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Electrical, Computer & Systems Engineering Majors

The ECSE Department strongly supports the co-op concept, and encourages students to consider participating. Co-op programs for EE and CSE majors are easily arranged so that you can complete at least two work assignments without delaying your date of graduation. Usually this requires:

  • interviews during sophomore year
  • one work assignment during a fall or spring term
  • one summer session at Rensselaer
  • taking the senior year in standard fall-spring sequence

Most of the required sophomore and junior courses are offered in the fall and spring, and some are available in the summer, so a co-op program can probably be tailored to fit your particular needs and interests.

Co-op students who plan to delay graduation to December (to avoid summer courses) should note that taking the senior year out of the normal fall-spring sequence may reduce the choice of electives, since many spring electives have fall prerequisites. This is particularly true for the senior design electives, and many of them are available only in the spring. For the same reason, the ECSE Department opposes co-op programs in which the last two academic terms are both in the fall or both in the spring.

The advisor for EE and CSE co-op students is the Undergraduate Advisor (David Nichols). You should contact him for an appointment for academic planning before you go on your first work assignment (but after you have attended the Co-op Briefing). Please bring your current CAPP.

The first three terms of the curriculum provides sufficient background for an introductory co-op experience. However, to gain full value from the program, the best time to go on your first co-op assignment is after the end of the sophomore year, either that summer or the following fall.

Co-op programs with three work blocks are also possible, but they should be arranged during the freshman year to avoid delaying the date of graduation. Students considering this option should see the Undergraduate Advisor as soon as possible.

Maximum benefit is derived from a co-op program when the student alternates between work and study. Thus, unless there are special circumstances, the ECSE Department opposes year-long co-op programs without an intervening return to campus.

Academic Credit for Co-op Experience:

Students majoring in Electrical Engineering, Computer and Systems Engineering, or Electric Power Engineering may be granted academic credit for co-op work experience, subject to the following conditions:

Credit can be earned only for a second (or later) work assignment with the same employer in the Rensselaer Co-op Program (NOTE: The second part of a double length assignment, summer and fall, spring and summer, etc. counts as a second assignment.

The student must have completed the equivalent of four academic terms before the assignment in question. Advance arrangements must be made with the department. [Note that all paperwork for academic credit should be submitted to Priscilla Magilligan in JEC 6049.] The student must submit a report on the work done together with a supporting letter from the co-op supervisor The academic credit may be used to satisfy the curriculum requirement for a free (or engineering) elective. The procedure for obtaining credit is as follows:

During a preceding work assignment, the student and his/her co-op supervisor develop a tentative plan for the work to be done for credit. The work must include significant engineering content commensurate with the student's background.

Before the assignment in question, the student submits the work plan to the Department. This should be 1 or 2 typed pages, with the signature of the co-op supervisor. Work plans may be sent via email or by fax (518/276-4403). If circumstances during the assignment require changing the original plan, then the student should contact the Department for approval.

Upon returning to campus, and no later than the second week of the term, the student submits a letter from the supervisor recommending academic credit along with a report by the student on the actual work experience (4-6 typed pages). NOTE: The report should be technical in nature, and not the same as the report submitted to the Co-op Office. If applicable, the report should include reference to any external publications or patent applications by the student.

When the required documentation is complete, the student registers for 4 credits of independent study under the course designation ENGR-2940. At the end of the term of registration, the Department Head or his or her designee will issue a grade - usually a B unless the co-op experience includes special accomplishments such as an external publication or a patent application.

updated 5/19/10
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