Econ 391: Economics Cooperative Education

This course provides Economics majors and minors practical experience applying the knowledge and skills acquired in formal course work. As you would expect, for work experience to count towards Econ 391 credit, it must involve some application of economics.

The focus of Economics 391 is long-term supervised work experience--the course requires two-semester work commitment and is closely monitored by staff from the Employment and Cooperative Education office. You may repeat the course one more semester, which depends upon both faculty and employer approval. You can count up to a maximum of 3 credits towards the economics major or minor, and any credits above that will be used towards your overall graduation credits but not towards the Economics major/minor.

If you are more interested in a short-term commitment with less supervision you should enroll in Econ 390, the Internship for Economics course.


Prerequisite: A 3.0 GPA or better is required. You must also have successfully completed Econ 300 and 301 and have at least two semesters remaining before graduation.

Finding a Position: You should visit the Center for Career Development and Student Employment website to search for Co-op openings. Econ Co-op jobs must involve the application of economics to be approved by the Undergraduate Advisor. For details, please see the section on How to Sign Up. If you are an international student you should talk to to get an approval to work off campus.

Enrolling in Econ 391: You must use a Co-op permission form available from the Center for Career Development and Student Employment office (2600 Campus Road #212 (Queen Lili‘uokalani Center for Student Services) phone 956-8136) or from the Economics Department Undergraduate Adviser.

You may enroll in Econ 391 for up to 3 credit hours. The number of credits should be choosen in consultation with your faculty advisor. Ideally, you should pick a position, a faculty advisor, and obtain approval of the position and academic coursework from your faculty advisor and the undergraduate Economics advisor before the start of the semester. You may enroll in Econ 391 only after obtaining an approved position. The latest you can enroll in 391 is the regular add/drop deadline for that semester. You and your employer must also sign a mandatory waiver form before you sign up for this course.

Coursework: Two short papers and one oral presentation to the Econ Co-op Seminar are required. The first paper serves as your Co-op proposal and outlines your goals and objectives for the internship. This proposal is due during the second week of the semester, should be 1-3 pages long, and should describe:

  • the position that you are taking,
  • the contact information of your supervisor at work,
  • the days and hours of work,
  • the pay-scale of your position,
  • your goals and objectives during your internship,
  • and what you hope to learn from the internship.

    Your second paper (3-5 pages long) will be presented to the Econ Co-op Seminar and is due the last week of classes. This paper should describe:

  • your accomplishments during your co-op.
  • your progress towards meeting your goals and objectives?
  • any lessons you learned during your internship (both positive and negative);
  • the relationship between your internship job and the Economics knowledge and skills that you acquired at UH;

    In addition, you are expected to keep in contact with your faculty advisor regularly throughout the semester and keep your advisor apprised of your progress. The Center for Career Development and Student Employment will regularly contact your employer and monitor progress (minimum 10 hours per week completed, job performances, etc.) through e-journals. The requirements above are the minimum requirements for this course. The faculty advisor retains the right to ask for more quantity and quality before he/she agrees to be your advisor.

    How to Sign Up:

    1. Discuss the Co-op with the Undergraduate Adviser and obtain the internship permission from him or the Office of Student Affairs. The Undergraduate Advisor will also help you find the appropriate advisor.
    2. Discuss the Co-op with your advisor. Obtain permission from your advisor for the Co-op internship. He or she may also refuse to sign if he or she decides that the internship is not relevant to the study of economics.
    3. Sign the mandatory waiver form (both you and the employer) and return the form to the undergraduate Economics advisor.
    4. Return the signed form to the Office of Student Affairs, and register for Econ 391.

    Professional Appearance/ Courtesy: Econ internships involve interaction with professionals outside the casual campus atmosphere at UH. Student interns represent both the Economics Department and the University and must conduct themselves professionally. Be prepared to honor all of your commitments during the semester.

    You may want to contact the Center for Career Development and Student Employment (2600 Campus Road #212 phone 956-8136) for advice on how to produce a resume and a cover letter. The office can also help you develop interview skills and other job skills.