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Cooperative Education

Application Deadline: None

Applications may be submitted at any time. However, students wishing to start work in summer should submit their application by March 1. Students wishing to start work in September should submit their application by May 1 in order to receive maximum consideration.

Appointments are made primarily during the academic year and typically available to students after completion of two semesters.

Argonne has two types of CO-OP Programs:

  • Alternating (semester at Argonne, followed by semester at college/university)
  • Parallel (part-time work to a maximum of 19 hours per week during the school year concurrent with full-time college/university enrollment). Students can work full-time during the summer.

A student who is employed in the CO-OP Program is expected to work a minimum of one year as a parallel CO-OP or three semesters as an alternating CO-OP. Graduate CO-OP opportunities are available to students while they are attending graduate schools in the Chicago area.

For more information, contact

Lisa Reed
Cooperative Education Program
Communications, Education and Public Affairs Division
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 South Cass Avenue
Argonne, IL 60439-4845


Chemistry co-op student Sara Busking loads a lithium-ion battery cell in a pouch into a test oven to evaluate its electrochemical performance. Pouch cells provide a convenient low-cost flexible packaging system for situations that require unusual shapes and sizes such as the vest battery requires.


Students who are selected will be notified by email. The email will include the official offer package providing details of the project, salary, travel reimbursement, etc.

Financial Information

Salaries are competitive and are based upon the field of study and academic year status of the student.

Transportation Reimbursement

Students cannot be reimbursed for travel expenses for an interview trip. Transportation expenses are reimbursed for one round trip between your home or academic institution (the address on the student's driver's license will be used to establish eligibility for travel reimbursement) and the facility. Travel will only be paid for student's whose permanent addresses established by your driver's license is more than fifty miles away from Argonne. Transportation expenses will be reimbursed on the basis of the most direct route. Travel by a private automobile will be reimbursed at the current government mileage rate. Travel by air will be reimbursed at the cost of the lowest commercial airfare. Travel arrangements are arranged by the host Division at Argonne.


Apartment type lodging facility is available on site. All housing arrangements for single students or married students traveling without their spouse are handled by the Argonne Guest House.

Application Requirements

The application requirements include two (2) letters of recommendation. Applicants are encouraged to make the requests for recommendation letters as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of the applicant to inform their recommenders that they must submit the recommendation letter. Letters should be sent by email or fax to the address listed below. Also required is a CO-Op Verification Form.

Application Access

Frequently Asked Questions - Cooperative Education Program

  • Are non-U.S. citizens eligible?

Yes, but you must have Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval on your 1-20 from your campus foreign student advisor.

  • I'm an undergraduate student, but I won't be 18 years old for another year. If this program is for undergraduate students, why can't I participate?

Eighteen is the minimum age for participation regardless of your education level.

  • Do I have to have health insurance coverage to apply or can I wait until I'm selected to acquire it?

You do not have to have health insurance at the time of applying, but you must have health insurance in order to begin your appointment.

  • Can I transfer my previous recommendations to my new application?

No, letters of recommendations cannot be transferred from previous applications.

  • Who should I get to write my letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation should be requested from individuals familiar with your academic achievements and your academic or professional accomplishments. College faculty members who teach science, technology, engineering, or mathematics courses are the best references, but you may also use lab assistants, teaching assistants, or employers (only if they are in a research setting).

  • Am I required to submit transcripts?

No, transcripts are not required

  • Can I get in touch with scientists in areas I've chosen? Is this advisable?

Yes. As you explore Argonne's websites, you may identify scientists, programs, or divisions you would like to contact. The more you know about a group, the better chance you have of making a choice appropriate to your interests and skills. HOWEVER, potential research advisors are NOT authorized to offer you an appointment. If you are selected you must receive an official letter from the Educational Programs at Argonne.

  • Will you let me know if I am missing parts of my application?

No, it is your responsibility to ensure that your application is complete and received before the deadline.

  • How does the selection process work?

To be considered, an applicant must meet all eligibility criteria and have submitted an application comprising of all required materials. Prior to the merit assessment and evaluation, an initial review of all applications will be conducted to verify applicant eligibility and ensure all the required application materials have been provided. If a staff member has an interest in an application, an interview is scheduled.

  • What are my chances of getting selected?

The chances of being selected depend on many factors: the number of applications submitted, the number of available opportunities and the availability of funds. These factors vary each year so it is not possible to determine an individual's chances of being selected for any given time period.

  • When and how will I find out if I've been selected?

Students who are selected will be notified by email. The email will include the official offer package providing details of the project, salary, travel reimbursement, etc.

  • If I don't get selected immediately, will my application be reviewed automatically for open positions as they become available or do I have to reapply?

Yes, your current application will continue to be reviewed for open positions up to six months. You would then need to submit an updated application.

  • If I request a certain field of study am I guaranteed to be placed in it if I am accepted into the program?

Argonne tries to match to the extent possible applicant's research interests with available research projects and research advisors, but this is not always possible. Please keep in mind that researchers read your applications carefully and look for students who they think would benefit from being in their lab.

  • Do I get any vacation during the appointment period?

The program does not include vacation, holiday, or sick leave. You are not expected to be present on days that Argonne is closed due to a holiday. Most research advisors will help you design a schedule that is mutually agreeable.

  • How often do I receive payment?

    Students are paid on a bi-weekly basis. However, you will not receive your first payment until 4 weeks after the start of your appointment.


Last update: August 5, 2014

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