The co-op experience is intended to be an integral part of a graduate student's academic program, providing on-the-job experience that satisfies academic requirements such as a practicum, or allowing students to apply knowledge they have acquired through course work or research as they progress to degree completion.
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 (9 months) in F-1 status.
- Have an approved plan of study with co-op course included (it is sufficient to have the POS entered and approved by the academic department).
- Be in good academic standing with a GPA of at least 3.0.
- Have a full-time employment offer, related to your field of study, for one full academic term (fall, spring, or summer):
- No less than 6 weeks during summer (generally 6-12 weeks)
- No less than 14 weeks during fall and spring (generally 14-16 weeks)
- Start/end dates largely overlapping with academic terms
- Have the approval of your academic advisor as indicated on the signed Academic Advisor's Recommendation form.
- F-1 students must carry health insurance that meets university requirements.
- No part-time co-op will be approved.
- Employment as an independent contractor does not qualify for co-op.
- Co-op employment is authorized for one semester at a time.
- Approval for a co-op extension is not guaranteed; requests for extension will be considered only if there is a compelling academic reason for an extended co-op period or the co-op work is essential to completing degree requirements.
- Co-op employment is generally not approved in a student’s last semester, unless there is a compelling academic reason and the proposed employment is essential for the completion of degree requirements.
- Co-op employment is not to be considered a form of financial aid and may not be used to facilitate employment.
- International students who accumulate 12-months (365 days) of full-time Co-op (CPT) will forfeit the Optional Practical Training (OPT) benefit.
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 of employment, including start/end dates, job duties, location, and supervisor's name and contact.
- 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.
- Submit application and supporting documents at least 3 weeks prior to the proposed start date.
- 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.
- You will be billed for the one-credit co-op course and you must pay the associated tuition.
- You will be issued an evaluation form to be completed by your co-op supervisor at the end of your employment; this form must be returned to the Graduate School.
- International students will be issued a new I-20 with Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval.
Fall or Spring Semester:
Monday, one week before classes begin
Applications will be accepted until June 30.
Submit applications at least 3 weeks before the proposed start date to allow sufficient time for processing.
For further information, please call 540-231-8486 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.