Northeastern University

Student FAQS

  • What is Co-operative education?
  • Who participates in Co-op?
  • What circumstances might affect my Co-op eligibility?
  • Why Should I Do a Co-op?
  • What is a Co-op Pattern of Attendance (POA)?
  • What happens if I change my major or concentration?
  • What is the Co-op Prep Course?
  • When do students go on co-op and what is the process?
  • May I participate in Co-op if I am an athlete?
  • How many co-ops do I need to do?
  • What is the co-op position search process like?
  • Are Co-op Jobs guaranteed for every student?
  • What if I don't have any "real" work experience yet?
  • Where do I live while on Co-op?
  • May I work outside of Boston?
  • How do I find a job outside the United States?
  • May I find my own position?
  • How much will I be paid?
  • What is a 20/20?
  • Do I get a vacation?
  • May I take time off while on Co-op?
  • May I take courses while on Co-op?
  • Who are the Cooperative Education Faculty?
  • Who is my Co-op Faculty Coordinator?
  • How do I make an appointment with my Co-op Faculty Coordinator?

    What is Co-operative education?

    Co-operative education is an educational program in which you alternate periods of academic study with periods of employment in positions related to your academic, career, or personal interests. The combination of academic study and work produces an overall learning experience that gives greater meaning to your studies and more direction to your career development. Co-op faculty coordinators and co-op courses help you prepare for Co-op success and identify opportunities that match your goals and interests. The University will do everything it can to help you find the best opportunities, but it is up to you to ensure your success. That means preparing for interviews, performing well on the job, and drawing on your workplace and classroom learning to sharpen your professional and academic goals.

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    Who participates in Co-op?

    The majority (approximately 90%) of full-time undergraduates participates in Co-op. Co-op is an integral part of a Northeastern education, but it is not required to receive a degree.

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    What circumstances might affect my Co-op eligibility?

    Students are eligible to go on co-op if they meet the particular requirements of both the University and their major Co-op Program. The first opportunity to co-op comes in the second semester of sophomore year. You must then meet eligibility requirements such as: minimum GPA, progress toward your degree in your major, successful completion of the mandatory Co-op Prep course, participation in advising sessions with your Co-op Faculty Coordinator, and meeting all deadlines for your proposed co-op session. Transfer students must also meet these requirements. Please see the Cooperative Education Student Handbook for more specifics.

    You may also be precluded from interviewing for co-op positions if you experience disciplinary problems or demonstrate unsatisfactory performance on an earlier Co-op job. 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 your eligibility and/or opportunity for Co-op positions.

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    Why should I do 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've gained in the workplace back to classroom discussions.

    Since the career interests of Social Science and Humanities majors are diverse, the specific learning goals for students on co-op will vary, depending upon individual students' career aspirations.

    Overall, the learning goals include:

    • Intellectual Growth (critical thinking and communication skills),
    • Academic Growth (increased knowledge of the field of interest & the development of technical skills),
    • Personal and Professional Growth (the cultivation of ethical & social awareness, as well as career and individual development).
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    What is a Co-op division?

    In general, Co-op students are grouped into one of two alternating sections, known as Division A and Division B. While one division is on Co-op, the other is attending classes. You can choose which division you would like to be in after discussions with your Co-op Coordinator.

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    What happens if I change my major or concentration?

    If you change your major, you will likely be assigned to a new Co-op faculty coordinator who specializes in your new major. Notify your former Co-op faculty coordinator so your records can be transferred and you can be referred to a new coordinator. You are responsible for meeting promptly with your new Co-op faculty coordinator. If you have successfully taken, and passed, the Co-op prep course, you do not have to take it again.

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    What is the Co-op Prep Course?

    Before your first co-op, usually in your freshman or sophomore year, students take the EESH 2000 Professional Development for Co-op class or its equivalent. This class provides students with the tools necessary to successfully obtain, and excel in a co-op position. Course highlights include career assessments, resume writing, interviewing techniques, job search strategies, and discussions on important topics such as ethics and professional behavior. This course provides a great deal of information to assist you as you begin your search for your first co-op position, and helps build a foundation of career development skills.

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    When do students go on co-op and what is the process?

    Co-op is a three step process. It includes Preparation, Activity and Reflection. The "Preparation" spans the entire semester before a student wishes to go on co-op. It includes the resume work, referrals to Co-op employers, interviewing, etc. The "Activity" is the six months when you are working in your co-op positions from January to June, or July through December. The "Reflection" component varies in each discipline, but usually takes place after a student returns from co-op.

