In this paper we extend our earlier work on cooperative two‐photon absorption to the case of one‐ and three‐photon allowed transitions using the principles of quantum electrodynamics. After deriving a general rate equation we consider two specific molecular systems: (i) van der Waals molecules in which the two centers have a fixed mutual orientation; and (ii) fluid samples with random molecular orientation. Calculations are shown to involve a new type of rotational average which gives rise to two‐photon circular dichroism in case (i). The dependence of the rate upon molecular separation is discussed in detail, as is the possibility of resonance enhancement if suitable intermediate energy levels are present. Finally we draw attention to an effect specific to this mode of cooperative absorption and speculate on the possibility of direct observation of the effects of retardation.