General student FAQs can be found here.
- What is co-operative education?
- What circumstances might affect my co-op eligibility?
- What happens if I change my major or concentration?
- What is the Professional Development for Co-op course?
- May I participate in co-op if I am an athlete?
- How many co-ops do I need to do?
- Are co-op jobs guaranteed for every student?
- What can I do to become more competitive for co-op jobs?
- Where do I live while on co-op?
- May I work outside of Boston?
- Do I need to have a car to go on co-op?
- May I find my own position?
- How much will I be paid?
- What is the 20/20 co-op plan?
- May I take time off while on co-op?
- May I take courses while on co-op?
- 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 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 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 workplace and classroom learning to sharpen professional and academic goals.
What circumstances might affect my co-op eligibility?
To qualify academically for co-op you must maintain an annual grade-point average of at least 2.00. Should you fail to make appropriate academic progress in your program, you might not be permitted to participate in co-op. Successful completion of the mandatory Professional Development for Co-op course, participation in advising sessions with your Co-op Faculty Coordinator, and meeting all deadlines for your proposed co-op session are also required.
You may 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.
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 Coordinator. If you have successfully taken, and passed, the Professional Development for Co-op course, you do not have to take it again.
What is the Professional Development for Co-op course?
Before your first co-op, you must take the Professional Development for Co-op class. This one credit class is taught by Co-op Faculty and 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 search for your co-op positions and helps build a foundation of career development skills.
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 and those who play spring sports to utilize the June-December cycle. 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.
How many co-ops do I need to do?
Co-op is optional for Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, and Marine Biology majors, but most of the students in these majors complete at least one co-op. A student who plans to graduate in five years can complete up to three co-ops, while those who graduate in four years usually can complete only one co-op. Students who do not participate in co-op must do another form of experiential education, such as study abroad, undergraduate research, internships, or service learning.
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 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 we cannot guarantee co-op positions. You are ultimately responsible for your own success and must participate fully in the process.
What do I need to do to become more competitive for co-op jobs?
The co-op search process is competitive, so we encourage you to improve your chances by building your experience and skill base. Students should start building their resumes during their freshmen and sophomore years. This can be done through volunteering, a part-time job or internship, or extra-curricular activities at school. A lot of students find an internship for the summer after their freshman year to assist with skill development and professional experience.
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. You are responsible for finding your own housing and transportation in the other locale, but the Co-op Connections program can assist you in finding housing away from Boston.
Some students also live at home or in off-campus apartments during co-op. It is important to consider your co-op plans before signing a lease. If have a lease and leave Boston for your co-op, you may need to find a subletter.
May I work outside of Boston?
Being open to working outside of Boston can increase your chances of finding an environmental job within your specific area of interest. It is important to discuss your location preferences with your Co-op Faculty Coordinator for advice and job leads. If we do not currently have positions available in your location of choice, we will work with you to find one.
If you are interested in working abroad, contact the International Co-op Office. Environmental Science and Studies students have worked around the world.
Do I need to have a car to go on co-op?
No, you do not need to have a car to go on co-op, but some students do find that it is helpful to have a vehicle. While many employers are accessible by public transportation, Environmental Science and Studies and Marine Biology tend to be fields in which more employers are spread out geographically. Northeastern does offer discounted parking rates for students who do not have cars on campus during academic semesters but must have a car during co-op terms to travel to their co-op job.
While Northeastern has established co-op positions and is working to add more every semester, we do encourage students to also look for jobs that are outside of our system. Taking this double pronged approach increases your chances of finding a position that is a good fit. Your Co-op Faculty Coordinator will advise you in methods of searching for a job.
If you find your own position, keep the following in mind:
- Discuss your plans with your Co-op Coordinator frequently and 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.
- Co-op students must be considered an employee (or intern) rather than a consultant or independent contractor.
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. Unfortunately, not every co-op is paid (see information about the 20/20 plan), but you are never obligated to accept an unpaid co-op. Within Environmental Science and Studies and Marine Biology there is a large range of compensation models from unpaid to monthly stipends to hourly salaries. See your Co-op Faculty Coordinator for more information. You do not pay tuition while you are on co-op.
What is the 20/20 Co-op Plan?
A 20/20 is a co-op that is made up of two different jobs. One is usually an unpaid co-op job that offers a valuable experience. The other is a paid job, which makes it possible to afford doing an unpaid co-op. The paid job does not need to be related to your field of study. 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).
Rather than taking a paid job, some students choose to take two classes alongside the unpaid job. Co-op Coordinators need to approve both 20/20 scenarios, but the goal of the 20/20 plan is to make the unpaid co-op more affordable (or attractive).
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 Coordinator and your prospective employer prior to the start of your co-op assignment.
May I take courses while on co-op?
The needs of your job must come first when work and student activity conflict. You may enroll in classes that take place outside of your regular working hours, though you need permission from your Co-op Faculty Coordinator to take more than one class. You should also check with your academic advisor and 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 Coordinator and your employer prior to accepting your co-op position.
The myNEU Co-op Advisor Calendar located at myNEU allows you to schedule an appointment with Co-op Faculty directly.
- Go to Northeastern’s myNEU website: www.myneu.neu.edu
- Click myNEU – Student Self-Service
- Click on Experiential Learning/Co-op
- Go to Advisor Calendar
- Choose Cooperative Education from the drop down menu
- 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
- You must schedule appointments by 5pm on the business day before the appointment
- Please cancel appointments by 5pm on the business day before the appointment