In Germany we have the Cooperative State University. Doing your bachelor’s degree at this university works as follows:

  • You will first need to find a company that employs you for this type of study
  • This company then will register you at the university
  • In roughly 3 month cycles you switch between working full time and studying full time
  • Working here means a form of apprenticeship where they give you tasks that help you with your studies
  • The whole program goes for 3 years and you will end it with a bachelor’s degree
  • Over these 3 years the company is paying you (like an apprenticeship)

You must keep in mind that universities in Germany are free and paid by the state.

At a normal university it is also possible to partially work at a job (with a limit on hours per week), but that is a different concept and should not be confused with the type of study program I'm talking about here.

What I'm looking for is a English word for the employment relationship.

The last employment relationship I mentioned (regarding normal universities) is just called "Student Employee".

In German, the word for the employment relationship of a student in this work & study program is "Dualer Student" what roughly translates into "Dual Student". In the USA there doesn't seem to be a similar concept, probably because the universities aren't free to begin with. In Australia and the UK, a dual study program seems to refer to a different type of concept. It seems to stand for programs where students study at two different universities at the same time.

Does any English speaking country have a similar study program?

If yes, how is a student of such a program called and how is the employment relationship of this student called?

I'm currently writing my CV. I worked at the same company in conjunction to such a program and also for my master’s degree as a normal student employee. I want to differentiate both employment relationships since they are quite different.

  • 1
    Apprenticeship programs exist in the US, also, though I think they are not very common. But the term apprentice should be clear.
    – Greg Lee
    Mar 2, 2019 at 15:18

2 Answers 2


In the US this type of educational program is frequently called a co-op program and the students in such a program are called "co-op students" or even informally "co-ops".

We've had a long-standing relationship with the university and have taken on many co-ops over the years.

The following internet search will bring you to discussions of these programs that might give you additional vocabulary you may need: US universities with work co-op programs.


In British English, students may be on "day release" (one or two days a week) or "block release" (several weeks or months at a time) and may be said to be "on [a] placement"


The period of work placement may be called an internship

"The School offers a MSci in Statistics with work placement degree. The degree allows students to combine work experience with their degree by spending one-year working full-time as a Statistical Analyst.

Students spend the first three years at The University of Glasgow, their fourth year on a full time-internship position"


The principle differences between ordinary employment and an internship are that an internship is not covered by minimum wage regulations, and students would normally be expected to keep a work diary, produce a portfolio, or obtain a satisfactory report from the employer as part of their degree qualification.

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