Cooperative Education and Internships

Contact Information

Faculty Coordinator
Margarida Yin, myin@calpoly.edu
Margot McDonald, mmcdonal@calpoly.edu

Staff Coordinator
Arlene Gomez, agomez25@calpoly.edu, 001 (805) 756-1316

Overview

Co-operative education (co-op) is a type of field experience. Students doing a co-op receive academic credit while acquiring professional skills and earning an income. A co-op, however, is more than a job; it is a workplace-based learning opportunity that is supported by student observation and reflection. For Cal Poly purposes, an internship provides a similar opportunity but is unpaid.

Intern Development Program

Students doing co-ops or internships should begin the Intern Development Program (IDP) by establishing a record with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Students can do this for as little as $100. It will allow them to collect IDP credit for their experiences.

Whether or not they begin IDP, students doing co-ops or internships should download the “IDP Guidelines” (www.ncarb.org/~/media/Files/PDF/Guidelines/IDP_Guidelines.pdf) and review them with their proposed co-op/internship supervisor. This will help students to be more intentional about their experience and to leverage greater learning from it.

For more information about the IDP program, contact Professor Mark Cabrinha, the department’s IDP advisor, and see NCARB’s IDP webpage.

Finding a Co-op/Internship

Co-ops and internships have traditionally been self-initiated opportunities, with students approaching employers directly.

Architecture students may now find opportunities at the following locations:

Not surprisingly, Architecture students usually do co-ops and internships with architects, but this is not always the case. The department recognizes that work experience with other design and construction professionals — city planners, construction managers, architectural/structural engineers, and landscape architects — may contribute to a professional education. Students may propose co-ops with such professionals, subject to approval by the faculty coordinator.

Starting A Co-op/Internship

  1. Students proposing to do a co-op or internship should start by meeting with the faculty coordinator. They should come prepared by having reviewed the co-op requirements posted online and selected a co-op/internship firm.
  2. Once the firm has been determined, students complete the Cooperative Education/Internship Application (download and save this form to your computer prior to completing).
  3. Students must download the IDP Outline form (http://goo.gl/DZdKZK) and review it with their fim supervisor, checking off the boxes that correspond to the IDP categories, areas and tasks that they can expect to address in their co-op/internship. This outline must be attached to their application. Students will be asked to review the outline in their final end-of-quarter reflection.
  4. Submit both forms to the staff coordinator. If the faculty coordinator approves the forms, students can register for either ARCH 485/486, if working less than thirty hours per week, or ARCH 495/496, if working thirty hours or more. Credit for ARCH 485/486 is either four or eight units for working from 10 to 30 hours per week (approximately 1 additional unit of credit for each additional 5 hours of work). Credit for ARCH 495/496 is 12 units.

To receive credit for a co-op or internship, students must be enrolled in the appropriate course while they are working. Students have until the add/drop deadline of the appropriate quarter to enroll, but they must start work by the first day of class.

Students may repeat the co-op/internship courses or take more than one type of course, but the catalog limits major credit for such courses to 20 units and total credit to 24 units.

Co-op/internship courses are considered professional electives. Because the BARCH curriculum includes only 16 units of such electives, co-op/internship courses are effectively limited to 16 units.

Credit for ARCH 451/452/453

Students doing a full-time co-op or internship may apply to receive credit for ARCH 451/452/453. Students may do this for one quarter only.

During Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters, students register for ARCH 451/452/453 (5 units) and ARCH 485/486 (8 units) for a total of 13 units. During Summer Quarter, students register for ARCH 480 (5 units) instead of ARCH 451/452/453.

Students electing this option must explain in their application how they will be engaged in significant and responsible work on at least one project under the direction of their co-op/internship supervisor. They must complete all the requirements of the normal co-op/internship (see below). Because they are receiving a letter grade for ARCH 451/452/453, their work is held to a higher standard than students electing to do a co-op or internship option alone.

Co-op/Internship Assignments

Arch 485/486 and Arch 495/496 are all credit/no credit courses. To receive credit, students must complete all of the following assignments and post them on PolyLearn: a weekly journal, a midterm progress report, an end-of-quarter reflection, a resume, a portfolio of work completed during the co-op/internship, a supervisor’s evaluation, and a self-evaluation.

In addition, the student must participate in two group meetings. These take place online, one after the fifth week of the quarter and one during finals week.

Students should post all their submittals by the last day of classes. The faculty coordinator assigns a grade based on the quality of these submittals and the students’ participation in the two group meetings.

If students need additional time to complete their submittals, or if for some legitimate reason they cannot attend the meetings, the faculty coordinator may record a temporary RP grade until all the requirements of the courses have been met.

Updated 01.10.17

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