What is Co-operative education?

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

Who participates in Co-op?

Co-op is a required part of the Architecture and Urban Landscape programs. 

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. Students receive their co-op division assignment freshman year.

What happens if a student changes their major or concentration?

If students change their major, they will likely be assigned to a new co-op faculty coordinator who specializes in the new major. Students should notify their former co-op faculty coordinator so their records can be transferred and they can be referred to a new coordinator. Students are responsible for meeting promptly with their new co-op faculty coordinator.

What circumstances might affect a student’s Co-op eligibility?

To qualify academically for co-op as an architecture major, students must maintain the annual grade-point average of 2.5. They may also seek the advice of their academic adviser. Should students fail to make appropriate academic progress in their program, they might not be permitted to participate in co-op. Students may also be precluded from interviewing for co-op positions if they 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 a student’s eligibility and/or opportunity for co-op positions.

May athletes participate in Co-op?

Yes, student-athletes are eligible to participate in co-op. Athletes play fall sports are encouraged to complete co-op assignments during the January-June cycle (Division B) and those who play spring sports to utilize the June-December cycle (Division A). 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. Students should discuss their athletic and work schedule with their co-op faculty coordinator.

Where do students live while on Co-op?

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

For assistance for out-of-state housing, please contact Co-op Connections Office.

May students work outside of Boston?

For architecture majors, there are many opportunities for positions outside of the Greater Boston Area. If students are interested this option, they should discuss it with their co-op faculty coordinator. Coordinators may have established contacts in a preferred region or may be able to give advice on how to develop leads.

How do students find jobs outside the United States?

Many architecture students have had successful co-op experiences abroad.  Interested students will be assisted by their co-op advisor and the Department of International Co-operative Education.

May students find their own positions?

Northeastern has a range of resources available to help students find a co-op position, including co-op faculty coordinators and the International Co-op Department. Students are encouraged to make use of these resources to find a co-op positions that matches their interests and needs. They may also choose to make or call upon their own connections to find co-op jobs.

If students find their own positions, keep the following in mind:

  • Students should discuss their plans with their co-op faculty coordinator well in advance of the co-op period. Students’ coordinator must approve their proposals and will verify positions with employers before employment can be accepted.
  • It is the responsibility of students to inform their employers that they are Northeastern University co-op students and they will return to the University at the end of the co-op term.
  • Co-op students cannot be employed as consultants or independent contractors. 

How much are students paid?

Compensation is set by the employer and depends on the industry, the level of the position, and the local economy. Architecture students typically get paid between $12-17 an hour, depending on experience and level of school. Students do not pay tuition while they are on co-op. 

Do students get vacations?

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. Students are expected to work from the beginning of the co-op term to the end of their assignment.

Discuss exact start and end dates with your employer and co-op faculty coordinator.

May students take time off while on Co-op?

Employers expect students will be responsible and that their attendance will be regular and punctual. As employees, students must arrange for their personal and college-related commitments to take place outside of regular working hours. If they must take time off from work for special circumstances, students must contact their co-op faculty coordinators before requesting permission from their employer. If students have military training obligations or student athletic team obligations that require time off from work, they should notify their co-op faculty coordinator and prospective employer prior to the start of their co-op assignment.

May students take courses while on Co-op?

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