Skip to Cahill Career Development Center site navigationSkip to main content

Co-operative Education – Get Started

Cooperative Education is a semester-long job typically related to your major or career goals and provides experience in the workplace. The Cooperative Education Program includes jobs and internships officially recognized and supported by the Career Center. Students can opt to work in a position directly related to their major OR choose a work placement in another area of their interest to “test drive” their career, academic, and personal goals BEFORE leaving Ramapo!

Graduates with experience have an ”edge” in this increasingly competitive, diverse workforce and are much more marketable to employers and graduate/professional schools than students without experience and faculty recommendation.

Eligibility Requirements

Co-op-Checklist and Worksheet 

Students must have:

  • 32+ completed RCNJ credits (Note: Transfer students need 16+ completed RCNJ credits)
  • Minimum GPA of 2.0+ (Note: Certain employers may require a higher GPA)

Credit Options/Hour Requirements: Available in the fall, spring, and summer only.

  • 2 credits: at least 120 hours within that semester based on start date
  • 4 credits: at least 240 hours within that semester based on start date

Note: Students may earn up to eight academic credits from Cooperative Education courses in their academic career at Ramapo College.

Start Your Internship Search

Cooperative Education Benefits

Cooperative Education offers students the opportunity to:

  • Gain professional experience in chosen career fields
  • Combine theoretical and experiential learning
  • Work in another geographic area in the United States or abroad
  • Earn academic credit toward graduation
  • Develop confidence, maturity, and responsibility
  • Test career choices and clarify career goals
  • Earn income towards educational costs
  • Increase the likelihood of higher starting salaries after graduation
Approval Guidelines

Cooperative Education Position Approval Guidelines

Co-op positions will be approved by co-op faculty advisors based on the following criteria:

  • The position must provide meaningful work experience related to the student’s major and/or career objectives.
  • The work site must have the proper infrastructure to ensure a safe, properly guided learning experience.
  • The position must provide daily supervision.
  • The company or agency must be registered with the appropriate Department of Labor.
  • The site must also have a published/working telephone number and if requested, promotional literature.
  • The following types of positions will not be approved: jobs based on commission, entrepreneurial positions, telemarketing, or childcare.
  • A student may not be permitted to work for a relative.
How to Register


Co-op is an academic course for which students request permission to register. The Career Center staff assists students throughout the year and will guide them through appropriate registration procedures.

After acceptance of a co-op Internship position, students must:

  • Select and meet with a co-op faculty advisor to determine your learning objectives and academic assignment
  • Request a (co-op) Experience on Handshake
  • Meet with your career advisor
  • Receive “Registration Permission”* from the Career Center in order to register
  • Complete the appropriate form with Academic Advisement if the Pass/Fail option is selected.
  • If an international student on a J1 or other visa, must obtain authorization from the international advisor and fill out the appropriate paperwork
  • Students must register through the “Self Service” link on “My Ramapo” to add the co-op course

* Note* (Registration authorization only gives permission to take the course).

Grading and Evaluation

Grading and Evaluation

At the completion of the co-op a three-way Evaluation takes place:

  • Students are evaluated by their employer supervisor
  • Students’ learning is assessed by their co-op faculty advisor who assigns a grade based on the quality of related academic assignments and the employer evaluation
  • Students are given the opportunity to evaluate their completed co-op experience
Already Have a Job?


If students are already in positions or have recently acquired a new position on their own for which they wish to convert to co-op they must:

  • Not have been in the position for more than two years, or
  • Demonstrate that new learning is taking place with expanded duties and responsibilities, new projects, etc.
  • Submit a current resume
  • Present a job description of previous duties as well as a job description on company letterhead of expanded duties while participating in co-op
  • Present this information when requesting a (co-op) experience through Handshake, you must follow the registration steps outlined above

If a student wishes to remain at the same site for another co-op semester, he or she must submit a new letter from a work supervisor listing new responsibilities. This new learning will also be described in the co-op Learning Agreement. The student must then continue with the required registration procedures.

