Graduate Co-op at Georgia Tech is an innovative approach to experiential learning. The program was established in 1983 and is currently the largest graduate co-op program in the United States in which students of all majors are eligible to participate. The program provides all graduate students the opportunity to work with industry and governmental leaders in their respective areas of study. Students receive approval from their major school to work full or part-time assignments during any semester. Graduate Co-op students may not work more than two consecutive full-time semesters before returning to school for classes.
There are no fees associated with the Graduate Co-op Program. Students are enrolled through their registration in a 12 audit hour graduate co-op course. This permits students to retain all privileges of full-time enrolled students while on work assignments. The Graduate Co-op Program is available to masters and doctoral level students who are in good standing and maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA.
At the graduate level, internships and co-op work assignments mean the same thing at Georgia Tech. Although graduate students may work internships without enrollment credit at Georgia Tech, co-ops/internships registered through the Career Center’s Graduate Co-op Program are recorded on your transcript as full-time, no-cost, audit credit. This allows you to maintain your enrollment status while you gain full-time work experience in your field. Some benefits to this continuity of enrollment include continuation of student benefits such as library access and the opportunity to pay optional student fees for the Campus Recreation facility, health and wellness center, or for Athletic Association events.
For international students, registration of your internship through the Graduate Co-op Program qualifies your off-campus work assignment as a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) experience; this allows you to postpone using your limited Optional Practical Training (OPT) until after graduation.
Graduate co-op assignments require academic department approval and enrollment approval from the Grad Co-op Office in the Georgia Tech Career Center (at the Bill Moore Student Success Center).
Masters: Academic Adviser or Graduate Coordinator
Doctoral: Academic Adviser/Graduate Coordinator and Faculty Adviser
Students are eligible to participate in the Graduate Cooperative Education Program after completion of at least one academic semester of graduate study at Georgia Tech. Students receiving undergraduate degrees from Georgia Tech who have been admitted to a Georgia Tech graduate program may seek academic departmental approval to work during their first semester of graduate study.
Can International Students participate in the Graduate Co-op Program?Can International Students participate in the Graduate Co-o
es! The Graduate Co-op Program is a great tool for further development of your career skills through experiential education. Registration of your internship through the Graduate Co-op Program qualifies your off-campus work assignment as a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) experience; this allows you to postpone using your limited Optional Practical Training (OPT) until after graduation. A graduate co-op work assignment using CPT may be approved for any semester prior to your graduation: fall, spring or summer.
International students on F-1 visas who register full-time internships as Grad Co-op assignments are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) There is no limit to how much CPT may be worked as long as it is approved as an academic part of your degree. However, if you work more than 365 days of Full-Time CPT, you will forfeit 100% of your OPT available to you at your current degree level. Most students are not willing to give up the after graduation OPT, so students coordinate their CPT work amount with OIE so they do not exceed 365 days of FT CPT.
Part-time CPT is currently not counted toward that 365 day amount that leads to OPT forfeiture. Note, part-time CPT is available up to a maximum of 20 hours’ work per week.
The Graduate Cooperative Education Program allows the flexibility to work full-time or part-time with academic departmental approval. Graduate students may not exceed twenty-one hours credit in a given semester, including the audit hours awarded for Graduate Co-op work assignments. Part-time Graduate Co-op classes are available.
Students who work fifteen to twenty hours per week register for COOP 6009. This class awards nine hours audit credit. Students who work ten to fourteen hours per week register for COOP 6006, which awards six hours audit credit. Students may receive special approval to work fewer than ten hours per week and will enroll in COOP 6003 which awards three hours audit credit. No fewer than six hours work per week will be considered for Graduate Co-op credit.
Graduate Co-op classes are approved for a minimum number of weeks equal to the time scheduled for academic classes at the Atlanta campus. Graduate Co-op students must work a minimum of 16 weeks for a fall and spring semester work assignment. Summer work assignments must be a minimum of ten weeks. No partial semester work assignments are approved for Graduate Co-op credit except in some International Internship situations.
All Graduate Co-op work assignments must be related to your academic major. Graduate Co-op assignments must be paid, although compensation varies from one employer to another. Each Graduate Co-op student is asked to provide updated contact information on their work supervisor; at the end of the work semester, the work supervisor will receive an e-mail request to complete an online performance evaluation of the Grad Co-op student. Finally, each student is asked to log into the Career Center’s software, CareerBuzz, to complete a work report at the end of each Graduate Co-op work assignment.
After a student accepts an offer for internship or co-op, changes to a different employer for the same work semester are not allowed. If an offer from a different employer is made after you have already accepted, you may discuss the possibility of working with the new employer on a different semester than the term you have already committed to work.