How Co-op Works

Students start with a required co-op course that prepares them to succeed in their co-op experiences.  For undergraduates, the first co-op opportunity typically begins in the second half of sophomore year, and there are options to complete up to two co-ops in the course of a four-year program or up to three co-ops in the course of a five-year program. 

Northeastern provides a broad-based network of support that helps students prepare for and get the most from co-op, including an academic advisor, a co-op coordinator and if applicable, a global co-op coordinator.  Your co-op coordinator will guide you through the co-op process and help to identify various positions that best match your skills and career interests.  After you’ve completed your co-op assignment, you will be asked to reflect upon your experience and explain how it integrates with your classroom studies. The reflection process may include a variety of options such as one-on-one meetings with your co-op coordinator, writing assignments/or presentations, and online reflections throughout your co-op.

Sample Job Descriptions

We have provided this set of job descriptions to first-year undergraduate students to explore the different majors. These examples are taken from actual co-op job descriptions, but are changed to preserve the identity of the company, and do not represent currently available positions. Review our sample resume for the best way to format your information.

Performance Standards 

Undergraduate Co-op Performance Standards encourage professional and ethical behaviors throughout the co-op process, and clarify procedures required for continued success of our students and the co-op program. The College of Engineering Undergraduate Co-op Performance Standards are communicated to all students in the Introduction to Cooperative Education course as part of their preparation for the first co-op experience. The standards establish co-op 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 and the expected duration of co-op.  In the event that a situation arises that requires special consideration, the College of Engineering Co-op Standing Committee may be consulted. 

The College of Engineering Co-op Standing Committee consists of five co-op faculty members appointed from the College’s Co-op Faculty, Assistant Dean for Departmental Co-op (ex officio), Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Academic Advising (ex officio), and  Associate Dean (ex officio). This committee will review all cases concerning requested exceptions and co-op performance that does not meet the standards referenced above. The committee may be petitioned by the student, Co-op Coordinator and/or Assistant Dean for Departmental Co-op and will determine the future eligibility of the student for subsequent co-op assignments, and if the behaviors warrant referral to the University Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. The decision of the committee will be considered final.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for co-op, undergraduates students must have:

  • successfully completed the Introduction to Co-op course with a grade of D or higher;
  • earned 32 semester hours of credit; 
  • a recorded GPA on their transcript;
  • a minimum 2.0 GPA for domestic co-op and 2.5 for international co-op;
  • no outstanding disciplinary or academic probation issues;
  • at least one semester remaining in their degree program, after completing their final co-op.

Undergraduate Students – Taking a Course While on Co-op

Co-op jobs are full-time (35+ hours per week) demanding positions, and as such it is not recommended that students enroll in classes during co-op. Students should discuss the need to take a course(s) and the registration process with your co-op coordinator and academic advisor.

To enroll in one course, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Confirm with your academic advisor that taking a class during a co-op semester is necessary.
  2. Discuss with your co-op coordinator, and communicate the reasons for taking a course during co-op.  Students must provide the course meeting time, as well as the job supervisor’s name, phone number, email address, company name, and whether the supervisor has given approval.
  3. Inform and gain approval from your co-op job supervisor, particularly if the class impacts work hours. If approved, work out a plan to fulfill work responsibility.
  4. Talk to your financial aid counselor to determine additional cost/semester and how this may affect your personal award situation.
  5. If your manager has approved one course on co-op, you can register on-line without a petition. You must complete “I Am Here” at the appropriate time. 

To enroll in two courses* during co-op (Fall or Spring semester only)**, you will also need to:

  1. Receive approval from your co-op coordinator, academic advisor and co-op job supervisor
  2. Fill out a Petition Registration Form
  3. Complete “I Am Here” at the appropriate time

*Due to of the demands of full-time co-op work along with two academic courses, such approvals are rare, and the decision to approve will depend on the manager’s input, your co-op progress, past employer evaluations, and your academic record.

**Please note that students are not permitted to enroll in two classes during a summer session while on co-op.  Taking two courses during a summer term is the equivalent of a full time course-load, comparable to enrollment in four courses in the fall or spring semester.