About

The cornerstone of Northeastern University’s educational model

For over 100 years cooperative education (co-op) has been the cornerstone of Northeastern University’s educational model.

What started in 1909 with eight engineering students and four Boston employers as an earn-to-learn program has evolved into a research-based, integrated learning experience.

Cooperative education has been a historic strength of the university’s experiential learning brand.  Each year students at every level and at every campus location participate in this signature model of experiential learning.


During academic year 2017-2018:

  • More than 10,000 students complete a co-op work assignment with more than 2,500 hiring organizations
  • Those hiring organizations represent nearly every employment sector and include companies from the Fortune 100 to small start-ups
  • Students completed co-ops in more than 46 states and territories in addition to 72 foreign countries

The co-op program has evolved due to the dedication of Northeastern University’s innovation and commitment to make co-op more effective and continuously assess and redesign our programs to meet the changing needs of employers and partners.


Northeastern’s cooperative education program is a cost-effective strategy for workforce development.

  • Students alternate classroom studies with full-time work in career-related jobs for four to six months

For NU students, cooperative education is an approach to intellectual and professional growth and career success that demands continual learning and integration.

When students leave Northeastern, they are prepared to apply knowledge and skill to unfamiliar tasks and activities in new, authentic contexts and continue to learn in a work based environment.

Our model produces graduates who are critical thinkers, globally aware, confident, self-directed learners experienced with multiple organizations that allows them to contribute to the success or your organization immediately.