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    May I participate in Co-op if I am an athlete?

    Yes, student-athletes are eligible to participate in Co-op. We encourage those who play fall sports to complete Co-op assignments during the January-June cycle (Division Z) and those who play spring sports to utilize the June-December cycle (Division Y). Student-athletes competing in winter sports may participate in Co-op in either cycle, but are strongly encouraged to obtain local placements with flexible schedules that allow them to work at their job while practicing and competing in their sport. Winter athletes need to be aware that their Co-op options may be more limited because of their schedules. Be sure to discuss your athletic and work schedule with your Co-op faculty coordinator.

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    How many co-ops do I need to do?

    Although co-op is optional for most Social Science and Humanities majors (it is required for Education minors and for students on certain scholarships), the majority of our students undertake at least one co-op during their education at Northeastern. A student who plans to graduate in five years can complete as many as three co-op periods. The Co-op Social Science Humanities Faculty recommend a student do at least two co-ops or a combination of co-op and some other form of Experiential Education, such as Study Abroad, Undergraduate Research, or Internships.

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    What is the co-op position Search Process like?

    Throughout the search process, Cooperative Education Faculty work with you to develop career goals, help you improve your resume, explain job descriptions, pick out the jobs you are most interested in, and then appropriately refer you to positions. You are guided to appropriate positions for your interests, qualifications and experience, and then selected by employers to interview for a position.

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    Are Co-op Jobs guaranteed for every student?

    Even under the best circumstances, variables such as the job market in a particular industry, the degree of competition for a particular job, a student's past work experiences, and the needs of the Employer may all affect the ability of a student to get a job. We will work with you to the best of our abilities to help you find a job. But it is very important that you understand that YOU are ultimately responsible for your own success, and must participate fully in the process.

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    What if I don't have any "real" work experience yet?

    We encourage students without a lot of experience to start building your resume as soon as you can. This could be through volunteering, a part-time job or internship, or extra-curricular activities at school. The search process is competitive so we encourage you to improve your chances by building your experience and skill base. A lot of students find an internship for the summer after their Freshman year to assist with skill development and professional experience.

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    Where do I live while on Co-op?

    Planning for your housing needs is important. If you live in a residence hall and accept a local position, you may continue living in the residence hall. If you get a position outside the Boston area, you may transfer your housing deposit to another semester, and you are responsible for finding your own housing and transportation in the other locale. Some companies may provide housing and relocation assistance. Your Co-op faculty coordinator will inform you of housing options regarding specific out-of-state employers.

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    May I work outside of Boston?

    Northeastern has limited Co-op opportunities for positions outside of the Greater Boston Area. If you are interested this option, be sure to discuss it with your Co-op faculty coordinator at least six months before your next Co-op is slated to begin. Your coordinator may have established contacts in your preferred region, may advise you on how to develop leads, and will work with you to try to set something up.

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    How do I find a job outside the United States

    If your interests go beyond the United States, the Department of International Co-operative Education may be able to help you. Contact the International Co-op Department well in advance in order to work with staff members on the job search process.

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    May I find my own position?

    Northeastern has a range of resources available to help you find a co-op position, including your co-op faculty coordinator, myNEU COOL, and the International Co-op Department. We do encourage you to make use of these resources to find a Co-op position that matches your interests and needs. You may also choose to make or call upon your own connections to find a Co-op job.

    If you find your own position, keep the following in mind:

    • Be sure to discuss your plans with your Co-op faculty coordinator well in advance of the Co-op period. Your coordinator must approve your proposal and will verify the position with the employer before you accept employment.
    • It is your responsibility to inform the employer that you are a Northeastern University Co-op student and that you will return to the University at the end of your Co-op term.
    • Remember that Co-op students cannot be employed as consultants or independent contractors.

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    How much will I be paid?

    Compensation is set by the employer and depends on the industry, the level of the position, and the local economy. Your Co-op faculty coordinator can give you specific compensation information for your program. You do not pay tuition while you are on Co-op.

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    Do I get a vacation?

    Vacations usually occur only at the end of academic semesters. The University calendar does not allow for vacations at any time during Co-op terms. You are expected to work from the beginning of the Co-op term to the end of your assignment.

