Frequently Asked Questions

Click on any of the questions below to view the answer to that question

Q1. Is Coop obligatory?

Yes, Coop is obligatory. However, you might be eligible for an exemption from Coop if you have had previous relevant work experience. If this is the case, you should contact the Cooperative Education & Careers Division for details.

Q2. Can I organise my own Coop job?

Yes but it must be approved as being suitable and relevant to your academic programme by the Cooperative Education & Careers Division. If you want to organise your own Coop job, you should complete an Own Placement Form and return this, together with a written job offer, to your Placement Officer. Please note that the deadline for submissions is Week 1 of the Semester prior to your placement.

Q3. Can I apply for a placement in more than one country?

Generally speaking, you must choose between a placement in mainland Europe, the US or Ireland and it is not possible for your CV to be circulated in more than one market. The exception to this is the UK market where it may be possible to be considered for placement in the UK and Ireland simultaneously.

Q4. Do I have to accept the first job offer that I receive?

Yes, you must accept the first job offer you receive.

Q5. What happens if I don't get a Coop job?

UL provides an alternative programme for you if you have not been placed. You will receive the same credits for satisfactory completion of this programme as you would for Coop. As part of the alternative programme, you will normally be required to take up to three extra academic modules. In certain cases it is possible to apply to have summer work experience recognised as equivalent to one module, thereby reducing the number of modules to two. Alternative programme meetings are held in advance of each academic semester. During these meetings placement updates are reviewed and the process is outlined whereby unplaced students identify, select, and register for prescribed modules. You will be notified regarding the Alternative Programme by your Cooperative Education Manager in advance of the commencement of the relevant Cooperative Education placement period.

Q6. How much will I earn?

There is no set pay for Coop placements. A minimum salary is recommended to cover your living expenses but there is some variation in what is paid by individual employers. The market determines the rate of pay.


Q7. What will I do if I have a problem at work?

While on Coop some students experience difficulties with their work/workplace. If a problem arises, you will firstly need to speak to your direct supervisor to explain the difficulties you are experiencing. If this fails to resolve the situation, you should contact the Cooperative Education & Careers Division (CECD) and either a member of CECD team or an academic member of staff will contact the company on your behalf. You must not leave your placement without the permission of the Cooperative Education & Careers Division. To do so could result in failing your Coop and/or delaying your graduation.

Q8. Do I have to pay Tax/PRSI while on Coop?

In most cases, you will be required to pay tax on your earnings. Make sure you contact your local tax office before you start your Coop job. For further details, consult www.revenue.ie.

Q9. Will the company send me a contract?

Some companies will require you to sign a contract. This will be sent to your home address prior to your placement. You should read and sign the contract and return it to your employer immediately. Don't worry if you don't receive a contract as many employers are more informal in their approach.

Q10. Am I entitled to holidays while on Coop?

You have no automatic entitlement to holidays while on Coop. However, given that you are a temporary employee, most companies will give you the minimum statutory entitlement for the length of time worked.

Q11. What is the minimum length of time that I can spend on Coop?

All students have to complete their eight-month placement unless there are extenuating and exceptional circumstances. The exception is the Humanities programmes which have a six month placement.

Q12. How is Coop evaluated?

Coop is a formal and academically accredited element of your degree programme. Your Coop grade is decided by an Academic member on a pass-fail basis. This grade is based on your employer's evaluation of your performance and your Coop report.

If you are doing Coop in Ireland, you can expect to be contacted by an Academic member of staff to arrange an evaluation visit. You will be contacted in advance of the visit and you must be available on the day. The purpose of the visit is to review your progress with the employer and to get your feedback on your placement to date. On the basis of their discussion with you and your employer, the Academic member returns an interim evaluation form to the Cooperative Education & Careers Division for review. A final assessment of your placement is completed by your employer towards the end of your placement.

For students doing global placements, we try to arrange academic visits where practical. If this isn't possible, an academic member will contact you by telephone. In the event of your not being visited, your Coop will be graded on the basis of your final employer evaluation and your report.

Academic visitors are allocated by your academic department. To find out your Academic Visitor, just contact your relevant Placement Officer.