The Criminal Justice Co-op Experience

What is co-op?

The majority of our criminal justice students fulfill their experiential learning requirement through cooperative education—or co-op for short. Co-ops are unique opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom by working paid, full-time positions in any field of interest in place of taking courses during the academic year. This educational model not only integrates the rigorous studies of society, culture, and politics, but also offers students insight into which career paths suit them best. Frequently, students who excel in their co-op placements are offered full-time positions to continue their work after graduation.


The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice students participate in a variety of co-op experiences that provide them with opportunities to conduct research, to learn new analytical skills, to collect and synthesize information, to think critically, and to interact with criminal justice practitioners. Enhanced knowledge of criminal justice systems and operations in the “real world” result in better informed students and effective engagement in the classroom.

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University
Centennial Common

Choosing Your Co-op(s) in Criminal Justice

Students work closely with a co-op coordinator to discuss career interests and objectives, to develop successful resume writing and interview skills, and to monitor performance while on co-op sites. The coordinator interacts with various public and private criminal justice agencies to develop stimulating and rewarding positions in the Boston area as well as in other regions of the country. Global co-op opportunities are also available for students who wish to pursue their co-op abroad.

Michelle Zaff, Co-op Coordinator | 617.373.4210

Sample Co-ops in Criminal Justice

Placements span domestic and international environments like law offices and legal services units, federal government offices, political campaigns, international committees, police departments, research centers and nonprofit research labs, insurance companies, juvenile justice youth groups, medical centers, courthouses, private banks, and more. Below is a partial list of co-op placements previously held by our criminal justice students.

Co-op Poster Presentations

Students returning from co-op participate in informal poster presentation sessions addressed to faculty and friends. Creating posters helps students articulate their individual takeaways from each experience. Posters include explanations of broad goals, daily responsibilities, special focus projects, learning outcomes, classroom integration, future direction, and more. The presentations are also a useful opportunity for students planning their future co-ops who may have questions about certain placements or positions.