What is CO-OP?

CO-OP (Cooperative Education) is an educational model that combines the academic learning and the professional practice.

First initiated in the United States, cooperative education model has gradually become more popular throughout the world; and today it is currently being implemented in various formats in a number of countries, including Europe and Far East. For instance, Northeastern University, world leader in cooperative education, is implementing this model in partnership with thousands of organizations so much that many Universities today conduct Co-op Abroad programs as well.

Objectives of CO-OP

The objective is cooperative education model is to train graduates who are equipped with good theoretical as well as practical knowledge by integrating academic learning with work experience.


  • Employers will have the opportunity to hire better trained graduates they have gotten to know before , graduates that will provide a boost in productivity as soon as they get employed,
  • Institutions will be able to make their academic programs more appealing to students by shaping  their structure in accordance with the needs of the business world and by increasing the employment rate of graduates,
  • Graduates will have the opportunity to get hired as soon as they graduate and climb the career ladder faster than others.

In other words, cooperative education model CO-OP means ‘win-win’ for employers, students and institutions.

Benefits of co-operative education

The Student

  • Has the opportunity to put academic knowledge into practice in a professional environment.
  • Improves his/her professional perception and professional awareness.
  • Gains work experience while studying.
  • Defines career and life goals, sets clear goals after graduation and develops a career vision statement.
  • Gets hiring preference when applying for the organization s/he has previously worked for.
  • Learns how to build self-confidence and improve self-awareness.
  • Develops effective communication skills for the workplace.
  • Improves his/her organizational and time management skills.
  • Has the opportunity to earn money while studying thus improves financial awareness.
  • Develops professional identity during his/her studies.
  • Builds a broad professional network.
  • Has the opportunity to put professional experience his/her resume while studying.

The Employer

  • Co-op students are an ideal source of manpower; you gain access to well-motivated, qualified employees.
  • Co-op employment helps getting know the students for future hiring of motivated and skilled employees. It’s a means of evaluating future staff in the workplace to ensure whether they are a good fit.
  • Employment of co-op students gives an employer the chance to mentor enthusiastic students, as well as the opportunity to take part in the training of future colleagues.
  • Employing co-op students can reduce future recruiting costs.
  • Co-op students, who are able to undertake special projects and task can help create a bridge between the employer and the University. Employers can provide feedback about course curriculum and content.
  • Employers can promote and market their organizations to potential future employees.

The University

  • Well-qualified graduates who are prepared to take productive roles in society.
  • Once you graduate, you will have high chances to get hired.
  • As an academic institution, your graduates will be more preferable for the business world.
  • Enhanced relations with the business world, with opportunities for collaborative projects.
  • Enhanced visibility and reputation among employers.
  • Chance for faculty members to establish strong relations with business world, with opportunities for joint projects.
  • Chance to get feedback from employers on the quality and relevance of academic program curriculum.
  • Increased professional perception, enhanced knowledge on their field of work, developed communication and inter-personal skills, enhanced self-confidence and time-management skills help co-op students gain a high-level profile.
  • Co-op students can enrich the general educational community of the University upon returning from work.

CO-OP Eligibility and Requirements

Students from almost all programs are eligible for CO-OP provided that the academic program of the student has signed a contract with CO-OP organizations.

Is every student eligible for CO-OP?

In order for a student can participate in a Co-op program, the organization offering the CO-OP program must have the required quota, and also the student shall be chosen by the organization for the CO-OP program. In other words, if the organization’s CO-OP quota is full, no CO-OP student shall be employed until a new quota will open. If there’s open quota, however, the organization shall choose the student for the CO-OP program.

When to Apply for CO-OP?

Third or fourth year students can apply for CO-OP.

Preferred terms for CO-OP are the second term (spring term) of the third year and the first term (fall term) of the fourth year. Thus, students can take part in a CO-OP program more than six months, by combining the spring semester with the summer semester or the summer semester with the fall semester.

Can students take part in CO-OP programs during the final semester of their final year?

They cannot, because, CO-OP isn’t about student completing his/her studies at the University and start working, it’s a part of their academic education. For this reason, once the CO-OP program is concluded, student must continue with his studies at least for one more semester.

Required Length of CO-OP

CO-OP must last at least for 3 months. But, it’s preferable that students participate in a CO-OP program for 6 months.

Does CO-OP involve only working in an organization for a certain period of time?

No, it doesn’t involve only getting employed by an organization for a certain period of time. It can be carried out in other forms as well. For instance, students can prepare their thesis or dissertation for figuring out a solution to a business problem under the supervision of the employer or any other related staff from the CO-OP organization.

Must CO-OP students work full-time?

CO-OP students don’t necessarily have to work full-time. For instance, you may work at the organization up to three or four days a week and spend the remaining days at the University attending classes.

CO-OP formats may vary according to program and organization.

Can CO-OP students receive prospective co-op credit for the graduation?

CO-OP training is defined also as a credit course. Thus, students can have the chance to prevent graduation form prolonging by working in an organization as a co-op trainee. Number of credits to receive from which CO-OP training formats vary according to courses determined on the basis of your academic program.

For which courses in his/her academic program will student receive credits?

Courses, for which student will receive credits, are determined in accordance with his/her academic program. CO-OP trainings are typically defined as area elective courses or free elective courses. Dissertation or thesis may also be considered as part of this category.  

Will CO-OP delay 4-year graduation date?

Students taking part in a CO-OP program may have to show extra effort by taking summer classes or more course loads during other semesters so as to prevent graduation delay, although they have received credits after successfully completing co-op work course.

Do students taking part in CO-OP program receive monetary compensation for their co-op work terms?

Students taking part in a CO-OP program will be paid some monetary compensation by the organization.  Salaries for co-op students may vary according to co-op format, length and organization.


I you have any questions regarding co-op; feel free to contact CO-OP Coordination Office or Dean’s Office at your respective school.



Selma Özsobacı

CO-OP Coordinator

Altınbaş Üniversitesi

Mahmutbey, Dilmenler St. No 26, Bağcılar, İstanbul

Tel: (0212) 6040100