Sample Employers

Today, more than 62,000 corporations worldwide employ Cooperative Education students. Building upon a strong domestic corporate base, Cooperative Education at Ramapo has been expanded to multinational companies abroad. These are some of the firms where Ramapo students have worked:

  • Bergen County Sheriff’s Department – Correction Department
  • CNBC
  • EMI Capitol Records
  • Ernst & Young
  • Essex County Juvenile Detention Center
  • The Feminist Press
  • Global Alliance for Women’s Health
  • Global Business Dimensions
  • Mahwah Museum
  • The Margaret Sanger Papers Project
  • Meadowlands Environmental Center
  • Mercedes Benz USA
  • Merrill Lynch
  • MTV
  • Nets Basketball
  • Konica Minolta
  • KPMG
  • Oasis
  • Orange & Rockland Utilities
  • Rolling Stone Magazine
  • Senator Loretta Weinberg
  • Sirius Satellite Radio
  • Sharp Electronics
  • United Parcel Service
  • Universal Music
  • Walt Disney World
  • West Bergen Mental Health Center

Sample Positions

  • Assistant Controller
  • Audit Intern
  • Budget Analyst Intern
  • Community Resource Counselor
  • Computer Programmer
  • Copy Editor
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Graphic Designer
  • Historical Researcher
  • Human Resource Assistant
  • Jr. Accountant
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legislative Intern
  • Market Researcher
  • Media Planning Assistant
  • Public Relations Assistant
  • Research Laboratory Assistant
  • TV/Video Production Assistant
  • Urban Marketing Intern
  • Web Applications Programmer

In this economy finding a job can be extremely difficult, especially if you don’t know where to look. Ramapo’s online career management database, Handshake, can help students and alumni in their search for jobs by simply registering and posting a resume. Handshake can also be used to find cooperative education internships and we encourage students to use this great resource. Also visit the Career Center Web Page, for more information.

NJ Transit Reduced Fair Pass Available from Ramapo’s Self Service Web Site

  • Go to Ramapo Self-Service
  • Log in
  • Click on Web Self-Service
  • Log in
  • Click on Student Services and Financial Aid
  • Click on Online NJ Transit Student Pass Enroll
  • Follow instructions
  • Questions: contact the Career Center, 201-684-7444,

What’s the difference between a Cooperative Education/Academic Internship (co-op) and an internship?

The terms co-op and internship can be used interchangeably but there are a few differences. An internship is usually unpaid whereas traditionally Co-ops offer payment to students. A co-op is also supervised by a faculty advisor and an employer supervisor while an internship does not usually give a student as much support. Both allow you to gain valuable work experience in your field of choice.

What is the first step in starting the Co-op process?

A student interested in doing a co-op should call or come in to the Career Center, C 209, and schedule an appointment with his/her career advisor. The career advisor will start the intake process by making sure you meet the eligibility requirements and begin the application process.

If I don’t have a job, will the career advisor find me one?

The career advisor will assist you with the job search process and provide resources through Handshake and other job sources. You will still need to go on the interviews and get the job yourself.

What if I already have a job that I want to use as my Co-op?

This is called a job conversion and you can convert the current job if it meets certain criteria.


How many credits can I earn for a Co-op?

Students are eligible to register for a maximum of eight (8) academic credits that count toward graduation and are elective credits that do not count toward the major. Students electing to register for additional co-op credit (more than eight) can do so, but these credits do not count toward graduation.

How much money can I earn during this experience?

There is no limit to the amount of money students can earn; however, the main goal should not be to earn money in this experience but to gain professional experience and in some cases income toward educational expenses, link field learning to classroom learning and increase the likelihood of employment/higher salaries post-graduation

How will my grade be determined?

Student grades are determined by their co-op faculty advisor. The grade is usually assigned based on the quality of academic assignments and employer evaluations.

Keep in mind that your academic assignment is usually the largest portion of your grade as co-op is an academic experience.

Are orientation and reflection sessions mandatory?

First time co-op students: Any co-op student participating in a co-op for the first time must attend one orientation during the semester they are participating in co-op.  These are opportunities to learn what to expect prior to starting your co-op and to discuss your experience afterwards.Orientation provides students with essential information for their co-op experience and reflection bridges the gap between the real world of work and the classroom. Several sessions are scheduled and students are required to register on Handshake.

Second or more co-op students: Any co-op student participating in a co-op more than once is not required to attend orientation, however, ALL students regardless of times participated are required to attend a reflection session as advertised on Handshake events.