2024-25 Academic Catalog

Cooperative Education Program

The Cooperative Education Program is a special way of going to college. Increasing numbers of students in various fields are taking advantage of the opportunity the program offers for combining practical experience with formal schooling in a five-year program of alternating semesters of study and gainful work with a cooperating employer. For the qualified student, the program can provide an expanded college education and a direct avenue to a career.

The work under this program is in, or closely related to, the student’s field of study. Upon completing three semesters of alternating work experience in the program and becoming academically eligible for graduation, a co-op student is designated a Cooperative Education Graduate. Permanent job offers to graduates of the Cooperative Education Program often provide substantially higher starting salaries and more responsible positions than for regular four-year graduates. The co-op student is not obligated for permanent employment with his or her employer, nor is the employer obligated to hire him or her upon graduation.

A high school graduate becomes eligible to begin a work assignment after satisfactorily completing one year at Mississippi State University; during this year he or she must establish at least a 2.50 average (on a 4.00 grading system). The student must be at least 18 years of age to begin the first work semester. Co-op credit hours may not be used to satisfy University-wide degree requirements.

A junior-college or senior-college transfer student who has at least a 2.50 overall average (on a 4.00 grading system) is eligible for participation after satisfactorily completing one semester at Mississippi State University. A student interested in the program who plans to transfer in should communicate with the Cooperative Education office for application materials.

Qualified students majoring within the following colleges and schools are eligible to participate:

  • Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Architecture, Art, and Design
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Business and Industry
  • College of Education
  • James Worth Bagley College of Engineering
  • College of Forest Resources

The program requires a semester-to-semester rotation. Once a student has accepted employment with one of the cooperating organizations, he or she is expected to regularly rotate each semester from work—to school—to work, etc., for a minimum of three semesters. Approximate co-op work semester dates begin on January 1, May 15, and August 15.

Co-op students are required to pay a $25 registration fee for applicable work semesters. Co-op students may optionally elect to pay a Sanderson Center usage fee during scheduled work semesters. 

Final approval of all students for the program, specifically with respect to the University, rests solely with the University.

For more information, contact the Cooperative Education Program, 335 McCain Bldg., Box 6046, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762, call the office at (662) 325-3823, or visit the Co-op Web page at www.coop.msstate.edu.

(Related AOP 12.23: https://www.policies.msstate.edu/policy/1223)