A graduate student working on an art project at Virginia Tech

Cooperative education is a unique opportunity for graduate students to gain valuable on-the-job experience to enhance their academic training while pursuing a degree program. Professional employment allows Co-op students not only to apply the knowledge they have acquired in class but also to gain a new perspective on their major fields of study. Therefore, a Co-op experience is intended to be an integral part of a graduate student's academic program.


Eligibility Criteria for Graduate Cooperative Education

  • Have completed at least one semester of academic work at Virginia Tech
    • International students may qualify after two academic semesters in F-1 status.
  • Have an approved plan of study.
  • Be in good academic standing, with a GPA of at least 3.0 (B average).
  • Have a full-time employment offer, related to your field of study, for one full academic term (fall, spring, or summer).
  • NO part-time CPT will be approved.
  • Have the approval of your academic advisor, including the completion of and signature on an Academic Advisor's Recommendation form.
  • Carry health insurance that meets university requirements.
  • F1 students must maintain insurance during CPT.
  • International students who accumulate 12-months (365 days) of full-time Co-op (CPT) will forfeit the Optional Practical Training (OPT) benefit.
  • Work full-time for at least one academic term.


Procedures for Participation in a Graduate Co-op Program

  • Contact prospective employers and discuss the suitability of a job offer with your academic advisor
  • Complete the Co-op Application and attach the following documents to the form:
    • Academic Advisor's Recommendation form
    • Employment offer letter stating the terms (including dates) of employment, job duties, and supervisor's name
    • A copy of your approved plan of study (International students must submit a plan of study that includes the Co-op course GRAD 5944 or GRAD 7944 or the required course for the practicum)
    • A copy of all previous I-20 forms, if you are an international student.
  • If you work beyond a 50 mile radius of Blacksburg, your department may request a waiver of your comprehensive fees by contacting the Bursar's office.
  • The Graduate School will add the Co-op course (GRAD 5944 or GRAD 7944) to your transcript, which will designate you as a full-time student while on your Co-op assignment.
    • One-credit Co-op course enrollment and associated tuition payment required
  • International students will be issued a new I-20 with Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval.


Application Deadlines

Fall or Spring Semester:
Monday, one week before classes begin

Summer Semester:
Applications will be accepted until June 30. Since summer applications require approximately two weeks processing time, early submission is highly encouraged.


Note: Cooperative Education is not to be considered a form of financial aid and will not provide adequate funding to support educational costs.

For further information, please call 540-231-8486 or email igss@vt.edu.