Cooperative education 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 toward degree completion, including grade-point average requirements as defined by the university, the colleges, and the major program curricula.
  • Have accurate information about the co-op placement in the university's official co-op placement system, including specific start and end dates and meeting 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 preemployment 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 any additional requirements if participating in a global co-op. 
  • Work with the cooperative education coordinator if an Unsatisfactory (U) grade has been received for a past co-op to reestablish 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 nontransfers 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
    2. Two simultaneous half-time co-op jobs; 16–31.99 hours each
    3. One half-time co-op job; 16–31.99 hours with graduate students taking 3 or more academic credits or undergraduate students taking 6 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 workdays
    2. Quarter full-term: minimum of 9 weeks or 45 workdays
    3. Summer 1 or summer 2 term: minimum of 5 weeks or 25 workdays
  3. Receive a grade of Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory for the co-op experience.

Co-op Duration

Graduate Students Enrolled in Colleges Other than the College of Professional Studies:

  • Students may be hired into co-op positions for periods of four to eight months in one of the following patterns:

• Four months (spring, fall, or summer full terms)
• Six months (spring term plus summer 1 term, or summer 2 term plus fall term)
• Eight months (spring term plus summer full term, or summer full term plus fall term)

  • In addition, students enrolled at a Canadian campus may be hired into co-op positions for periods of four to eight months, including continuous periods spanning the fall and spring semesters. In the case of such eight-month fall/spring term co-op assignments, students are required to enroll full-time in classes during the summer term immediately following the assignment. If a student only needs to take one additional course to complete their program’s requirements, they are only required to enroll in that one class in the summer term immediately following the assignment.

Graduate Students Enrolled in the College of Professional Studies:

  • Students may be hired into co-op positions for periods of three months or six months.

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.
  • Students who wish to register for more than 4 credits while on full-time co-op must complete the Petition Registration form.
  • 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.

Registration for Co-op

Students are registered for co-op based on a completed co-op record that meets the minimum hour and day requirements with accurate start and end dates in the university's official co-op database system. Students must be registered for the co-op work experience course by the end of the add period or alternately registered for classes if still searching for a job by this deadline. All co-op positions need to be approved by the university and entered as completed records in the official co-op database system by the last day to drop without a W for the respective semester.

Further Information

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