Cooperative Education, or "co-op," is a unique partnership among employers, students and the university whereby students work in paid, planned and supervised work experiences in business and industry. It is an academic program designed to complement a student's formal education with practical work experience directly related to the student's major.
It usually takes five years to complete the academic requirements, combined with work periods, to get a bachelor's degree under a coop designation. The co-op work period schedule for most majors at Georgia Tech is an alternating cycle of work and school semesters.
This is not the case for Industrial Design majors.
Undergraduates in the School of Industrial Design must take a specified studio sequence. There is a fall semester studio that is a prerequisite for a particular spring semester studio that is a prerequisite for the following year's fall studio. If an Industrial Design student were to be away from campus for any reason he or she would then be off sequence for studio and would then not be able to continue in sequence until the following year. Thus an alternating cycle of co-op work semesters and school semesters does not suit the needs of the Industrial Design student.
In light of this the School of Industrial Design wishes that those students who pursue a co-op opportunity do so after the spring semester of their junior studio, then spend the entire next year on their co-op assignment. The student would then return a year later in the fall to complete their final year of studio.
Likewise, because the studio nature of the Industrial Design curriculum demands much of a student's time during each semester, internships follow a similar trajectory as co-op. The academic advisor notifies students to internship opportunities, and students are encouraged to take initiative in applying for internships.