Cooperative Education Policies

The College of Science Graduate Cooperative Education Program (co-op) is one option for experiential learning and is available to students enrolled full-time at Northeastern University in a degree-granting program.

The goals of cooperative education are for students to:

  • Integrate knowledge and skills learned in the classroom and co-op to identify and solve problems
  • Gain new knowledge and develop new skills to successfully engage in unfamiliar activities and projects
  • Identify and leverage opportunities to learn beyond the classroom
  • Articulate the intellectual skills that underlie the work they engage in
  • Assess, critique, and improve their work
  • Adapt their behavior to different audiences they interact with (e.g., communicate, self-representation, etc.)
  • Behave professionally in various environments (i.e., team, independent, etc.) by adhering to ethical standards and being accountable for their commitments

Master’s level students must meet the eligibility requirements and follow the guidelines below. Co-op is not guaranteed and students must compete and be selected for a limited number of co-op opportunities.

Eligibility Requirement for Co-op

  • To be eligible for co-op, College of Science graduate students must: 
    • Be enrolled full-time at Northeastern University. Approval is required from the Co-op Faculty for exceptions
    • Have completed a minimum of 16 Masters level academic credits prior to the start of co-op
    • Meet the 3.0 minimum GPA requirement
    • Have no incomplete grades, not be on academic probation, or have any outstanding disciplinary issues
    • Have at least two required courses remaining in their program after completing co-op (for programs that co-op isn’t required)
  • International students on an F1 visa must have a valid I-20 and must follow Curricular Practical Training (CPT) protocol
  • Students must successfully complete the Introduction to Co-op Course. This course covers the College of Science co-op performance standards. These standards encourage professional and ethical behaviors throughout the co-op process and clarify procedures required for continued success of students and the co-op program. The standards establish professional expectations of the student throughout the co-op search process and during the co-op term, and address co-op related issues that may involve performance.
  • Students must receive approval from the Co-op Faculty prior to accepting a placement.


  1. Students may participate in co-op activities with a single company for a four-, six-, or eight-month period. The total duration of co-op cannot exceed eight months or be shorter than eleven weeks.
  2. Co-ops are aligned with academic terms (fall, spring, and full summer or summer 1 and summer 2).
  3. Co-ops are required to be full-time, a minimum of 32 hours per week.
  4. Course enrollment while on co-op is dependent upon academic program.
  5. Students can create their own co-op placement outside of NUcareers. Approval from the Co-op Faculty and adherence to all guidelines is required.
  6. Students working in industry can complete an industry project to fulfill the co-op requirement. This must be approved by the Co-op Faculty and Program Director.
  7. The College of Science only allows students to utilize NUCareers Co-op placement once per degree.  

Registering for Co-op

Students are registered for the Co-op Work Experience Course based on the job placement in NUcareers. All co-op placements need to be approved by the Co-op Faculty.

Co-op Documentation

Students who fully and successfully participate in co-op will receive a grade of Satisfactory. Those who fail to complete their co-op assignment will receive a grade of Unsatisfactory (U). These grades will appear on the student’s academic transcript. Academic credit isn’t awarded for the completed co-op.

Seattle, San Francisco and Silicon Valley

Seattle, San Francisco and Silicon Valley graduate students are required to fulfill the co-op requirement and must adhere to all guidelines (Biotechnology & Bioinformatics Students ONLY).

The College of Science Co-op Standing Committee

In the event a situation arises that requires special consideration, the College of Science students who are dismissed from or resign from a co-op job for circumstances under their control will have an opportunity to meet with the Co-op Standing Committee for a review and a decision will be made on future co-op eligibility and access to NU Careers.

PhD Students

Please contact your department or Graduate Admissions and Student Services to inquire about guidelines for experiential learning opportunities.