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Graduate Cooperative Education Program

The graduate 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. All graduate students may be authorized for co-op if they meet eligibility requirements. 

 

International Students in F-1 status must be authorized for internship/co-op under Curricular Practical Training (CPT) by a DSO in the Cranwell International Center, after the co-op request has been approved by the Graduate School.  

  • Complete at least one semester of academic work in your program of study
  • Add co-op course to plan of study (GRAD 5944 or GRAD 7944 or required practicum course) – recommended for all students; required for international students
  • Be in good academic standing with a GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Submit co-op application no later than Friday before the beginning of a semester/term and at least two weeks before the proposed co-op experience is to begin
  • Additional requirements exist for international students based on immigration regulations
  • Co-op experience should be related to field of study
  • Employment should be full-time, largely overlapping with academic semester, if not in the summer (because co-op is a credit-bearing experience, fall and spring co-ops are expected to be about 14-18 weeks in length; summer co-ops 6-12 weeks in length)
  • Must be documented by employment offer letter or contract and approved by academic advisor on co-op request form
  • Additional requirements exist for international students based on immigration regulations
  • Co-op employment may not overlap with an assistantship appointment
  • Co-op engagements are approved for one semester/term at a time
  • Additional restrictions apply to international students based on immigration regulations
  • Provide an employment/co-op offer letter or standard co-op contract form with the following information:
    • The student’s full name
    • The full name of the company
    • The title of the student position
    • The student’s supervisor
    • The supervisor’s contact information
    • Confirmation that the internship/co-op is fulltime
    • Whether the position is paid or unpaid
    • The beginning and end dates of the co-op experience
    • A job description
  • Provide the student with a challenging work experience in an area related to the student’s academic field of study. 
  • Evaluate the student at the end of each semester or summer term 
  • Secure co-op employment offer in writing; offer must meet all of the above criteria.
  • Complete the Co-op Request Form and secure the signature of your academic advisor
  • Submit the Co-op Request Form and job offer letter, and a copy of the department-approved Plan of Study if not yet on file in the Graduate School, to Graduate Student Services (grads@vt.edu)
    • GSS will sign off on the Co-op Request Form, and will enroll US citizen/permanent resident students in the appropriate co-op course
    • International students will have to take the approved Co-op Request Form to the Cranwell International Center and apply for CPT; the co-op course will be added to their schedule by the Graduate School after the CPT (immigration work authorization for the co-op experience) is approved. Should the CPT request be denied by the Cranwell International Center, the co-op approval will be rescinded as well.

At the end of the co-op experience, the employer must complete the co-op evaluation form; submit the completed for to grads@vt.edu.