Skip to content
Topics

Although your co-op coordinator is your main resource in all phases of the co-op cycle, below are links that you may find helpful at any point in the co-op cycle: preparation, activity, or reflection.

Resources

FAQs

Co-op is short for cooperative education at Northeastern University. For over 100 years Northeastern’s co-op program has been preparing students for the challenges of the next century. Co-op is an optional experiential learning program that allows students to gain up to 18 months of professional or research experience related to their academic interests. We partner with more than 2,500 employers across the United States and in 80 countries around the world. Students who participate in co-op alternate semesters of academic study with six-month terms of full-time employment. Students have the option of completing up to two co-ops over a four-year plan, or up to three co-ops over five years.

Students can go on co-op beginning in their second term during their second year at Northeastern. Co-op terms run from January – June and from July – December. Co-op is a three-step process: Preparation, Activity, and Reflection. The “Preparation” happens in a 1-credit co-op preparation class that spans the entire semester before a student wishes to go on co-op. It includes such practical things as resumé writing, selection of co-op jobs; referrals to co-op employers, interviewing, etc., as well as other concepts such as how to be mindful of the deeper learning opportunities available during the co-op job.The “Activity” is the six months when students are working in their co-op positions. The “Reflection” component varies in each discipline, but typically takes place both during and after a student returns from co-op.

Participation in cooperative education allows social science and humanities majors to examine a variety of issues they have learned in academic coursework. Students who complete a co-op experience also bring the knowledge they have gained in the workplace back to classroom discussions. Since the career interests of CSSH majors are diverse, the specific learning goals for students on co-op vary depending upon each individual student’s career and academic aspirations. Overall, the learning goals include:

  • Intellectual Growth (critical thinking and communication skills);
  • Academic Growth (increased knowledge of the field of interest and the development of technical skills); and
  • Personal and Professional Growth (the cultivation of ethical and social awareness, as well as career and individual development).

The CSSH co-op coordinators are professionals with insight into particular majors and industries. Co-op coordinators work with students throughout the student’s time at Northeastern and develop strong, individual working relationships. Co-op coordinators provide information about co-op job opportunities and the developmental tools students will need to be successful while on co-op.

Co-op coordinators are assigned to majors. The co-op coordinators’ assignments and their contact information are available on the co-op coordinator web page.

Students are eligible to go on co-op if they meet the particular requirements of both the university and their major. Eligibility requirements include: minimum GPA, progress toward degree in the major, successful completion of the mandatory co-op prep course, participation in advising sessions with a co-op coordinator, and meeting all deadlines for the proposed co-op session. Transfer students must also meet these requirements. Please see the Cooperative Education Student Handbook for more specific information. Disciplinary problems or unsatisfactory performance on an earlier co-op job may preclude students from participating. In addition, some co-op employers may require certain pre-employment and/or during-employment screenings, including physical examinations, criminal record checks, and drug testing. Failure to participate in, complete, or pass these types of qualifying screenings may impact eligibility and/or opportunity for co-op positions.

The co-op prep class is a requirement for students before they go out on co-op. It is a 1-credit class is taught by co-op faculty coordinators and provides students with the tools, skills and values necessary to obtain and excel in a co-op position. Students typically maintain a working relationship with their co-op coordinator throughout their time at Northeastern.

It depends. When students change their majors, they have the choice to stay with their current co-op coordinator or they can choose to be assigned to a co-op coordinator in the new major. Students who have successfully taken, and passed, the co-op prep course do not have to take it again.

Yes, student-athletes are eligible to participate in co-op. Students should discuss their plan to participate in co-op with their coach and their co-op coordinator prior to registering for the co-op prep class to determine which six-month co-op semester would work best with their sport schedule.

Yes, Northeastern University has been granted authorization by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for students in F-1 status and by the Department of State (DOS) to issue Academic Training (AT) for students in J-1 status. International students on visas that allow practical training (such as F1 and J1 visas) are permitted to go on co-op under a co-op coordinator’s supervision. Because there are very strict regulations governing co-op and practical training, it is critical for international students to discuss their situation with their co-op coordinators early. Most employers are able to hire international students, however others are not. For instance, government contractors (requiring U.S. security clearance) are unable to hire international students or even permanent residents. International students may also consider “home country co-op,” in which they return to their country of origin to work during the six-month period. This does not deduct from the student’s available practical training. All international students who are considering this option should discuss it with their coordinators and the Office of Global Services (OGS) very early in the co-op process. More detailed information for international students can be found at the OGS website.

Co-op is an optional program in CSSH, and is one of many opportunities available to students to fulfill their Experiential Education requirement. Most CSSH students (approximately 90%) participate in co-op.

Students who live in a residence hall and accept a position local to Boston may continue living in the residence hall. Northeastern has leased housing in other cities including New York City; Brooklyn; Washington D.C.; Chicago; San Francisco; and Mountain View, California. Some companies may also provide housing and relocation assistance. Please visit the Co-op Connections website for more details.

Most employers pay students. Compensation is set by the employer and depends on the industry, the level of the position, and the local economy. Additionally, students do not pay tuition while on co-op. Most CSSH co-ops jobs pay between $13 and $18 per hour. A few programs (non profit, federal government, entertainment, for example) are unpaid or offer stipends. Students who are offered unpaid co-op positions should talk to their co-op coordinator about applying for one of the small CSSH grants that are available for each co-op cycle.

The university calendar does not allow for vacations during co-op terms. Students are expected to work from the beginning of the co-op term to the end of their assignment. Students should discuss exact start and end dates with their employer and co-op coordinator. Some employers do award time off, in the form of vacation, sick, and personal days, but it is not required of an employer.

We recommend that students arrange for personal and college-related commitments to take place outside of co-op work hours. If students need to take an occasional day off, they should work this out with their employer. If students must take unexpected, extended time off from work for special circumstances, they are encouraged to contact their co-op coordinator when requesting permission from their employer. If students have military training obligations or student-athlete team obligations that require time off from work, they should notify their co-op coordinator and their prospective employer prior to the start of the co-op assignment, during the interview stage.

Most students choose not take a class while on co-op, but it is allowed if it does not interfere with a co-op’s work schedule.  It is a good idea to consult with your coordinator about this prior to registering for courses.