is a graduation requirement for students enrolled in a co-op degree program. Students have the opportunity to gain 6 to 18 months of career-related work experience integrated with their coursework. Cooperative education helps students explore and confirm their career choices by assisting students in several areas of career development, including self-assessment and career exploration. Through co-op students develop confidence, professionalism and a sense of purpose. Students are expected to take advantage of every possible opportunity to observe different aspects of the workplace and to gain experience.
All co-op students are assigned a co-op cycle (fall/winter, spring/summer or summer only) as well as a coordinator to assist them with their co-op experience and job search. Available job openings are advertised in SCDConline, Drexel's web-based job search tool and students participate in the interview process according to their designated cycle.
Coordinators work closely with employers, assisting them in developing opportunities for co-op students, and they act as a point of contact for the students while on co-op. Upon completing a co-op experience, students meet with their coordinators to discuss the work experience, submit their co-op job evaluation, and determine a strategy for future experiences. Co-op experiences are credit bearing, pass/fail components of student academic plans.
Steinbright makes every effort to find sufficient numbers of co-op employment positions for students, but the University cannot make any guarantee of a co-op assignment. The co-op process is competitive, and a student’s academic performance, skills, motivation, maturity, attitude, and potential will determine whether or not a student is offered an assignment. If a student experiences difficulty in securing a co-op position, Steinbright will assist the student in a continuing job search. Failure to obtain a co-op assignment does not entitle any student to a change of academic status, a change of co-op cycle, a refund, or an adjustment of tuition and fee charges.
A. Co-op Schedule Options
|Co-Op Schedule Key|
|Class = On-campus Study|
|Co-op = Cooperative Education Experience|
Four-year non-co-op program
Four-year program with co-op: fall/winter cycle*
Four-year program with co-op: summer only cycle
Five-year program with co-op: Fall/winter cycle*
Students are randomly assigned to either the fall/winter (shown above) or spring/summer (not shown) co-op cycle, unless restricted by academic program.
B. Co-op Cycle Assignments and Policies
Students should note that all policies are subject to change. For the most current versions of all policies, please go to the Steinbright website: www.drexel.edu/scdc.
Cycle Assignments and Adjustments
New students’ co-op cycles are set annually in the fall of their freshman year and students are notified of their cycle by mail and email. Exceptions are as follows:
- Westphal College cycles are determined by the academic departments in consultation with Steinbright and students are notified of their cycle assignments their sophomore year.
- Transfer students’ cycles are set upon review of transfer credits and are determined by Steinbright based on academic plans provided by advisors.
A co-op cycle, once assigned, will not change for the student’s entire academic career. New freshmen, during a specific time-frame, may be allowed to swap their cycles by means of an application process. Cycle swaps are not permitted past the application deadline.
Steinbright registers all students for the prescribed cycle and number of co-op terms, as required by the student's academic major, program, and concentration. However, some adjustments may be undertaken by the SCDC under certain circumstances, such as documented need for medical leave, documentation of deployment for active military service, and combined degree programs, such as the BS/MS program.
Concentration Change and General Billing Statement
Students choose their co-op concentration upon applying to the University. The concentrations are 5-year with 3 co-op cycles (5COP), 4-year with one co-op cycle (4COP), and 4-year with no co-op cycle (NCOP). Currently, students are permitted to change their co-op concentration at any time; however, changes can have billing and financial aid implications. Changes can only be applied as follows:
- Change requests made at the start of the term, up until the end of the second week of the term, can be made effective immediately (i.e., if requesting a change the first week of the spring term, the concentration change is effective that spring term). Change requests after the second week of any term are made effective the following term (i.e., if requesting a change the third week of the spring term, the concentration change is effective the start of the summer term).
- Students changing into a 5COP program must be able to complete three co-op cycles as well as meet all co-op eligibility requirements.
- The process of changing concentration requires the completion of a Change of Curriculum and Status Form and often can be accompanied by a Change of Cycle Form. These forms must be submitted for signatures to the academic department, Steinbright, the International Students and Scholars Services office (for international students only) and Student Financial Services and Financial Aid offices. The change of concentration will not take effect until all signatures are gathered and submitted to the registrar for processing.
