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Office of Cooperative Education
Chambers Technology Center 105
Jennifer Smith
Cooperative Education Coordinator
School of Engineering and Computer Science
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211


School of Engineering and Computer Science
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211

Cooperative Education

Welcome to the Office of Cooperative Education in the School of Engineering and Computer Science. My name is Dr. Steve Harvath and I get to facilitate one of the most progressive educational experiences in the world. The Co-op Program at Pacific has risen to national prominence, as the only required Engineering Co-op Program west of the Mississippi. This experience woven into your studies provides a unique and meaningful educational experience that you will remember and appreciate the rest of your professional life. As an undergraduate student you will have a unique opportunity to experience the professional world prior to your graduation from the School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Please feel free to contact me at or 209-946-3062 for any questions you might have or materials you need to help confirm your decision to come to Pacific. Thank you again for visiting the Cooperative Education Program in the School of Engineering and Computer Science.

What is Cooperative Education?

Cooperative education (Co-op) is a term used in engineering circles to mean, "paid internship." Pacific students accept these positions all across the globe in all types of technical capacities. It is an integral part of the engineering and computer science curriculum at Pacific. Engineering students at Pacific are required to complete seven months of this paid professional practice before graduation.

The program is optional for:

  1. Bioengineering majors who are following the biomedical path.
  2. International students by virtue of their de facto education abroad experiential education.
  3. The occasional student who already has equivalent experience.
  4. Computer Science majors, but most take advantage of the program anyhow.

Students Benefits

Pacific's engineering and computer science students receive many benefits from the Co-op Program, including:

  1. The faculty like this program, most for its effect in helping students relate theory to practice.  This learning-by-doing increases comprehension and retention.
  2. Students appreciate the income, which averages $2500 - $3000 per month, helping to defray their education costs upon returning to campus.
  3. Students talk much more about how much it helps them to secure permanent employment upon graduation.  Nearly every graduating senior reports either, "Yes," or "Maybe" when asked if they could secure an offer of permanent employment with their former co-op employer.  We would guess that nearly all would say, "Yes," except that many are planning to pursue their masters first and thus do not know yet.
  4. Another major benefit is helping students choose and confirm their major and concentration. Engineering and computer science are such stealth professions that most students going to college do not really know very much about it.  Co-op helps them to learn firsthand what their chosen major is, how well they do in it, and how much they like it.  Afterwards, they can change their major if they wish, possibly not losing very much  time towards their graduation.

Other notable benefits include:

  1. Exposure to cutting-edge developments within their majors.
  2. Increased professional, people, communication, ethical and critical thinking skills.
  3. Greater motivation to persevere through their remaining upper-division courses.
  4. The Co-op Program also just helps to ease the transition from student to working professional.

Employer Information

The Co-op Program is a three-way partnership involving the University, the employer and the student.  If you are an employer who would like to get involved in our Co-op Program, please visit our Employer Information page to find out how you can get involved.