Co-op and CPT -- Graduate (graduate/coop)
Graduate Co-op Program and Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a program that allows international students studying full time on an F-1 visa to work off campus and thereby acquire practical experience and make contacts that might be helpful for post-graduation employment. The Computer Science department offers two ways for a student to participate in CPT:
- Cooperative Education (Admission to the Co-op program is not guaranteed for all students)
- Our dedicated CPT course, CS 703
Students who are admitted to the Co-op program will have the opportunity to interview with employers who have been invited to advertise their open positions to Stevens students. The interview may or may not result in a job offer. A Co-op position is a full-time, one-semester paid position at the sponsoring company. Despite working full time, the student's status as a full-time student is preserved. Participation in the Co-op program is not automatic and students must apply for it following the directions below.
The second path to CPT is CS 703, a graded one-credit course. Enrollment in this course permits a student to have an off-campus job, provided that the job activity supports the student's educational program. The job may be full time or part time; regardless, the student must maintain his/her status as a full time student by taking at least 9 credits. Students enrolled in this course must submit several written reports and one oral report for grading.
The advantage of CPT via Co-op is that the student need not seek a job him/herself; the disadvantage is that there are eligibility requirements (such as GPA and courses taken) that the student may not meet. The advantage of CPT via CS 703 is that there are no GPA/background requirements; the disadvantage is that the student must locate his/her own job.
M.S. Cooperative Education Program
The Computer Science department offers a Cooperative Education Program available to Graduate Students, including International Students.
By entering the Co-op program, students are able to work full time during a semester. International students accepted in the program are allowed to apply for a CPT.
Below is information on:
How to Qualify
In order to qualify for the Co-op program, you must be a full-time graduate student with an F-1 Visa and meet the following program requirements:
- Complete two full-time semesters of study prior to a Co-op work term (At least one full-time semester before application, generally two, and one full-time semester enrolled in the Co-op program before the Work term)
- Last-semester students are not allowed to apply as they should apply for an OPT instead of CPT
- A 3.5 GPA in all courses taken while enrolled for your M.S. degree at Stevens
MS in Computer Science Students
- Complete 4 CS courses by the time you apply, including one from the core set of CS courses (CS510, CS520, CS561, CS573, CS600)
MS in Cybersecurity Students
- Complete at least 4 CS courses, at least 3 of which must be from the core set of CySec courses (CS 503, CS 520, CS 573, CS578, CS579, CS600, CS 665/675)
MS in Enterprise Security and Risk Management Students
- Complete at least 4 CS, TM or MIS courses, at least 3 of which must be from the core set of CS courses (CS 506, CS 548, CS CS578, CS594)
MS in Service Oriented Computing
- Complete at least 4 SOC, CS or SSW courses, at least 3 of which must be from the core set of SOC courses (SOC 606, SOC 611, SOC 510, SOC 542, SOC 605)
How To Apply
In order to apply for the Co-op program you must:
- Attend an orientation meeting with the director of the Co-op program Prof. Steven Gabarró.
Meetings usually take place the first or second day of the Spring and Fall semesters. Attendance is mandatory if you intend on applying so schedule your travel plans accordingly. An email is usually sent a week prior to the meeting with more information about it. You will be contacted via your pipeline email address
- Fill out an application form provided during the orientation meeting.
You will be asked for courses taken as well as your Campus-Wide ID and email address
- If you fulfill all requirements, have an oral interview with Prof. Gabarró
The interview is used to assess your motivation as well as your level of spoken English.
Failure to comply with any of these steps will result in automatic disqualification from the Co-op program
If You Are Accepted
If you are recommended to the Co-op program you will need to fulfill the following requirements:
- If you are an International student, provide a completed CPT form from the International Student Advisor.
- Attend all Work Place Preparation Meetings conducted by the Office of Cooperative Education.
These include Introduction Meeting, Resume Writing, Interviewing Techniques, Making the Most of Your Co-op Assignment, and Ethics in the Work place from an IT Perspective. Missing any meeting will result in your removal from the program.
- Be available to interview for positions identified by the Co-op Staff.
- All Cooperative Education positions are full-time work for the duration of one semester or two consecutive semesters.
Work terms available are Spring, Spring/Summer and Summer/Fall
- Upon your acceptance of a position, the Office of Cooperative Education will enroll you in D701 and you will be charged an administrative fee of $400.00 for the semester.
- Participate in a mid-term visit at your work site with you, your manager, faculty advisor and Co-op staff member
- In order to receive a pass/fail grade on your transcript for zero credits, you and your manager must complete and sign: the Learning Agreement, Snap-Shot and End of Term Assessment forms.
- All positions will be generated by the Co-op Office.
- You may not take any more than two graduate classes while on a Co-op assignment.
- You may participate in a second Co-op work term after completing an additional semester of full-time study
- Student participation in Co-op cannot be the reason for a program extension.
