RIT Co-op Program

For more than 100 years, a hallmark of RIT has been the practical work experience provided through Cooperative education (co-op). Co-op entails full-time, paid work experience directly related to a student’s field of study and career interests. The experience provides valuable learning for students and productive work for employers. Emphasizing real-world tasks, the co-op experience evolves with students' increased knowledge, skills, and experiences.

Did you know?


RIT is ranked 5th among national universities for excellent co-op or internship programs by U.S. News & World Report


4,278 students completed 5,800 co-op assignments with 1,811 employers in the U.S. and abroad last year


Ninety-five percent of co-op employers said they would hire their co-op student for a full-time position


RIT’s co-op program is the fourth oldest and one of the largest in the world


Employers enjoy many benefits from hiring co-op students:

  • Students produce immediate and valuable results at a relatively low cost
  • Students bring fresh perspective, ideas, and knowledge to the workplace
  • Current employees, with the help of co-ops, can take on new tasks and assignments
  • Identification and recruitment of top-performing students for full-time roles post-graduation
  • Co-ops act as ambassadors for organizations when they return to campus
  • Co-op engagement can pave the way for fostering additional valuable partnerships with RIT

Academic Schedule

Dates reflect first day of classes and last day of exams. Students may have the flexibility to begin work earlier or continue their co-op beyond the start and end dates during the RIT semester breaks. View RIT Academic Calendar

Spring Semester

Jan. 16–May 8, 2024

Summer Term

May 15–Aug. 13, 2024

Fall Semester

Aug. 26–Dec. 18, 2024

Semester Break

Dec. 19, 2024–Jan. 12, 2025

Employer Responsibilities

To ensure a successful co-op experience, it is crucial to discuss and clarify expectations for both employers and students.

  • Equal Treatment: Treat co-op students as you would any new employee, fostering inclusivity and support.
  • Thorough Orientation: Provide a comprehensive department and organizational orientation.
  • Facility Tour: Familiarize co-ops with the work environment through a facility tour.
  • Organizational Structure: Clearly explain students' roles within the organization.
  • Adherence to Policies: Communicate that co-op students must follow the same organizational policies as permanent employees.
  • Mentorship: Consider assigning a mentor to assist students throughout their co-op experience.

To enhance the co-op experience, consider the following:

  • Designated Supervisor: Assign a readily available supervisor for clear direction and assistance.
  • Adaptive Workload: Adjust workload to match evolving skills for a developmental experience.
  • Share Success Stories: Career Services welcomes employer testimonials on student achievements.
  • Address Performance Concerns: Contact Career Services promptly for guidance on resolving any issues regarding a student's work performance. Open communication ensures a successful co-op partnership for both the employer and the student.

Toward the end of each academic term, you will receive an email from Career Services with a link to a co-op student evaluation form. The evaluation provides the student, their academic department, and Career Services valuable feedback regarding the student's job performance. It is required for students to receive credit for their experience. Use the evaluation to:

  • Provide formalized performance feedback for your co-op student.
  • Realistically assess your student’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Make recommendations for the student’s further professional and academic development.

Learn More

  • Let us know when you fill a position and hire a Tiger.
  • We welcome stories of the achievements and successes of our co-op students.
  • Do not hesitate to contact us if you are concerned about the work performance of your co-op, or wish to share a success story.

Recruit and Post Jobs

Recruit RIT students through a range of tailored services and post co-op positions in our preferred career platform RIT Career Connect, powered by Symplicity. Learn more

Job Offer Guidelines

There are several national and RIT policies that ensure equal opportunities for our students. Learn more about Recruitment Expectations

International Experience Program

Through our International Experience Program, Career Services aims to expand our employer partnerships to offer more international co-op, internship, and work-related experiences.

There are unique advantages to employing co-ops abroad as RIT students are:

  • Mature and prepared to be effective employees as they have completed at least one co-op
  • Passionate about being successful in a global economy and committed to applying best practices
  • Knowledgeable about cutting-edge technologies and can provide insight to your teams
  • Qualified candidates who will have expertise in their field as well as global experience to fill your future full-time positions

Before our students take part in a work abroad experience, Career Services ensures they are ready to apply their skills effectively to your workplace by:

  • Assisting them with resources to meet language requirements for each program if needed.
  • Providing cultural adjustment training and tips for living and working abroad
  • Offering training on health and safety practices when living and working overseas
  • Providing ongoing communication and support while students are abroad

If you are interested in becoming an International Experience Program partner or have any questions, please contact Julian Huenerfauth, Assistant Director for International Career Services, at julian.huenerfauth@rit.edu. Please have the following prepared:

  • A job description aligned with your organization's interests and needs. This position can be for a 4-8 month timeframe and should benefit both the student and your organization.
  • Compensation that minimally covers the cost of living in the country. Students are responsible for travel to your location overseas; however, we appreciate any assistance you can provide in locating housing close to your organization’s site.
  • Appropriate training and mentoring to the student during their program.
  • A willingness to complete an online evaluation of the student’s work performance toward the end of their program.