COOP 101 is a course designed to provide students with the skills necessary for career planning, the co-op job search and a successful workplace experience. It meets once a week for 10 weeks and is non-credit and pass/fail. Students in a co-op program are required to pass the class prior to beginning their first co-op experience. Those who fail COOP 101 must retake and pass the class in the next available term prior to participating in their first co-op. If a student fails COOP 101 twice, the student may be ineligible to participate in co-op. Not being able to participate in co-op can have significant financial aid and billing issues and may delay or prevent graduation.
Two-term Policy/Academic Progress
To be eligible for co-op, students must be full-time, making satisfactory academic progress and registered in a cooperative education concentration (5COP or 4COP). Students must also accumulate a minimum of 24 credits over the two terms prior to their scheduled co-op terms. Freshmen assigned to the fall/winter co-op cycle of their sophomore year are the exception since they are on vacation the summer prior to their first co-op. For those freshmen, their winter and spring credits will be reviewed instead.
Before and after each scheduled co-op experience, students must meet with their co-op coordinators to obtain authorization for their next job search. First time co-op students must attend a pre-registration meeting before their job search can begin; students returning from co-op must schedule an individual appointment with their co-op coordinator to review the results of their co-op evaluation, Employment Summary & Planner (ES&P), before they begin their next job search.
Failure to meet co-op eligibility will result in a significant change to the plan of study. The co-op cycle will be pushed out to a subsequent academic year and may impact graduation.
C. SCDConline Job Search
SCDConline is Drexel's proprietary, web-based job search tool which is available to eligible students approximately five months prior to the start of their co-op. It is one of the many resources that students can use during their job search.
Students are required to attend all interviews granted by employers, whether on or off campus. Sophomores in a five year co-op program with a fall/winter co-op cycle may need to be available during the summer of their freshman year to interview for co-op positions. Students who do not schedule an interview or neglect to attend all scheduled interviews will receive a career block (see section K). Students are not allowed to miss classes for co-op interviews so interviews should be scheduled accordingly.
Students utilizing the SCDConline system for their co-op job search will receive one of the following designations as a result of their interviews: Job Offer, Qualified Alternate, or No Employer Interest. Students will be able to accept job offers or rank qualified alternates at which time they may be paired with an employer.
If a student has been paired with an employer, the results are final and the student may not renege on that offer or accept other offers. Additionally, the student must discontinue searching for other jobs immediately.
At no time are students permitted to negotiate salary with an employer for an online position. Steinbright takes a strong stand on this policy.
Failure to observe any of the above listed policies may include consequences such as: co-op probation and/or denial of the use of Steinbright's services, including SCDConline. These measures can delay graduation and/or affect the student’s transcript.
D. Academic Dismissal
The University Registrar informs the SCDC of those students who have been dismissed from the University due to poor scholarship. Students who are dismissed from the University due to poor scholarship and are scheduled for co-op will not receive credit for co-op. Instead, the co-op registration will be removed from the student's academic record. Employers of co-op students who have been dropped for poor scholarship will be notified of the University’s action against the student and all co-op agreements will be considered terminated.
If a student is readmitted, a new academic plan from the academic advisor showing all cycles necessary to complete the co-op requirement is needed.
E. Registration of Co-op Placement
Co-op Must be Major-Related
All co-op positions must be related to a student’s major or concentration. Students who locate co-op positions independently must have their co-op coordinators review and approve the positions to ensure that they are major-related and take into account the long-term objectives of students.
Co-op Job Registration
If students obtain their job through the SCDConline pairing process, a Student Co-op Agreement and Registration form will be automatically generated. Students must electronically accept this form through DrexelOne before the start of their co-op position. If students obtain a job independently, they must turn in the following to receive credit:
A completed and signed Student Co-op Agreement and Registration form.
An offer letter on employer letterhead and job description including salary information, hours per week, and start/end dates.
