Kettering University students spend their first four years alternating three month terms, either attending classes on campus or working full-time for their co-op employers. This schedule ensures that students do not lose sight of the relationship between what they are taught in the classroom and what they learn on the job.
During their fifth year, students continue the three month rotation for the first two terms. The final two terms are typically spent entirely at work as students complete a thesis project that has been developed jointly by the employer and the student. This project tackles a challenge faced at the work site and culminates in the preparation of a published thesis. Employers find that these projects are valuable additions to the professional development of their co-op employees and often result in large savings for their organization.
Kettering’s academic year begins in July. The student body is divided in two sections (A and B) of roughly equal size. While A-section students are on campus taking classes, B-section students are working for their co-op employer. The sections alternate every three months.
This schedule enables students to complete all graduation requirements within the expected five years and to gain solid, progressive work experience along the way-which results in a significant reduction of on-the-job-training time after graduation. This pattern also allows employers to employ students year-round by hiring students in pairs.