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Co-Op Program

The Biological Sciences Co-Op program provides a yearlong immersive work experience for students in an industrial setting. Students receive customized training upon entering the program and receive staff and faculty mentoring throughout the year.

Corporate Affiliate Program (BioCAP)

Join the Biological Sciences Corporate Affiliate Program (BioCAP) to build a talent pipeline, attend special events, and collaborate with UC San Diego leadership and faculty.

BioCAP annual membership ($25,000) includes the following benefits:

Access to Division of Biological Sciences Co-Op program

  • Our Co-Op Program is a year-long immersive job experience that includes professional development training for selected students.
    • Companies and faculty advisors identify and support students interested in working at the intersection of biology and other fields, including data science, genomics, chemistry, imaging, and medicine.
    • Co-Op opportunities are promoted directly to eligible Biological Sciences undergraduate students.

Access to a Diverse Talent Pipeline and Special Recruitment Opportunities:

  • UC San Diego graduates the largest number of underrepresented students in STEM fields of any university.
  • Companies build relationships with more than 4,500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students in Biological Sciences.
  • Gain access to this diverse talent pipeline of undergraduate and graduate biology students through:
    • Events: Company customized career fair, and Division of Biological Sciences programs and events, such as onsite or virtual resume review, information sessions, or professional development support
    • Promoting career opportunities: job postings are distributed to student organizations, targeted listservs, undergraduate and graduate student newsletters, and through the Division of Biological Sciences Student Engagement and Opportunities
  • Elevate company brand to build the talent pipeline through opportunities including:
    • Participation in professional development courses
    • BioCAP member guest speaking opportunities in courses and events
    • Engage with students who present their research at special symposia
    • Engage with student organizations and Equity, Diversity and Includsion (EDI) groups

Engage with Faculty and Other BioCAP Members to Explore Areas of Common Interest:

  • Faculty seminar series: BioCAP members participate in exclusive networking seminars designed to engage with faculty to explore areas of mutual interest
  • BioCAP member seminar series: Participate as a speaker at the signature BioCAP speaker series, and network with faculty and fellow BioCAP members

Co-Op Program

Building the next generation of leaders in the life sciences industry

The Biological Sciences Cooperative Education (Co-Op) Program was launched in Summer 2021, and provides a yearlong immersive work experience for students in an industrial setting and is open to undergraduate students of all majors. Students receive customized training upon entering the program, and receive staff and faculty mentoring throughout the year. Students describe their accomplishments and experience with a final presentation at the end of the program to the incoming cohort.

Co-Op partner companies offer students a variety of positions in many areas, including laboratory research, clinical research, engineering, data science, product development, project management, marketing and communications, business development, sales, and more.

We are proud to launch the Co-Op Program with our Founding Partners, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Catalent, Inc.

Sectors of current Co-Op partner companies include biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, and collectively span broad areas, including scientific instrumentation, reagents and consumables, software services, delivery technologies, delivery technologies, development, drug manufacturing, biologics, gene therapies, and consumer health products.

Recruitment Calendar

  • Recruitment: September through December
    • The soft deadline for a company to join BioCAP is Sept. 15 in order to recruit students throughout the fall quarter for Co-Op positions that will start the following summer. Companies interested in joining are to contact
    • Co-Op positions are promoted promoted to majors that a company is seeking, with a targeted marketing approach on diversity recruitment through student organizations, campus cultural centers, and groups with diversity initiatives, such as BUMMP.
    • Companies post Co-Op positions on Handshake and students apply to positions through Handshake.
  • Students accept offer: By March 15
    • The hard deadline for companies to offer Co-Op positions to students and for students to accept their offer is March 15 so that students can enroll in the required course, BILD 82 Job and Internship Preparation: Professional Development, that is offered in spring prior to starting their Co-Op position in summer.
  • Students start Co-Op position: June or July
    • Companies select the start date for Co-Op positions. It is suggested that positions start in late-June or early-July. For exceptions, please email


  • Students apply to Co-Op positions in fall and accept their offer by March 15.
  • Students take BILD 82 Job and Internship Preparation: Professional Development Skills in the spring quarter, a course that prepares them for the co-op experience that begins in the summer.
  • Students generally start Co-Op positions in June or July. The company determines the start date.
  • For Summer 2021 only, international students must enroll in BILD 98 in order to apply for CPT authorization. To enroll in BILD 98, please email once you receive your offer letter. In Fall 2021 and Winter 2022, courses for your degree can provide for eligibility to apply for CPT.
  • Throughout the Co-Op Program, students will receive professional development training from faculty and staff Co-Op advisors that focuses on soft skills, including communication, leadership, problem-solving, and critical thinking.


  • It's suggested that students work full-time in the summer, and part-time during the academic year. Hours per week and schedule are determined by employer and student.
  • Faculty and staff Co-Op advisors meet with students to provide mentoring and assess the skills developed during their Co-Op experience, as students are required to describe these skills and their Co-Op experience to the incoming Co-Op cohort in spring (see "Completion" section).
  • Faculty and staff Co-Op advisors also provide students with professional development training that focuses on soft skills, including communication, leadership, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
  • At the end of each quarter, the student meets with the Co-Op faculty and staff advisors, and the student and the company submit an online evaluation to monitor progress and address any opportunities for improvement.


  • During the spring quarter, Co-Op students who are working during the academic year will return as guest speakers to BILD 82 to give a final presentation about their co-op experience, where they will describe their role at the company, their accomplishments, and what they learned.

Key Benefits

  • Industry: Company gains access to a diverse talent pipeline of highly motivated and competitively trained students.
  • Students: Co-Op students gain a more immersive work experience than a traditional internship. Co-Op students are typically hired at a higher rate and salary than non-Co-Op students.
  • University: UC San Diego gains successful placement of students into competitive industry positions. University-Industry partnership provides information about top industry recruitment needs.
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