A signed Employer Agreement form from the employer.
This paperwork must be submitted no later than the end of the second week of the term that co-op begins.
Paid vs. Unpaid Positions
Typically, co-op is a paid, full-time work experience. However, this sometimes varies based on industry, job market, or other special circumstances. Co-ops paid at minimum wage or higher are required to work full time (per the employer/industry standards). Co-ops that are unpaid or fall below the minimum wage are only required to work a minimum of twenty hours a week. Circumstances may arise that do not fall into either category listed above. If a situation warrants special consideration, students should contact their co-op coordinators.
Commitment of Time
Students must work the full 6-month cycle (or 3-month cycle for majors that apply) and must follow the employer’s work schedule. Students are not entitled to Drexel holidays and breaks. Special exceptions may apply to athletes or for military obligations. Students employed by Drexel University in co-op positions will be paid for holidays when the University is closed. When emergency situations arise causing students to be absent from their co-op jobs for an extended period of time, students must inform both their co-op employers and their co-op coordinators.
Co-op Employment is Not Guaranteed
Students who participate in the co-op program are not guaranteed a co-op position. Steinbright makes every effort to find sufficient opportunities for co-op experiences for students, but the University cannot make any guarantee of employment. The employment process is competitive and the student’s academic performance, skills, motivation, maturity, attitude, and employment potential will determine whether a student is offered a job. If a student experiences difficulty in securing a co-op, Steinbright will assist the student in a continuing job search. Steinbright requires a job search journal from students who are not placed by the beginning of the co-op term. The journal has specific requirements and due dates and it is the responsibility of the students to track their job search progress. If a job search journal is completed satisfactorily, students receive co-op credit for the applicable terms.
F. Classes While on Co-op
In an effort to better couple academics with students’ cooperative education experience, undergraduate students enrolled in a co-op program may register for a maximum of 6 credits (up to 4 credits without additional charge) during each term for which they are on a co-op assignment. Registration is subject to the approval of both the student's co-op coordinator and academic advisor. The co-op coordinator will ensure that the requested course does not interfere with the student's co-op assignment. In some cases, the co-op employer may be contacted.
G. Responsibilities of Students While on Co-op
Students are responsible for knowing the regulations that apply to them as co-op students. These regulations are documented in the Student Co-op Agreement which is signed by the student before each co-op period.
Even though students are on co-op, they are officially registered with the Office of Academic Records and Operations and maintain their connections with the University, with all the rights and responsibilities of students. Students are requested to use their designated drexel.edu email accounts to receive all university communications.
Students are required to adjust themselves completely to the daily routine of the organizations where they are employed and to adhere to the employer’s policies and procedures in addition to the University’s policies and procedures. If students encounter difficulties with their employer or the University while participating in the co-op program, they are to contact their coordinator immediately.
Salaries paid to co-op students are considered taxable income and should be reported as such.
Co-op students are subject to the same principles of personal conduct whether they are on the Drexel campus or working many miles away. Students are expected at all times to maintain behavioral standards that reflect favorably on themselves and on the University. While on co-op, students continue to be under the jurisdiction of the University. Any breach of conduct committed by a student on co-op that would be cause for disciplinary action were the student on campus shall also be cause for disciplinary action while the student is on co-op.
H. Co-op Probation
Students who refuse to honor a co-op pairing, are dismissed from a co-op job, engage in inappropriate behavior anytime during the co-op process, violate employer/University policy or resign from a co-op without prior approval from their coordinators may be placed on co-op probation. It is the responsibility of students to notify their co-op coordinators regarding any change in employment status. The terms of probation are decided at a probationary meeting attended by the student, the student’s co-op coordinator, and an assistant director. Co-op probation can include actions up to and including failure of co-op. Co-op probation that results in failure of co-op may necessitate a new academic plan. Steinbright reserves the right to remove students from co-op programs.
I. Layoff from Co-op
When students are dismissed from a job due to company downsizing or restructuring, they need to contact their co-op coordinators immediately. Students will not be penalized but will be required to work with their coordinators to locate another co-op position for the remaining time of their scheduled co-op cycle.
