More About CEIP for Students & Employers

  • The Career and Professional Development Cooperative Education & Internship Program is an undergraduate program to incorporate real world work experience and learning into the student's college academic experience.
  • The program is a partnership among the undergraduate student, the employer and Virginia Tech, represented by Career and Professional Development and the academic departments. Each partner has responsibility to be honest and ethical. Each student represents not only himself or herself, but also her/his academic department and the university. Conduct and performance should be of the highest standards.
  • Co-ops and internships give students educationally-related work and learning experience that integrates theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development on the job, and contributes to the development of personal and professional maturity and ethics.
  • Co-ops and internships give employers the opportunity to assist in the student's development, supplement their workforce with emerging talent, and enhance their long-range recruiting efforts by evaluating students' potential for employment at graduation.

Goals for students

  • Enhance students' educational experience with real-world career-related work experience.
  • Develop skills and knowledge applicable to their career fields.
  • Explore, through on-the-job experience, the career options related to their academic work, and to verify interest in those career options.
  • Increase students' maturity level by exposure to the professional work environment.
  • Build credentials to enhance their opportunities at graduation for employment or admission to graduate school.

Benefits to employers

  • Provide pre-professional personnel who are open to training and highly motivated.
  • Meet seasonal needs and release professional staff from work that can be delegated.
  • Good public relations on the campus when co-op / internship students have positive experiences with your organization.
  • Opportunity to try out prospective future employees through the framework of co-op / internships. However, there is no obligation to offer a co-op / internship student employment at graduation.


  • “Co-op” usually refers to a multi-work term agreement with one employer; traditionally with at least three work terms alternated with school terms, resulting in a five-year degree program for what would otherwise take four years. Co-ops are traditionally full-time, paid positions.
  • “Internship” usually refers to a one-term work assignment, most often in the summer, but not always. Internships can be full- or part-time, paid or unpaid, depending on the employer and the career field.
  • However, beware: Not all employers use these terms consistently or with consistent meanings!
  • Some employers use the term co-op to refer to a one- or two-term work assignment.
  • Internships can occur in fall or spring semesters, as well as summer, and internships can sometimes be multi-term programs.
  • When you talk with employers about their programs, make absolutely sure you know their program requirements, and know what they expect of you so that you can seek good fit or match.
  • Both terms "co-op" and "internship" are in our program name because students in either type of work experience may enroll in the program if the work experience is eligible.

What about academic-credit internships?

  • Please note that students do not enroll in CEIP for academic credit.
  • Academic credit can only be granted by academic departments, and each academic department has its own policies on whether or not it will grant academic credit for an internship.
  • Students interested in credit-bearing internships should discuss this with your academic major department.

What's eligible for CEIP?

  • See job and program details.
  • See student eligibility.
  • Career and Professional Development does not require students to be enrolled in our program. Employers sometimes require students to be enrolled with their institution's co-op program. It is to students' advantage to enroll in the program if any work terms are in fall and/or spring semesters so that you maintain student standing while working.

Rules in academic departments

  • Each academic department can set its own rules regarding GPA, number of work terms required, and work / school schedules for student participation in co-ops and internships.  

Sources through which students found their work positions for CEIP:

  • 20% Engineering Expo.
  • 9% Fairs sponsored by Career & Professional Development.
  • 6% All other job fairs held at VT.
  • 10% Personal contacts in the employing organization.
  • 15% Student contacted organization directly.
  • 4% Source in academic department.
  • 18% On-Campus Interviewing Program and Hokies4Hire (through 2017-2018. Handshake replaces H4H for 2018-2019).
  • 21% Worked for the employer before in another capacity.
  • 3% Other.