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 worldwide. 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 two full-time fall/spring semesters as a matriculated student enrolled in a degree-seeking program according to the student's assigned pattern of attendance. Some programs may require completion of additional semesters to be eligible for 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.
  • Not participate in co-op in the term following a return from a leave of absence.
  • 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 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.

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.

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.

Further Information

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