J. Co-op Evaluation Form (ES&P)
Students must finalize their co-op experiences during the last month of their co-op assignments by submitting their Student Employment Summary and Planner (ES&P) through the SCDConline system and attending a meeting with their coordinators when they return to campus at the end of co-op.
Failure to complete the ES&P will result in the following:
Credit for co-op not being reflected on the transcript (NCUs).
Lack of sufficient DCUs (co-op credits) may impact degree requirements for graduation.
Inability to view the SCDConline jobs and submit resume and apply to jobs for the next interview cycle.
K. Hold Policies
Steinbright may place a hold on a student’s account in cases where there is a failure to follow policy or procedures. This hold is called a career block and will prevent further use of the online system for co-op. It is the student’s responsibility to contact his/her coordinator and to take the appropriate steps to have the hold resolved in a timely manner.
If a student’s record reflects a hold from any other source (financial, health and immunization, academic, student conduct, or athletic), utilization of the SCDConline system will be prohibited. These holds must be resolved with the proper organization/department before access of the system can be restored.
Holds placed on students’ records that are not resolved before the start of the co-op term can result in loss of co-op credit. Additionally, this could impact the students’ ability to work since their employers are notified.
Transfer students must agree to complete the minimum co-op requirements of the major into which they are transferring. All students entering Drexel University as transfers will be required to have a plan of study prepared by their academic advisor outlining the classes and co-ops required for degree completion. Once matriculated into a co-op major, all co-op rules and policies apply.
Students who have disabilities may wish to speak with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) prior to or during their co-op experience in order to discuss any reasonable accommodations which may be necessary. ODS can also advise students on appropriate ways to disclose a disability on the job, should they choose to do so.
The mission of the ODS is to advocate for people with disabilities and to provide equal opportunities and equal access to education, employment, programs and activities at Drexel. ODS collaborates with and empowers individuals who have documented disabilities by working together proactively to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodative measures. In efforts to ensure compliance with current legislation and eliminate attitudinal barriers against people with disabilities, ODS also provides guidance and education to the campus community.
N. International Students
International students, with the appropriate visas, can participate in the co-op program. In addition to adhering to all co-op policies and procedures, some international students will also be required to obtain work authorization prior to each co-op position.
To obtain work authorization international students must meet with International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS), 210 Creese Student Center, after obtaining a co-op position, but prior to beginning work. Students who work without prior work authorization from the ISSS may be considered out-of-status by U.S. federal regulation. Questions about student visa/immigration status and responsibilities should be directed to ISSS.
O. Co-op Abroad
To be eligible to participate in Drexel University's Co-op Abroad program, students must attend Drexel full-time, be in good standing, and ideally have successfully completed at least one co-op experience with an "acceptable" or above evaluation, the exception being students in a 4COP program. In those instances prior work experience will be considered and evaluated on an individual basis.
Participants are selected on the basis of academic record (a GPA minimum of 2.5), cooperative education and other employment experience, recommendations of faculty and previous employers, foreign language proficiency (depending on country), and a personal interview. Approval for employment experiences abroad is made by Steinbright.
P. Graduating on a Co-op Term
Drexel University students are required to graduate from an in-class term, that is, not immediately following a co-op. In response to changes in the university’s student profile a number of scenarios have been identified which can be considered cause to appeal for permission to graduate from a co-op cycle.
Students wishing to file a request to graduate from a co-op term must develop a revised plan of study in conjunction with their academic advisors. The advisor then submits the plan along with a letter of support from the program director or department head to the Steinbright Appeals Committee.
Due to program requirements, students in certain programs/majors cannot graduate after a co-op term. Complications arise from academic and co-op as well as billing areas that would preclude any exceptions. Case-by-case appeals may be considered in truly unique situations.
