Graduate Cooperative Education (Co-Op) Program
Gain up to six months of full-time work experience, build your resume, and develop a competitive advantage for post-graduation employment through the School of Engineering’s Graduate Cooperative Education (Co-Op) Program.
The SOE Co-Op Program offers engineering master’s students a unique opportunity to apply the theoretical principles they have learned in their coursework to real-world engineering projects. Get a sense of a company's culture and work environment, learn to interact with other colleagues in the field, and leverage your academic strength towards career advancement.
- Clarify short- and long-term personal, educational, and career goals.
- Hone interview and workplace skills with training from Tufts Career Center.
- Explore professional interests with supportive employer and university mentors.
- Build a network of engineering employers, practitioners, and entrepreneurs.
- Standout in the post-graduation job market as a collaborative problem-solver, effective communicator, and ethical engineer.
How It Works
The School of Engineering Co-Op Program is open to engineering master's students who have indicated interest in the program within the admissions application, or those who have applied to join the program within their first semester as an enrolled master's student. If you have questions regarding your eligibility, please contact Dean Panetta's office at email@example.com and review the SOE Graduate Student Handbook.
To enroll in the program, students must:
- Indicate interest in the SOE Co-Op Program via the admissions application, or apply to the program during their first semester as a School of Engineering master's student.
Starting Fall 2024, students enrolled in a Post-Bacc/MS or Fifth-Year MS Programs must have earned at least 18 credits* and completed 2 semesters as a matriculated and enrolled graduate student in the MS portion of their program to participate. Students enrolled in online programs, certificate programs, PhD programs, or in a post-baccalaureate (Post-Bacc) program are not eligible to participate at this time.
*Please refer to the School of Engineering Graduate Student Handbook to review all requirements for participation. The program required 20 credits for participation. The change to 18 credits means students with 18 credits may still be considered for the program and formal changes will be reflected in the SOE Graduate Student Handbook.
Students are encouraged to coordinate with Tufts Career Center and the School of Engineering’s Co-Op Program Advisor when exploring, applying, and interviewing for positions. There is no guarantee that students who enter the co-op program will find an employer. However, Tufts Career Center experts are available to help students strengthen their cover letters, resumes, interview skills, and post-interview etiquette. Please reach out to Tufts Career Center (firstname.lastname@example.org) early in your explorations.
Before launching a job search, co-op students must complete the following steps:
- Complete 18 credits*, excluding seminar credits, that count towards their master's degree.
- Finish preparatory training sessions conducted by Tufts Career Center.
- Submit the Intent to Co-Op Form by the program deadline.
- International students must also meet with a representative from the International Center to ensure that their visa status is up-to-date.
Once these preliminary steps are complete, students will:
- Receive authorization to begin a search.
- Meet with the department's co-op coordinator.
- Compose a Return to Study Agreement Plan in collaboration with the co-op coordinator and the master's program director.
*The program required 20 credits for participation. The change to 18 credits means students with 18 credits may still be considered for the program and formal changes will be reflected in the SOE Graduate Student Handbook.
The goal of the SOE Co-Op Program is to provide students an opportunity to explore career paths, make valuable industry connections, broaden their perspectives, and acquire the skills needed to succeed outside of the classroom. With these goals in mind, please carefully consider any job offers that you receive. It may be helpful to discuss offers with Tufts Career Center, a faculty mentor, and fellow students to ensure that the position aligns with your career interests. Please note, SOE Co-Op Program students are only allowed to accept one position during their time in the program.
Permissible job offers must be for a position that is:
- Full-time employment (35+ hours per week).
- Focused on engineering work experience; not performing research, grading, teaching, or writing a thesis.
While employed, students will be enrolled in an SOE Graduate Co-Op Course (0 credits). The course is evaluated as S/U based on the successful completion of the employment period. Students enrolled in this course will maintain full-time enrollment status, which preserves their current student loan repayment plan, financial aid, and healthcare coverage.
Upon completion of the employment period, students must return to campus for at least one semester. Students are expected to resume progress towards the completion of their master's degree program. The final steps of the SOE Co-Op Program include:
- Delivering a presentation to the School of Engineering co-op program advisor and the supervisor who provided employment to the student.
- Completing the Co-Op Program Exit Survey sent by Tufts Career Center and the School of Engineering.
- Finishing the master’s degree program in accordance with the Return to Study Agreement Plan composed during the search phase of the program.
Students are expected to meet and maintain the eligibility requirements listed in the SOE Graduate Student Handbook at all times. Please contact Dean Panetta's office (email@example.com) if you have concerns at any point during your co-op experience.
Ten Reasons to Pursue a Co-Op
- Practical Application: Apply classroom theories to real projects, enhancing understanding and career readiness.
- Diverse Exposure: Explore engineering branches and make informed career decisions.
- Hands-On Skills: Engage in projects that develop technical skills like CAD, programming, and project management.
- Industry Insights: Gain knowledge of industry practices.
- Collaborative Experience: Work in multidisciplinary settings and improve teamwork and communication skills.
- Networking: Build industry connections for mentoring, job opportunities, and long-term careers.
- Enhance Employability: Stand out in a competitive job market.
- Industry Support: Secure financial support and future job opportunities.
- Problem-Solving: Foster critical thinking and innovative solutions by solving real problems.
- Job Opportunities: Co-op positions can translate into future long-term careers.
Program Questions: Contact Dean Karen Panetta and the School of Engineering Graduate Programs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Admissions Questions: Contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at email@example.com.
Career Questions: Contact Tufts Career Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visa Status Questions: Contact the International Center at email@example.com.