The Professional Practice Program, also known as "co-op," offers students an opportunity for selected practical experience purposefully intermingled with a gradually expanding academic background. This unique college program originated at the University of Cincinnati in 1906.
Students enrolled in the following program are required to participate in the Professional Practice Program:
Master of Architecture
Basically, this program provides 3.5 months of carefully planned professional practice assignments alternating with 3.5 month study periods. The year-round schedule permits students who are majoring in the Master of Architecture to have 2 semesters of meaningful professionally related experience before graduation. The Bachelor of Science in Architecture program inludes 3 semesters of co-op. The professional practice assignments assist each student in developing an understanding of human relationships and in learning to work with others as a team. Students' individual growth during this practice experience is enhanced by the realization that in addition to demonstrating theoretical knowledge they are learning to become an integral part of the working community and developing an awareness of the interrelationship between the academic and professional worlds. Thus, during this time, students obtain firsthand knowledge of professional practices, expectancies and opportunities. At the same time they are offered a realistic test of their career interests and aptitudes. Participation in the program enables students to make more intelligent selections of post-graduate positions. As graduates, their professional practice experience makes them more valuable to employers and increases their qualifications for more responsible career opportunities.
A typical year consists of 14 to 28 weeks of study, 14 to 28 weeks of correlated experience, and five weeks of vacation. Students are placed on professional practice assignments by members of the professional practice faculty and meet with their co-op faculty advisor in a series of individual conferences. Through regular reports, employers evaluate students and students evaluate their work experiences. These evaluations are used as a basis for counseling and advising students and to assess and guide student learning from their experiences.
Professional practice assignments are made in over 1,300 businesses, industries, research organizations, and governmental agencies located throughout the United States. The heaviest concentration of assignments tends to be in the Midwest. Students, while on the job, are subject to all regulations of the company by which they are employed, and all applicable labor and tax laws. Earnings of students are usually determined by location and type of work experience and are received by students directly from their employers. The university makes no guarantee as to practice assignments or earnings, but does make every effort to place students to their best educational advantage.
An Achievement Certificate for Excellence of Performance on the professional practice assignments is awarded to those students who satisfactorily complete the maximum number of professional practice quarters available. A Certificate of Performance on professional practice assignments is awarded to those students who complete, in a satisfactory manner, all remaining practice quarters at the time of entrance into the program, but fewer than the maximum number.
Requirements to Begin Co-op
To qualify for admittance to the program a student must be in good academic standing and be willing to accept assignments to any geographic location within the continental United States, and be free of any deficiencies or restrictions, academic or other, that would interfere with such an assignment. Students in the Professional Practice Program are required to continue the alternation of academic quarters with professional practice quarters until graduation. Students transferring into the program must satisfactorily complete all remaining quarters on an alternating basis and must be available for a minimum of four professional practice quarters.
Students desiring to participate in the Professional Practice Program must complete the professional development course as designated on their major-field schedules as prerequisite for participation in the program. Transfer students who have not previously completed the professional development course must enroll in the course in the earliest possible school section when it is offered.