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Swenson College of Science and Engineering
ChE HomeStudent Resources Chemical Engineering Coop
Chemical Engineering CoOp (ChE 3196 or 3296)

Students can work for a company as a chemical engineering coop student (for credit) or as a chemical engineering intern (not for credit). Students who intern – without enrolling for any credit – do not need to meet any departmental requirements or standards.

The chemical engineering department strongly encourages students to participate in an internship or coop experience. Students desiring credit for coop experience may enroll in ChE 3196 or 3296. This course is open to sophomores, juniors, or seniors who have been admitted to the chemical engineering program and who are in good standing in the department. Transfer students must complete ChE 2111 before enrolling in ChE 3196 or 3296. Both internships and coops can be done for any period of time; generally for 3 to 15 months. However, long-term internship (more than a summer) causes problems with student status and related issues if the student is not enrolling in a course for credit. Download a course syllabus (pdf)

Completion of the COOP Contract is required for registration in ChE 3196 or ChE 3296.

Students can enroll (and pay tuition):
    • For 1 or 2 credit of coop per semester (summer is a semester for that purpose).
Those credits can be used to:
    • Transfer students may use up to 3 COOP credits to satisfy the 3-credit requirement of Intro to ChE (ChE 1011).
    • Science or Engineering elective credits.
Students who do not need these credits may still wish to enroll for coop because it:
    • Allows you to remain a "full time" student.
    • Documents your engineering work experience for potential employers and looks better on the resume.
    • Provides experience in multidisciplinary engineering environments.
Coop students get letter grades. The following requirements must be fulfilled:
    • Write a formal report and submit it to the department head at the end of the semester. The report format (and these requirements) is detailed below. Generally one report is needed for all consecutive coops. However, greater details (length) are expected for greater credit (about five pages/credit). The grade is entirely dependent on this report.
    • The students must arrange to make a presentation to the Chemical Engineering Department's Industrial Advisory Committee or AIChE student chapter after returning to campus. The presentation is not graded.
    • The student must fill out a survey form and ask his/her employer to fill out a similar form. Neither of the surveys is used in grading the student.

Course Description: Coop involves engineering related work experience in industry or government. These positions are typically paid and generally involve 40 hours/week for one to three semesters. The student will most likely need to temporarily relocate to the employer’s location. The student is responsible for obtaining the coop position; however, the department and the career services assist students in this regard. Talk to Career Services about your interest in participating in the program. E-Fest, the UMD engineering job fair in October, is a time when many companies interview on campus for their regular as well as internship and coop positions. The department also alerts all ChE majors when information about new coop positions becomes available.

Reporting Requirement: Each time a student enrolls for coop credit (1) a coop report detailing the work experience must be prepared, (2) self-evaluation survey (3) request his/her employer to send a one-page evaluation survey of the coop work, and (4) make presentations to the Chemical Engineering Department's Industrial Advisory Committee and the AIChE student chapter meeting. For a student going for a consecutive second "term" (semester following a summer or summer following a semester) only one set of "final" report, evaluation and presentations is required. The final report must be submitted before grade reporting time for the semester.

Evaluations: Students and employer/supervisors must complete an anonymous survey of the student's coop experience. Evaluations are located online: self-evaluation survey and employer to send a one-page evaluation surveyself-evaluation survey.

Report Format: Typical report length is 5 to 15 pages (for 1 to 3 credits), not including appendices. This report and evaluation surveys are submitted to the Department Head before grade reporting time for the semester or summer term. The report should summarize the student’s work experience and discuss in detail a variety of educational aspect of the experience. The report should strive to demonstrate how their educational experience has prepared them for coop and how coop has affected their education. In particular, the report should discuss and assess multidisciplinary experiences gained from the coop. Inappropriate report items include confidential material, overly technical discussion of the work, heavy reliance on internal jargon, chronological listings of tasks ("Dear Diary ..."), or other topics that do not demonstrate a synthesis of the coop experience and the student’s education.

The report should be written for someone technically literate, but who may not be familiar with what was done. The report might consist of the following parts:

  • Cover page with your identifying information.
  • Number all pages
  • Use headings on a separate line for each section.
  • Executive Summary/Abstract – Describe briefly the main tasks you performed. This should be a very short (less than a page), succinct, to the point description of what you accomplished. Length: maximum 1 page.
  • Introduction –Describe the place where the work was done including what materials or services it provides. Next give the problem statement(s) and background information you were given from your supervisor or co-workers. This is also a good place to describe the disciplines of people you worked with (engineers, business, sales, etc). You may have done multiple projects or only one, so the length will vary accordingly. Length: 1 to 3 pages.
  • Background – Discuss what ideas you needed to use in order to accomplish your objectives and how did they relate to your education. This would be a good place to discuss any new material you needed to learn. Length: 1 to 3 pages.
  • Procedures – Describe any new procedures you may have learned and how they were needed to accomplish your objectives. Do not provide details of operation, just a summary of the new equipment used and its purpose (i.e. I learned to use a dissolved oxygen meter to test for the presence of oxygen in boiler water which can cause corrosion in boiler tubes). Length: 1 to 4 pages.
  • Results – Describe what was accomplished based on the work you did. Write about any new information or procedures you helped develop. Length: 1 to 4 pages. Include information about working in a multidisciplinary environment.
  • Discussion – Provide your interpretation of the results of your project(s). It is acceptable to discuss them even if nothing was changed, or your project failed to find a better solution. You should also discuss the value this opportunity provided to your education in terms of engineering skills and working in multidisciplinary environments. Length: 1 - 3 pages.
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Last modified on 07/09/13 12:39 PM
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