RIT Co-op Program

Cooperative education (co-op) at RIT is defined as full-time, paid work experience directly related to the student’s field of study and career interests. Co-op is designed to be a learning experience for the student as well as a productive work assignment for the employer. The experience should emphasize real-world tasks and responsibilities that grow with the student's increased knowledge, skills, and experiences.

Did you know?


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


More than 4,100 students completed over 5,500 co-op assignments last year with more than 2,100 employers throughout the U.S. and abroad.


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


RIT is ranked 11th among national universities for excellent co-op or internship programs by U.S. News & World Report.


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
  • Your employees, with the help of co-ops, can take on new tasks and assignments
  • The most promising students can be recruited to full-time assignments upon graduation
  • Co-ops act as ambassadors for your organization when they return to campus
  • Co-op opens the door for developing other valuable partnerships with RIT

Academic Schedule 2023-2024

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

Fall Semester

Aug. 28–Dec. 20, 2023

Semester Break

Dec. 21, 2023–Jan. 15, 2024

Spring Semester

Jan. 16–May 8, 2024

Summer Term

May 15–Aug. 13, 2024

Recruit RIT students through a personalized curated list of services. Employer Partner Services

Employer Responsibilities

When you bring a co-op student into your organization, be prepared to provide an appropriate orientation, supervision, and performance evaluation. The staff of RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education is here to help you and the student in achieving a positive experience.


The co-op student will be able to work independently once the orientation and training period is complete. However, your student will need at least the level of supervision that you would provide for any employee:

  • Assign a specific supervisor who will be accessible for questions, direction, or assistance with problems.
  • Be sensitive and supportive to the goals of your organization’s co-op program.
  • Pay particular attention to adjusting the co-op student’s workload as his/her skills grow.
  • Contact the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education with any questions or concerns.


Toward the end of each academic term, you will receive an email with a link to a co-op student evaluation form from the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education. The online form needs to be submitted to our office upon completion in order for the student to receive credit for their co-op experience. We ask that you use the form 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.

Keep Us Involved

  • 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.

Job Offer Guidelines

There are several national and RIT policies that ensure equal opportunities for our students.

Learn more about Recruitment Expectations.


Here are some questions you may have as an employer about co-op. Please contact the Office of Career Services and Co-op 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. Just provide a job description and our office will post your position online and assist you in identifying the most appropriate student candidate pool. The recruitment process and hiring decision is always determined by the employer and the student.

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 the Office of Career Services immediately at 585.475.2301 or email us at careerservices@rit.edu.

We recognize this is an unusual situation due to the effects of COVID-19, so if the student's workload has changed, please be creative and think of other projects or work they may be able to assist with that enables them to apply their knowledge and skills. Please explain to students that their work assignments may change due to your organization’s circumstances. Co-op is an academic requirement and we encourage you to be flexible so students are able to complete their degree requirements on time. 

However, if circumstances require you to alter your commitment, please let us know immediately. You can reach the Office of Career Services immediately at 585.475.2301 or email us at 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 and Co-op to discuss.

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.

For more information visit the U.S. Department of Labor Coronavirus Resources or the NYS Department of Labor Information on Novel Coronavirus