The use of a water-soluble polymer, poly(vinyl pyrrolidinone) (PVP), for the preconcentration and separation of nickel and cobalt prior to their determination by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry is described. For this purpose, the sample and the water-soluble polymer solutions were mixed, and the metal-bound polymer was precipitated by pouring the mixture into acetone. The precipitate was separated by decantation and dissolved with distilled-deionized water. The analyte elements were determined by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. The validity of the method was tested with spiked sea water and mineral water samples. The analytes added to the samples were quantitatively recovered within the range of 95% confidence limits. The proposed technique is fast, simple, precise and inexpensive. Its low blank values and high precision are other important advantages.