    Some employers may need you to work beyond the published end dates of your Co-op term. Discuss exact start and end dates with your employer and Co-op faculty coordinator.

    You may take a summer vacation at the end of your freshman year, but once you begin Co-op (if you try to do three), you will either be in school or on Co-op during most of the summer months.

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    What is a 20/20?

    A 20/20 is a co-op that is made up of two different jobs. Usually an unpaid co-op - that was too good to pass up, and a paid job - to make it possible to afford doing an unpaid co-op. It based on what is best for the student. Co-op coordinators need to approve the final decision...but it is about making the unpaid co-op more affordable (or attractive) for the student to do.

    It is called a 20/20 because by doing 20 hours at each job, a student is still working full time (32-40 hours/week) and they are able to gain that valuable experience. (the paid, "extra" job, can be between 12-20 hours per week..but the "co-op" must be at least 20). Some students would rather work for 32 hours at the unpaid job then have to find another job.. that can be approved as well.

    The second job can be anything the student wants to do to make money - most stay at a current part-time job. (we do not have to approve the "other half" of a 20/20, but we need to know that you are fulfilling the hour requirement). Students must find this "other" job on their own.

    Some students decide to do two 20 hour per week "co-ops". (meaning both jobs have the qualities we desire to call it a co-op...i.e. not Pizza Hut, etc.) But MOST co-ops are full time, so this is much harder to do. (i.e. there are very few in COOL - part time jobs are not our priority) Students CANNOT ask a co-op employer to change a full time job into a part time job. This would harm our relationship with them.

    Some students choose to take two classes alongside the unpaid job (instead of a second job - that is paid). See this link for more information on classes during co-op.

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    May I take time off while on Co-op?

    The University calendar does not allow for vacations at any time during Co-op terms. You are expected to work from the beginning of the Co-op term to the end of your assignment. Some employers, however, may make exceptions. Employers expect that you will be responsible and that your attendance will be regular and punctual. As an employee, you must arrange for your personal and college-related commitments to take place outside of regular working hours. If you must take time off from work for special circumstances, you must contact your Co-op faculty coordinator before requesting permission from your employer. If you have military training obligations or student athletic team obligations that require time off from work, notify your Co-op faculty coordinator and your prospective employer prior to the start of your Co-op assignment.

    May I take courses while on Co-op?

    Whenever work and student activity conflict while you are on Co-op, the needs of your job must come first. You may enroll in classes that take place outside of your regular working hours. However, you should check with your academic adviser in advance or review your individual program's policies. If you are interested in taking a course that interferes with your Co-op commitment, you must petition and receive approval from both your Co-op faculty coordinator and your employer prior to accepting your Co-op position.

    see this link for more information on classes during co-op
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    Who are the Cooperative Education Faculty?

    We are professionals with experience in your major and/or career counseling experience who work with you throughout your time at Northeastern. The partnership between you and your co-op faculty coordinator is critical. Faculty provide the necessary tools and information, as well as job opportunities, to assist you in your search. Ultimately, however, it is YOUR responsibility to meet deadlines, look at job openings, meet with your faculty coordinator to discuss opportunities, and remain focused in your search. The end result should be a co-op position that provides an excellent opportunity for learning and growth for you.

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    Who is my Co-op Faculty Coordinator?

    I am. My name is Lisa Worsh. See contact me.

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    How do I make an appointment with my Co-op Faculty Coordinator?

    The myNEU Co-op Faculty Appointment Calendar located at allows you to review Co-op Faculty calendars; to view dates, times, and campus locations of walk-in hours and available appointment time slots; and to schedule an appointment with Co-op Faculty directly on-line.

    • Go to Northeastern's website:
    • Click myNEU - Student Self-Service
    • Click on Experiential Learning/Co-op
    • Go to Appointment Schedules
    • Select the Group: Cooperative Education
    • Select the Affiliation: Social Sciences & Humanities
    • Click on the name of the faculty you want to see
    • To sign up for an appointment - scroll down and sign up for an available time
    • If your coordinator has walk-in times and you want to see when they are, click on setting an appointment with that coordinator and then click to view his/her Calendar
    • Please pay attention to the office location for the day of your visit.

    If you set an appointment, write it down and be sure to arrive on time. Bring along items you wish to discuss, job descriptions, your resume, etc. (email your resume ahead of time so we can work on it) The more prepared you are, the better your appointment will be.

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