ESM Cooperative Education Program (CO-OP)

PSU’s CO-OP program allows students to mix periods of academic study in the classroom with periods of CO-OP employment in positions related to their academic and career interests. This combination provides an integrated learning experience that enhances both the academic experience and career development.

CO-OP positions are either full or part time employment for a period totaling between 1000 and 2000 hrs (6 to 12 months full time equivalent). Actual length of the employment and work hours vary by organization, and possible scenarios include 2 full time CO-OP positions, each for 2 quarters, or 4 quarters part-time (20 hr/week) for 1 CO-OP position.  

During full time CO-OP positions you will maintain matriculation at PSU by paying the requisite student fees; however, you will not be taking any courses as you are expected to be a full-time employee during your CO-OP assignment.  Part time CO-OP students are typically required to work 20 hrs per week and can take up to 9-credits as they see fit. 

Wages for CO-OP positions are set by organization, but remember that the primary reason for obtaining a cooperative education position is to gain valuable professional experience, training, and skills directly related to your field of study.

How to Qualify for ESM CO-OP?

Students need to be qualified to participate.  Begin the qualification process by reviewing and completing this form. Once submitted, you will be contacted by a PSU CO-OP adviser who will help determine your eligibility for the program. 

Typically students are eligible to apply for CO-OP when entering their junior year and must have completed one or two terms as a junior in order to be placed with an employer.  Students typically start their CO-OP during the Winter or Spring term of their Junior year.  Each department has different requirements.  For ESM students the requirements are as follows:

Environmental Science

  • Science Track: Participants must have a cumulative PSU GPA of 2.5 and have completed ESM 320 & 323, ESM 321 & 324, ESM 335, and WR 327 
  • Management Track: Participants must have a cumulative PSU GPA of 2.5 and have completed ESM 221 (or equivalent), ESM 333 & 334, ESM 335, and WR 327

Environmental Studies 

  • Participants must have a cumulative PSU GPA of 2.5 and have completed Geog 210, ESM 221 (or equivalent), Geog 230, ESM 330, ESM 333/4, and ESM 335. 

Students who have met the requirements will conduct a brief interview with the department chair prior to enrolling in the CO-OP program.

How are CO-OP Positions Assigned?

Students selected for the program will be eligible for job placements, once they have completed the required one credit prep course.  This one credit course covers topics such as career exploration, resume writing, interviewing skills, and professional etiquette in the workplace.  Once the course is successfully completed, the student will begin working with their CO-OP adviser, meeting individually with him or her to review appropriate positions and apply for jobs that are of interest to the student and for which the student is qualified. Similar to any job search, CO-OP employers review resumes and select students for interviews. Employers (not the CO-OP coordinator) make the final hiring decision.

More Information about CO-OP

Send an email to with your questions, and a PSU CO-OP advisers will respond.

Find out about your qualification by completing this form.

Read more about the PSU CO-OP program.