Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions
International Student FAQ's

General Questions

What is the Cooperative Education Program?
Co-op helps students find academically-relevant paid internships. Co-op assists students by faxing and mailing out resumes; keeps information on companies, and contacts students regarding opportunities.

Are the internships full-time or part-time?
Internships are both full and part-time; time commitment depends on the position, company, and the time of year.

Who qualifies for the program?
To qualify for the program, students must: see eligibility

How do I sign-up for Co-op?
Just fill out our registration packet, available online or in our office at SCI 248.

How does an internship benefit me?
see Why Coop

How long does it take to find a placement?
Some placement opportunities become available immediately. Others can take up to 3-6 months, just like real life! There are no guarantees but we will do our best to place you.

What kind of units do I earn for the internship?
Units earned in AU 293, AU 693, & AU 793 are elective units. They're not intended to fulfill General Education or major requirements. Please contact your major advisor if you are taking a Departmental Internship course.

How do I register for the course?
see How to Register

What if I find my own job/internship?
If you find your own job, you would not be required to add any units. If the position is academically relevant & you would like Co-op units, the Co-op office can help.

If I have a job already, can I get units for it?
Only if it is academically relevant.  See Hours of Work Chart
All positions must be approved through the Cooperative Education Program.

Why so many units?
Appropriate credits reflect University recognition and support for your work.

Why do I have to sign up for units, anyway?
Some employers require enrollment in internship units. In addition, enrollment entitles you to health care, student services, University support, financial aid, term life insurance and worker's compensation.

Can I waive the program prerequisites?
Yes, students can petition to waive the college regulations by submitting a resume, unofficial transcript, 2 letters of recommendation from faculty and a petition form. Students must also meet with the Program Director for approval.

What if I have other questions?
Contact the Cooperative Education Program at (415) 338-1050 or stop by our office in Science 248.

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International Student FAQ's

Isn't it illegal to hire international students because they do not have a green card?
No. Federal regulations permit the employment of international students of F-1 visas within certain limits. These visas allow students to work in jobs related to their major field of study; its called Curricular Practical Training.

What income taxes are International Students required to pay?
International students on F-1 visas are subject to federal, state, and local income taxes. However, they are exempt from Social Security (FICA) and Medicare taxes.

How long can international students work in the U.S. with their student visa?
F-1 students are eligible for Curricular Practical Training before completing their studies, as well as 1 year of Optional Practical Training (usually done after finishing their studies).

Don't international students need a work authorization before they can be hired?
No. They only need work authorization before they start actual work. In fact, F-1 students applying for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must have a written job offer before they are given authorization.

What does the CPT work authorization look like?
CPT work authorization is given by SFSU's Office of International Programs and can be found on the back of the Student's I-20 form. "No INS endorsement is necessary" per 8CFR 274a 12(b)(6)(iii)

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