Graduate Student Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Graduate Cooperative Education (Grad Co-op) Program?
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.

What is the difference between graduate co-op and graduate internships?
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 Center for Career Discovery and Development’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.

When may I apply to participate in the Graduate Cooperative Education Program?
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. 

As a BS/MS program participant, when can I participate as a Graduate Co-op?                                   
BS/MS degree students at Georgia Tech may seek academic departmental approval to work during their first semester of graduate study.  Due to the change in degree level, F-1 visa holders must complete at least one semester of graduate study to be eligible for off-campus work authorization in the U.S.

How are graduate students matched with employers?
Most students find jobs by networking through their major schools and professional associations or by conducting their own research on companies. All graduate students enrolled at Georgia Tech are eligible to participate in on-campus career fairs and apply for jobs posted in CareerBuzz, maintained by The Center for Career Discovery and Development.

How and when do program participants interview for employment?
Each semester many employer representatives come to campus to interview and hire graduate co-ops and interns.  Employers arrange on campus interviews through the C2D2 software, CareerBuzz. The Grad Co-op adviser can provide assistance with a job search or applying for positions posted in Careerbuzz.

What skills and traits are employers seeking in the students they hire?
Most employers are interested in academic excellence, good oral and written communication skills, maturity, motivation, and flexibility.

What is the cost for a Graduate Co-op work semester?
No tuition or fees are paid to register a full-time work term; however, students may pay rent for campus housing or elect to pay optional fees for athletic events, health services, and campus recreation. 

Can International Students participate in the Graduate Co-op Program?
Yes!  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. 

Can I work part-time as a Grad Co-op?
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. 

Can I work part-time as a Grad Co-op and keep my GRA/TA?
Most major schools at Georgia Tech do not allow graduate students to work as a GRA/TA and as a Graduate Co-op.  Because all Graduate Co-op/Internship assignments must be approved by the major school academic advisor, consult the specific school’s academic advisor for clarification.

How do I find a graduate co-op job?
Most graduate students network through their major department or professors to identify Graduate Co-op opportunities closely related to their research interests.  All Georgia Tech graduate students are encouraged to sign up for CareerBuzz through The Center for Career Discovery and Development, take advantage of various career fairs organized throughout the year, and to apply for appropriate positions listed on CareerBuzz.

I am an international student on F-1 visa; when can I start work?
International students on F-1 visas must attend at least two academic semesters of classes at any college or university in the U.S. before becoming eligible to work off-campus in the U.S.

Work assignments in the international student’s home country or a third country may be approved after at least one semester of graduate enrollment at Georgia Tech.

Do I receive academic credit for my graduate co-op/internship?
Graduate co-ops must complete all curriculum requirements for their major.  During full-time work terms, students register for a twelve-hour audit co-op class to maintain full-time status.  As a result, each work term appears on the student’s transcript.  The audited co-op class does not count toward the academic credits required for a degree.  The same is true for the audit credit students take when they register for part-time co-op classes. 

I received a grade of “V” for my Grad Co-op course; what does that mean?
The “V” on transcripts for Graduate Co-op work assignments is the standard satisfactory grade awarded for any non-fee based audit course at Georgia Tech.  Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory and Pass/Fail grades are reserved for academic credit bearing classes that require tuition.

This sounds too simple. What requirements must I satisfy for Co-op credit?
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 C2D2’s software, CareerBuzz, to complete a work report at the end of each Graduate Co-op work assignment.