Interested in Getting a Master's Degree and Professional Experience at the same time?

Check out our Masters Co-Op Program!!

The Office of Professional Practice (OPP) provides work integrated learning programs.  The newest addition to OPP’s portfolio of programs is the Masters Co-Op Program. Students who graduate from this program will not only meet all MS degree requirements in their specific discipline, but also have significant graduate-level industrial experience within a profession of their choice.

Students who complete the MS-level Cooperative Education Program will be well prepared to work in:

  • Advanced technical centers of industry as research and development specialists
  • Private and government research institutions

  • Design and develop advanced products requiring knowledge and experience in advanced engineering

  • Pursue a Ph.D degree

Master's Co-Op Program

Applying to the  Master's Co-Op Program - To apply, you will need to see your Faculty Advisor within your discipline. Students must have an advisor identified BEFORE admittance into the OPP degree program determination will be made. However, students can take classes as a non-degree student before applying for admission. Up to 12 hours will count towards degree requirements before admittance into the program. This ability may enhance a students application by showing ability to do graduate level work, maturation, etc.GPA requirements. Students generally need a >3.0 Undergraduate GPA for admission. However, if a student has a lower GPA they can petition for admission under probationary status, the terms of which will be determined by the graduate committee. Students with lower than 3.0 GPA, yet have higher than 3.0 GPA for an MS degree can petition for nonprobationary graduate admittance by showing maturation, successful MS completion, success in career, etc.

Funding. There will be no guarantee of funding for students should industrial support or other monetary issues occur. However, faculty are able to provide such funding if they so choose.

Costs of Research. While the students will be "self-supported", there may be other costs related to research (consumables, etc). It is up to the student and advisor to make allowance for this. However, if research will be performed within the department, cost-center fees do need to be paid. As this will be research and not instruction (as in senior design), these costs should be paid for through use of research contracts and/or incentive accounts rather than gifts.

Intellectual Property of Research. Generally speaking, all research, data, and IP that the student generates while acting as a function of their graduate studies belongs to Purdue Research Foundation irrespective of the place of research (ie company site). As students may be concurrently working, it is up to the student to make provisions with their employer to resolve issues with regards to their job duties and graduate studies in terms of IP requirements.

Site of Research. The student may perform research off-site at an industrial facility. It is up to the student to make provisions for this, including IP and/or research agreements with their employer.

Residency. Purdue currently has no residency requirements for how long a student must attend the West Lafayette campus to obtain an MS degree.  However, as part of the MS Co-Op program, students have to spend at least 2 semesters in residency (as opposed to taking remote online classes).  This residency requirement can be by commute a few days a week, as long as the student is registered for normal "in-class" instruction.  This residency requirement may also be adjusted with agreement by the major professor.

Continuing Registration Requirement. The student must be continually registered (for at least 1 hour), summer NOT included or else may need to reapply to the program. If the student is not registered for at least 1 credit hour, they cannot use any Purdue facilities.

Class and Credit Hour Requirements. Part-time students will have to satisfy all requirements, including 120 credit hours for PhD. 6 courses are needed for an MS and 10-12 courses total for a PhD. Up to 30 total credit hours can be applied from a previous MS to a PhD. The rest of the credits are made up with research credit.

Teaching Requirements. There is no teaching requirements for the MS Co-op program that is stipulated by OPP.  However, academic departments may have requirements that supersede this.

Time Limits on Degree Completion. Per Purdue rules, there is a 5-yr rule for course validity. After this period, courses must be reviewed by the graduate committee to determine applicability, which is done by petition to the graduate committee. The 5 year rule applies even to courses at Purdue and in continuing registration. After 6 yrs in the PhD program and 3 years for the MS program, the student must petition the graduate committee for continuance in the program. The committee will review the students record to determine progress and intent of completion, considering the part-time status. Overall it is the responsibility of the student to make satisfactory and timely progress towards their degree while satisfying employer requirements. After 8 years, regardless of degree goal, a second petition must be made to satisfy Purdue requirements. Normative times to completion are 8 years for PhD and 5 years for MS considering half-time status.

Managing Cost and Research Time. Students wishing to manage hourly loads to reduce cost may go between heavy hourly loads past full time during some semesters to very few (as low as 1) credit hours during others. However, students are advised to ensure that research credit hours reflect actual research effort on the part of the student during that semester.

Management of Class and Work Schedules. Students may take continuing education (TV) classes that can be performed off-site to count against the course requirements. However, their relevancy and inclusion in the plan of study is to be determined in conjunction with the faculty advisor.