The following are some of the organizations that have joined RIT’s International Experience Program to provide students with co-op and internship positions abroad.


  • Revo Foods, Austria
  • Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany
  • Vaultree, Ireland
  • Giobragnara, Italy
  • Dedalus Software House, Italy
  • Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy
  • Bosch Corporation, Japan


  • CIS Abroad
  • Cultural Vistas
  • DAAD German Academic Exchange Service
  • Global Experiences
  • A Door to Italy
  • Atlantis
  • Sage Corps
  • The Intern Group

“We began our collaboration with RIT in 2015, with an intern student. We were immediately very favorably impressed by the skills, seriousness, and quality of work demonstrated by the interns. Software development is an extremely varied world that requires aptitude and precision, all qualities that we have found in every single student we have worked with.” - Giuanluca Sarno, CEO of Dedalus

“A Door to Italy (ADTI) is proud to organize the Work Abroad Program in Genoa every year since 2014, in collaboration with RIT. The program has grown steadily over time and today offers students the opportunity to gain experience in many fields of work. All this was possible thanks to the cooperation with the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education. The support, expertise, and availability of all the team has been crucial and is a point of reference for the future development and the general success of the Work Abroad Program in Genoa.” - Lara Avvenente, Founder Director and Internship Coordinator of ADTI

"The Intern Group is proud to collaborate with our colleagues at RIT to support students' career and international goals through their academic, personal and professional development; helping them realize their potential through an international internship. RIT students are eager to challenge themselves, discover their passion and seek global opportunities, preparing them for their future endeavors. We are honored to be a part of their journey as they develop their invaluable global perspectives to become members of an interconnected community around the world." - Nicole Senchack, Senior University Partnerships Manager of The Intern Group



Here are some questions you may have as an employer about co-op. Please contact Career Services with any additional questions or concerns at 585-475-2301 or careerservices@rit.edu.

Plan for appropriate supervision and mentorship of the co-op student. Review potential job responsibilities to determine if they are appropriate. Establish an appropriate pay and benefit structure, which may include assistance to the student in relocating to your area and obtaining safe and affordable housing.

Students are available to work for one or two consecutive terms; availability may vary from program to program.

View the Academic Schedule

No. There is no formal contract between RIT, the employer, and the student. There is an ethical responsibility on both sides to follow the agreed-upon terms of co-op employment.

As the employing organization, you do. We provide data regarding co-op salaries paid to current students and can assist you in determining an appropriate wage.

Employer housing assistance ranges from providing housing recommendations to arranging subsidized living quarters.

Our clear understanding is that the emphasis from the ACA (American Healthcare Act) ruling is on “offering” not “providing” coverage. Consequently, if the student is already covered and does not require the employer-offered insurance, then the employer obligation is met.

Discuss your employment needs with a program coordinator within our office. We can provide information on RIT’s academic programs and facilitate contact with faculty.

If an employer must withdraw an offer of employment, please contact Career Services immediately at 585-475-2301 or careerservices@rit.edu.

If circumstances require you to alter your commitment, please let us know immediately. You can reach Career Services at 585-475-2301 or careerservices@rit.edu.

Yes, students on co-op are treated as full-time employees of the organization and should follow the required procedures and policies of that organization. 

We expect RIT students to honor their commitments unless it puts the student's welfare at risk. Understandably, some students may be nervous about travel or relocation. We are available to provide them with support and guidance. 

Career services coordinators will work with employers to determine how to best proceed. We have counseled students to reach out to our office if they have any concerns with regards to co-op employment.

Yes, but cooperative education requires that students are in significant meaningful college-appropriate work assignments. Contact Career Services to discuss at 585-475-2301 or careerservices@rit.edu.

Cooperative education is for a limited time only and with established start and end dates. Eligibility for unemployment compensation is governed by state law, and in most circumstances, co-op students are not eligible for unemployment compensation at the end of their co-op experience. In the event that a student is terminated from a co-op position prior to its originally scheduled end date, eligibility for unemployment compensation, if any, will be determined by the specific facts of the termination and applicable state laws.

Currently, in the State of New York, co-op students are not eligible by law for Unemployment Insurance Benefits resulting from their co-op work experience.