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Cooperative Education Program
This information page includes all information on how to apply, benefits, information for current co-op students, and information for the supervisors and potential supervisors of co-op students.

How to Apply


Where We Are

Basic Job Information

Services Available to all Employees

Appointments: Conversion Requirements

Information for Current Co-ops and Supervisors of Co-ops

Office of Human Capital Management Information

How to Apply

Forward a resume (to include GPA and estimated graduation date) to GSFC's Co-op Coordinator


The Cooperative Education Program is an important link in the educational process that integrates college level academic study with full-time meaningful work experience. This is achieved through a working agreement between GSFC and a number of educational institutions. This agreement allows the students, through study and work experience, to enhance their academic knowledge, personal development, and professional preparation. Additionally, Co-op employees earn income that is based on the level of education and work experience they have attained.

GSFC benefits from the Co-op program in many ways. The program attracts students preparing for careers in a shortage category (engineering and science), permits selection for career jobs on the basis of proven performance, supports equal opportunity, and generally helps to more directly relate the efforts of educators to occupational needs of employers and students. Students rotate from work to school on a semester or quarterly basis. Academic disciplines desired are engineering, mathematics, physics, earth and space science and computer science. To support this program, the Center currently has Co-op agreements with more than 60 universities, and new agreements can be made with other schools.

Applicants must:

  • have completed 30 semester hours
  • be a student at an accredited university
  • be enrolled in their school's Cooperative Education Program
  • be a U.S. citizen
  • have a good scholastic standing (2.9 G.P.A. overall).
The Cooperative Education Program at the GSFC receives a significant amount of management attention and support, and it is our intent to help continue this tradition. If you have any questions as you review this section, please ask the Co-op Coordinator at 301.286.9951 who will be glad to assist you.

Visit Us (Directions to NASA's GSFC)

Basic Job Information (Majors and Degrees Sought)

Engineering & Science: Assists higher grade scientist or engineer in technical work and research pertinent to the organization and its mission to which assigned. These assignments usually involving a wide variety of detailed operations which can include planning and conducting research, development, and preparation of new specifications on similar or related types of equipment. The student will be given projects with varying degrees of difficulty depending on academic and/or work experience and interest. Students pursuing a BS, MS or PhD in Aerospace Engineering; Computer Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical/Electronic Engineering; Environmental Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Reliability Engineering; Physics

Professional/Administrative: Assists higher grade specialists in support of the Center’s institutional requirements. Assignments typically include researching and preparing documentation for a variety of related tasks which prepare the student to eventually become intricately involved with an overall planning and execution process. The student will given projects with varying degrees of difficulty depending on academic and/or work experience and interest. Students pursuing their Bachelor’s, MBA in: Accounting; General Business; Human Resources; Management Information Systems

+ Benefits (NASAPeople Site)

Services Available to GSFC Employees

GSFC offers employees many services which are located on-site both at Greenbelt and Wallops Island.   Co-op's are encouraged to utilize the services which meet their needs.

Cafeterias - There are two cafeterias on-site at the Greenbelt Facility; one in Building 1 and one in Building 21.  The Wallops Island Facility's cafeteria is in Building E2.  These cafeterias offer sandwiches, soups, chips, sodas, and plate lunches.  Many buildings in Greenbelt are also equipped with vending machines containing sandwiches, sodas, and candy.

Health Clinic - The GSFC Health Clinic in Building 97 at Greenbelt and F160 at Wallops Island is available to all GSFC employees for emergency treatment of illness or accidents.  The GSFC Clinic also provides an annual physical exam which is usually scheduled some time near the employee's birthday.  Co-op's not in the Greenbelt/Wallops Island area at the time of their birthday should contact the Clinic for rescheduling when they return.

NASA Credit Union - NASA Credit Union membership is available to all GSFC employees.  The Credit Union offers a full range of financial services.  The Greenbelt Credit Union is located in Building 21 right next door to the cafeteria; the Wallops Island Credit Union is located in Building N133 (there are also off-center locations).

