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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, and include the following details:    
    • Student’s full name
    • Full name and contact information of company
    • Title of the student position
    • The student’s supervisor and their contact
    • Confirmation that the internship/co-op is full-time
    • Whether the position is paid or unpaid
    • The beginning and end dates of the co-op experience
    • A job description
  • Requests should be submitted no later than Friday before the beginning of the proposed co-op semester/term and at least three weeks before the co-op experience is to begin.
  • Complete the Co-op Application Form online and upload your job offer letter (login with your VT Google credentials is required for accessing the form). 
  • Alert your academic advisor to expect an email notification about the co-op request. The co-op application will be electronically routed to your academic advisor for review and approval; if/when your advisor approves it, it will be forwarded to the Graduate School for a decision. If your advisor denies the request, you will receive email notification about that decision.
  • You will receive email notification when the Graduate School approves or denies the co-op application, or if further information is needed. If approved for an F1/J1 student, the Cranwell International Center or the NCR immigration advisor will be copied on the message as well.
    • Once a co-op request is approved, we will enroll students in the appropriate co-op course
    • International students will have to take the approved Co-op Application to the Cranwell International Center or NCR Immigration Advisor depending on their campus location, and apply for CPT. Should the CPT request be denied by the Cranwell International Center or NCR, 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.