Northeastern University

Student Faqs

What is Co-operative education?
Who participates in co-op?
What is a co-op division?
What happens if I change my major or concentration?
What circumstances might affect my co-op eligibility?
May I participate in Co-op if I am an athlete?
Where do I live while on co-op?
May I work outside of Boston?
May I work outside the United States?
May I find my own position?
How much will I be paid?
Do I get a vacation?
May I take time off while on co-op?
May I take courses while on co-op?


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.


Who participates in Co-op?

The majority (approximately 90 percent) of full-time undergraduate students in the English major participate 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 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 will decide which division you would prefer and inform your Faculty Coordinator at least one semester in advance.


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.

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What circumstances might affect my co-op eligibility?

To qualify academically for co-op, you must maintain the annual grade-point average of 2.00. You may also seek the advice of your academic adviser. Should you fail to make appropriate academic progress in your program, you might not be permitted to participate in co-op. 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.


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 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. 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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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.


May I work outside of Boston?

Though most of the opportunities offered through the Communication Studies Co-op program are in the Boston area, and, to a lesser extent, New York City, students may choose to pursue positions in other locations. If you are interested in 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 or may advise you on how to develop leads.

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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 Cooperative 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.


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.

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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.


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.

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May I take time off while on Co-op?

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 petition to enroll in up to two 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.

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