Cooperative Education

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Cooperative education (co-op) is the cornerstone of Northeastern University’s experiential learning approach, in which on-campus study is enhanced by real-world experience through full-time employment at locations all over the world. Through co-op, students alternate periods of academic courses with periods of employment in positions related to their academic or career interests. This combination provides an integrated learning experience that enhances both in-class studies and career development.

General Requirements

  • Be a full-time student to participate in co-op.
  • Complete all pre co-op requirements as established by the college of the student.
  • Make satisfactory progress towards degree completion, including grade point average requirements, as defined by the university, the colleges, and the major program curricula.
  • Have a placement in an official co-op placement system with accurate start and end dates, and meet the minimum hour and day requirements.
  • Not participate in co-op in the final term unless it is specified in the curriculum requirements of the program in the catalog.
  • Resolve any previous disciplinary or academic probation issues, or have the cooperative education coordinator approve a plan to resolve these issues, prior to applying for co-op jobs.
  • Have any self-developed co-op approved by the cooperative education coordinator before accepting the position.
  • Comply with any pre-employment checks required by the employer, such as drug testing, credit checks, physical examinations, security clearance, and criminal record checks.
  • Participate in Title IX training, as required.
  • Complete additional requirements if participating in a global co-op. See the Global Experience Office website for more information.
  • Work with the co-operative education coordinator if an Unsatisfactory (U) grade has been received for a past co-op to re-establish eligibility in accordance with the policies and requirements of the college.

Transfer and International Students:

  • Transfer students from other universities must have met the same requirements in their major’s co-op program as non-transfers and must have completed at least one semester of classes before starting co-op.
  • International students must attend one academic year, or its equivalent, and obtain proper authorization from the Office of Global Services before engaging in co-op.

Academic Requirements

  1. Be full-time while on co-op. Full-time status for co-op is defined as either:
    1. one full-time co-op job; 32-40 hours per week, or
    2. two simultaneous half-time co-op jobs; 20-31.99 hours each, or
    3. one half-time co-op job; 20-31.99 hours with graduate students taking 3 or more academic credits or undergraduate students taking 4 or more academic credits.
      1. Undergraduate students on co-op in a Summer 1 or Summer 2 term may be registered for one half-time co-op without acquiring a second job or taking an accompanying class.
  2. Meet the minimum length requirements for an academic term:
    1. Semester full-term: minimum of 11 weeks or 55 work days
    2. Quarter full-term: minimum of 9 weeks or 45 work days
    3. Summer 1 or Summer 2 term: minimum of 5 weeks or 25 work days
  3. Receive a grade of Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory for the co-op experience.

Registration for Co-op

Students are registered for co-op based on a complete job placement in an official co-op placement system with accurate start and end dates, and meet the minimum hour and day requirements. Registration into the co-op experience class occurs one month before the term. Students need to be placed for co-op by the end of the add period, or they should be registered for classes if still searching for a job by this deadline. All co-op placements need to be approved by a co-op coordinator and entered into an official co-op placement system by the last day to drop without a W.

Co-op Financial Planning

  • No tuition is charged while a student is on co-op only (students will pay room and board if they stay in university housing).
  • If a student takes a credit-bearing class while on co-op, tuition will be charged at the per-credit rate.
  • Financial aid will be distributed to match the student’s tuition bill and other allowable expenses.
  • Students on co-op are required to maintain the same health insurance coverage (either through a private provider or through the university program) as they would while attending classes.

Further Information

For more detailed information about co-op policies and procedures, see the Cooperative Education Student Handbook on the Cooperative Education website.