GEWA Exchange Store/U.S. Postal Office - Located in Building E2 at Wallops Island and next to the cafeteria in Building 1 in Greenbelt is the Goddard Employees Welfare Association (GEWA) store where employees may purchase gifts, NASA mementos, discount tickets to area activities, etc.  Discount sales on books, jewelry, souvenirs, and special sales of fruit, flowers, and beef comprise a large part of its service.  Also located in Greenbelt's Building 1 is a limited service Post Office.

Employee Assistance Program - The Employee Assistance Program deals with a wide range of problems that might be affecting your job performance or overall sense of well being including:  alcohol or drug problems; marital or family problems; mental illness; interpersonal job-related problems; situation problems (death of relative or friend, end of relationship, etc.), or financial and/or legal problems.

Fitness Center - The Fitness Center, located in Building 97, offers an array of services that include fitness assessments, individual exercise programs, monitoring of blood pressure, body fat evaluations and special programs.  In addition, the Center features a variety of physical fitness equipment including Monarch bicycles, a cross-country ski machine, concept rowers, sit-up boards, treadmills, a Universal-type weight station, free-weights, and dumbbells.  The Center is available to all Goddard employees who have had a stress test and physical examination within the prior 6 months.

Club Activities - The Goddard Employees Welfare Association (GEWA) sponsors many club activities.  You may find a complete listing at the GEWA web site.  Wallops Island employees may contact the Morale Activities Committee for a listing.

Visitor's Center - At the Wallops Island Visitor's Center in Building J20 and the Greenbelt Facility Visitor's Center in Building 88, a collection of actual hardware and space exhibits are on display.  Since friends and family may not be permitted in some buildings on Center, the Visitor's Center may provide a very interesting and enjoyable opportunity to learn more about the Goddard Space Flight Center and the history of the Space Program.  Additionally, Goddard employees may take advantage of reduced prices on merchandise purchased through the extension of GEWA special discount privileges.

Recreation Center - The Recreation Center (Rec Center) at Greenbelt is located near Goddard's antenna range.  It is a winterized pavilion with kitchens and a barbecue pit and is available to all employees for work-related functions of Goddard organizational elements such as section, branch, and division parties; functions related to GEWA support clubs; and retirement parties.  Wallops Island's equivalent to the Rec Center is the Rocket Club, located in Building F3.

Technical Library - The Homer E. Newell Memorial Library in Greenbelt provides scientific and technological information gathered and recorded by NASA Headquarters, all NASA field installations, and contractors.  The library, located in Building 21, is open to all GSFC employees for reference work and for circulation of materials.  For Wallops employees, the Wallops Technical Library in Building E105 is available.

Appointments: Conversion Requirements

Each year, the Center attempts to offer permanent employment to students who have successfully completed all academic requirements for graduation and who meet NASA qualification requirements and the conversion requirements listed below. Obviously, offers are contingent upon availability of positions and salary funding at the Center. Conversions much occur during the 120 days following graduation.

Undergraduates - A Co-op is eligible for conversion to a permanent position as a GS-7 if he or she meets the following set of requirements:

    Served in a work status for at least 16 weeks (640 hours)
    Work included a minimum of two 60-day work periods separated by a period of full-time academic study
    At least one of the two work periods was during a time other than the summer (i.e., a semester)
    Served as a GS-5 for 12 months, of which 60 days have been in a work status, or served as a GS-5 for a Co-op tour and graduated with an overall GPA of 2.9 or higher
    To convert to a graduate Co-op, show degree and transcript with a 2.9 or better GPA, and acceptance letter from the graduate school
Graduates - A graduate Co-op is eligible for conversion to a permanent position if he or she has served in a work status for at least 16 weeks (640 hours) before completing degree requirements.

Information for Current Co-ops and Supervisors of Co-ops

With the exception of the Work Schedule Worksheet, these are all PDF files. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to read these files. It is a free download at the + Adobe website.

+ Cooperative Student Handbook dated March 2006 (PDF file)

+ Tuition Assistance Package (PDF file)

+ Return to Duty package (PDF file)

+ Co-op Profile (PDF file)

+ Supervisor's Handbook for Coops (PDF file)

+ Work Schedule Worksheet (Excel file)