Coordinated Internships & Cooperative Education (Co-op)

About Coordinated Internships & Cooperative Education

Coordinated Internships are an extension of Academic Services that provides work-based experiential learning opportunities through collaboration between academic departments and community employers. These opportunities enhance the programs of study at the College and enrich academic learning and career development for students. Internships are an opportunity for students to apply what they have learned to work-related experiences. Students may enroll in Coordinated Internship courses to earn academic credit or participate in an internship as an extracurricular experience.

Internship and co-op opportunities are an extension of your program of study that combines theory and practice to provide a more comprehensive education. These opportunities are viewed as entry-level means of acquiring practical job training and valuable resume-building experiences. Ultimately, the goal is individual career development with an emphasis on both supervision and self-direction.

You may be eligible to receive a salary, stipend, or tuition assistance from employers in addition to academic credit from the College. Employers may offer full-time employment in permanent job positions afterward, thus easing your entry into the workforce.

You may earn up to 10 academic credits through coursework, which can be used for general elective credit, earned as additive credit, or, with the approval of your academic deans, substituted for required coursework in your program of study.

Current NOVA Students: 

To enroll in a Coordinated Internship course, at minimum* students must have:

  • Declared a major (degree or program of study) at NOVA.
  • Earned at least six credits from NOVA.
  • Completed 12 semester hours of college credits or the equivalent, including credits transferred to NOVA from other institutions or through Credit for Prior Learning.
  • Completed a minimum of two courses for at least six credits directly related to the program of study and internship.
  • Earned a cumulative G.P.A. of at least 2.0.
  • Acquired the ability to write in either A.P.A. or M.L.A. editorial style through the completion of ENG 111, an equivalent English Composition course, or individual study.
  • Earned no more than 10 credits for Cooperative Education and/or Coordinated Internship courses to be applied to the degree.
  • Received a satisfactory performance evaluation and/or grades below a “C” for previous Cooperative Education, Coordinated Internship, or On-Site Training courses at NOVA. If the student has previously been unsuccessful in the course attempt, they must meet with the dean or designee for approval.
  • Current good academic standing (no Academic Probation or Suspension).
  • Met all work eligibility, which is dependent on employer requirements.

*These are the minimum qualifications to participate in the credit internship program at NOVA; individual programs may have additional requirements that will also need to be met.

Current NOVA International Students:

There are additional requirements for international students to be eligible for a paid Coordinated Internship or Co-Op course, which include:

Current F–1 Visa status
  1. Lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year
  2. Completed one semester of courses related to their degree at NOVA
  3. Receive internship credit that is a required component of their degree
  4. Meet with an international advisor for confirmation of eligibility for CPT Work Authorization

Students wishing to take an internship course must start the process at least 8–10 weeks prior to the registration deadline if they do not have an internship site identified. It is recommended that F–1 students begin the process an additional two weeks earlier.

To register for the required Coordinated Internship or Cooperative Education courses, you will either:

  • Meet with your faculty advisor if the course is a required component of your degree.
  • If it is not required, please submit the completed forms below to the Coordinator of Curriculum Initiatives ( at least 5 weeks prior to the registration deadline.

You must submit the following:

NOVA Students interested in searching for and applying to jobs and internships should log into NOVA’s Career Connection.

Once you have created a profile, you can post your resume, practice interview questions, and search for internship opportunities.

If you need assistance in resume development, interviewing skills, or have other career development and planning questions, please schedule an appointment in Career Connection with a Career Counselor.

Employers are encouraged to seek further independent guidance with regard to intern compensation. The Fair Labor Standards Act and Department of Labor regulatory guidelines have a seven-part test to determine whether employers are legally required to pay interns. Employers should review Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act for full details. Compensating interns also increases the pool of candidates and provides more equitable access to such opportunities.

The Virginia Chamber Foundation & the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia are partnering to form the Virginia Talent + Opportunity Partnership, or Virginia TOP for short. Virginia TOP provides information and resources for employers who what to support and retain talent in the region. For more details about creating or improving an internship program, please see A Blueprint to Develop Quality Internship Opportunities for Virginia’s Talent Pipeline.

Area employers with internship opportunities may submit detailed position information through NOVA’s Career Connection database.

Area employers interested in offering an internship program for students may contact:

Dana Fallon
Director, Business Engagement & Career Services
703.323.4577 /

View a full list of Frequently Asked Questions for students, faculty and advisors here.