Cooperative Education Information
As a full-time student, you can elect to participate in the cooperative education program (Co-op) at Northeastern University. Cooperative education allows students to mix academics with hands-on work experience in their field of study. In general, the goal of each co-op experience is education in both the student's subject matter area and in the student's professional practice.
In general, the goal of each co-op experience is education in both the student's subject matter area and in the student's professional practice. Generally a graduate student is more apt to benefit from applying academic learning to practice and would benefit less from a job in which the experience is principally non-technical. The emphasis in graduate cooperative education, therefore, is on technically challenging assignments in the student's subject matter area.
Graduate students can be broadly classified into three groups: terminal Master's degree with no research; Master's candidate with research or intent to pursue a PhD; and PhD candidates. Accordingly, co-op assignments must recognize these differences.
For the terminal Master's candidate, academic studies are an extension of their undergraduate program or a basis in an engineering area for students with different undergraduate concentrations, e.g., Physics. For these students, an appropriate assignment is one that allows them the opportunity to function as an entry-level engineer in their field. Approval for a co-op assignment is made by the cooperative education faculty coordinator in consultation with the academic department. Typically, the student's research or academic adviser would be the appropriate person with whom the co-op faculty coordinator consults.
A co-op assignment for students with research in their plan must be in an area that is relevant to their research. It is recognized that a specific research topic is not always agreed on at the time when a co-op assignment fits into the academic plan. The goal for students in that situation is an assignment in their subject matter area in which they might identify a suitable research topic. This implies close cooperation among the student, the student's research or academic adviser, and the student's co-op faculty coordinator. Approval for a co-op assignment is made by the co-op faculty coordinator in consultation with the academic department and the student's research adviser.
PhD students are explicitly engaged in research in a specific subject area. Co-operative work assignments should only be considered as a way of contributing to that research. Close cooperation among the student, the thesis committee, and the co-op faculty coordinator is necessary to ensure meeting this goal. Approval for a co-op assignment is made by the co-op faculty coordinator in consultation with the student's research adviser and the academic department.