- Graduate students on a Co-op work term may NOT be eligible for graduate assistantships, on campus employment or support from the college or the university.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are our most frequently asked questions.
Q: I have a company interested in hiring me. Can I join the Co-op program?
A: NO, but you may be able to use CS703 (see below). All Co-op jobs will be fulfilled through the Co-op office.
Q: I haven't finished the 4 courses right now, but they will be done before the Work term starts. Can I join?
A: NO. The 4 courses requirement needs to be fulfilled BEFORE you apply.
Q: Can I work as TA/RA/GA on campus during the Work term?
Q: I have a 3.49999999 GPA. Can I apply?
A: NO. You need a 3.5 and above, no rounding is done.
Q: I'll be out of the country the first two weeks of the semester. Can I apply remotely?
A: NO. Missing the orientation meeting and/or the first Co-op Office meeting (usually during the second week of the semester) will automatically disqualify you
Q: The Program requirements seem harsh. Can you make any exceptions?
A: NO. The program is meant to be a reward for our most elite students. If you want to be in the program, just make sure you take courses and grades VERY seriously.
CS 703, Curricular Practical Training, is a one-credit course that may be repeated up to a total of three credits. To enroll, a student must receive prior permission from the faculty director of the student's program. The student must locate a job that supports development of the student's skills within his/her educational program. To enroll, the student must receive a written job offer from the sponsoring employer, then fill out a departmental form and submit both the offer letter and the form to the program director at least two weeks in advance of anticipated enrollment. Note that all applications must be submitted before the chronological midpoint of the semester. The program director will review the materials and decide whether to recommend to the ISSS Office that the student be allowed to participate in CPT. Students enrolled in this course must submit several written reports and one oral report for grading.
CS703 - FAQ
Q: What must I do?
A: Fill out the orange form provided by the ISSS Office, fill out the departmental form and request for practical training form, and bring these three forms plus your offer letter to the CS 703 instructor. The offer letter must be on company letterhead, and include start and end dates, as well as a description of your duties. The application must be delivered to the CS703 instructor before the chronological middle point of the semester. After the CS 703 instructor approves your application, you must register for the course. Following registration, you must submit the orange form and offer letter to Ms. Elizabeth Gill in the ISSS office. She will not approve your CPT application if you are not already registered for CS 703. Expect this entire process to require about two weeks. If you start just a day or so before your employment is scheduled to begin, your CPT will not be approved in time and you will have to back out of your employment plans.
Q: My work assignment overlaps with the semester by only a few weeks. I don't want to pay tuition to take CS 703 for just this short time. Can I skip registering for CS 703?
A: No, a student must be registered for CS 703 every day that he/she is employed.
Q: My work assignment spans academic-year break times, such as the time between the end of the Fall semester in December and the beginning of the Spring semester in January. That's no problem, right?
A: Wrong, it is a problem. Because CPT is "curricular," you may not be employed even a single day that school is not in session. This is a US government rule that cannot be ignored. It is possible to work during school breaks but during this time you must be in "pre-completion OPT" status. Please contact the ISSS office to learn how to do this and of course plan well in advance to secure the necessary permission.
Q: If I am working during the summer, can I register for CPT only during the first (or second) summer half-semester?
A: No, a student must be registered for CS 703 every day that he/she is working. This is a rule of the U.S. government that Stevens must strictly enforce.
Q: Must I register for CS 703 and apply for CPT even if my internship is unpaid?
Q: I was approved for CPT based on an offer letter from company X. After being approved, I changed my mind and decided to work for company Y instead. Must I do anything?
A: Yes, you must submit your new offer letter and a new departmental form to the CS 703 instructor for approval. Furthermore, you must explain the reason you are changing jobs and state whether your new job will still contribute to your current CPT course. You are not eligible to work for a new employer until ISSS reviews your request and creates a new I-20 for you that includes your new employer’s information.
Q: I have already reached (or will soon inevitably reach) the 30 credits required for graduation. However, I have time remaining on my I-20 and I would like to remain for an additional semester to do CPT. May I?
A: No. You are required to graduate as soon as possible once you achieve all your program's requirements. For example, suppose that you start your program in the Fall semester and take 9 credits in each of the Fall and Spring semesters. Then you take CS 703 for 1 credit in each of Summer 1 and Summer 2 half-semesters. Entering the Fall semester of your second year, you will have 20 credits. Suppose you want to do CPT in that Fall semester. You must also maintain your status as a full time student, so you take 3 classes (9 credits) plus CS 703 (1 credit), meaning that in December you will have reached 30 credits. Even if your I-20 extends to May, you cannot enroll for the Spring semester. You must graduate at the end of Fall. Of course you may be able to continue your employment during the Spring, but you will have to be in post-completion OPT status during that time.
Q: Can I work on CPT and also work on campus as grader/TA/GA/RA/etc etc?
Q: Can I apply for CPT after the midterms week?
A: Not for the current semester, but you may provide your paperwork for the following term.