Q. Graduation Requirements
To graduate, students must complete the total number of Drexel Co-op Units (DCUs) required for the program or major in which they are enrolled. The number of DCUs in the various programs ranges from 32 to 96. Sixteen DCUs are awarded for successful completion of each term of co-op. For many colleges co-op is a part of the accreditation process and therefore degrees may not be awarded without the successful completion of the co-op requirement.
|College of Arts and Sciences; Bennett S. LeBow College of Business; College of Engineering; College of Nursing and Health Professions; School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems; iSchool; Richard C. Goodwin College of Professional Studies:|
|Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design|
II. Graduate Co-op Program (GCP)
Drexel’s long tradition in the field of experiential education for undergraduates has been extended into its graduate programs.
Participating Graduate Co-op Programs
MS, MBA, LeBow College of Business
MS, Information Systems, College of Information Science and Technology
MS, Engineering, College of Engineering
MS, Biomedical Engineering, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems
Available as a special co-op track, which may entail more time to complete the degree, GCP enables students to accept paid positions in their career fields for a total of three or six months during their degree program. These cycles can either be the summer-fall or the fall-winter terms. For all GCP students, full-time employment during co-op is considered an integral part of their educational process; therefore, they will retain their full-time student status.
Eligibility must be sought from the Graduate Studies Office when a student has earned a minimum of 24 credits but no more than 34 credits before going out on co-op. Students should obtain the required signatures and submit the application directly to the Graduate Studies Office. A detailed plan of study together with a proposed project, to be completed during co-op, must accompany the form.
Beyond the credit and time requirements, the criteria for admission into and continuation in the program include satisfactory academic progress (GPA of at least 3.0, higher for some programs) and adherence to a schedule whereby students complete all GCP requirements prior to graduation, that is, students must complete at least one term on campus prior to graduation.
Additional Requirements for International Students
International students should consult with International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) to determine their eligibility before going out on co-op. And those students, whose primary language is not English, must also demonstrate business-usage English proficiency to the Graduate Co-op Coordinator.
Program Structure and Process
Students who participate will be required to enroll in a three-credit, pass/fail, GCP course for each three-month period of employment and will be billed for 3 credit hours at the appropriate credit hour rate for the course. In addition, students are allowed to take one online course each term while on co-op. Any such course will be charged at the appropriate credit hour rate.
Before co-op begins, students will be assigned a faculty advisor who will supervise the GCP courses. The advisor will work with them throughout their experience and assist them in developing a project that reflects that work experience. Although students will not attend class, they are required to maintain regular contact with their faculty advisor. At the end of each quarter on co-op students will submit a written report of their project to their faculty advisor. Every GCP student must have a passing grade in each of the GCP courses. It is left to the discretion of the student’s department to decide on what a student must do to make up a failing GCP grade. GCP courses will not be included in grade point average calculations.
Additionally, while on co-op, students must keep their health insurance and immunizations current.
Students should meet with the Graduate Co-op Coordinator to discuss their interest in participating in co-op as early as three months prior to the anticipated start date. This will ensure that there is ample time for them to understand the program, discuss their career objectives, review/amend their resumes, conduct practice interviews, and, if necessary, schedule language testing. Simultaneously, students should also meet with their graduate advisor to check on the enrollment procedures for the co-op track.
III. Career Services
Career Services offers assistance to baccalaureate candidates, advanced degree candidates, and to alumni in securing employment consistent with personal career goals and objectives. All services are free of charge to active students and alumni. Services, resources, and events include:
Individual career counseling, including assessments designed to help individuals choose long-range career goals consistent with their abilities, education, interests, and personality.
Individual and group programs covering topics including resume writing, interview preparation, and job search strategies.
On-Campus Interview Program arranges on-campus interviews with employers from business, industry, education, and government services.
Dragon Jobs allows employers to post opportunities, search Drexel student resumes, and schedule interviews throughout the year to fill their positions.
Comprehensive pre-professional advising services to students and alumni who are considering careers in law or medicine.
Devoted career services librarian and career collection of online and print resources.
Steinbright hosts two of the largest career fairs in the Delaware Valley for all students and alumni in October and April. Engineering and health science students are also invited to major specific career fairs at their college.