Drexel University is a private research university with its main campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1891 by Anthony J. Drexel, a financier and philanthropist. Founded as Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry, it was renamed Drexel Institute of Technology in 1936, before assuming its current name in 1970.
As of 2020, more than 24,000 students were enrolled in over 70 undergraduate programs and more than 100 master’s, doctoral, and professional programs at the university. Drexel’s cooperative education program (co-op) is a prominent aspect of the school’s degree programs, offering students the opportunity to gain up to 18 months of paid, full-time work experience in a field relevant to their undergraduate major or graduate degree program prior to graduation.
Although there were many changes during its first century, the university’s identity has been held constant as a privately controlled, non-sectarian, coeducational center of higher learning, distinguished by a commitment to practical education and hands-on experience in an occupational setting. The central aspect of Drexel University’s focus on career preparation, in the form of its cooperative education program, was introduced in 1919. The program became integral to the university’s unique educational experience. Participating students alternate periods of classroom-based study with periods of full-time, practical work experience related to their academic major and career interests.