Everything You Need To Know About Northeastern’s Co-op Program

    Updated on: 12 Sep 2023

    Studying abroad is a life-changing experience, particularly for the exposure it gives a student to the industry even during his/her studying years. ‘Experiential Learning’ is a program which is widespread among foreign universities and is the best path for international students to develop industry skills and get employment after graduation. One of the most popular programs is Northeastern’s co-op program. 

    What’s Experiential Learning?

    Before getting deep into the co-op program at Northeastern University, let us first know what experiential training is.

    Also known as cooperative education, the experiential training enhances what you study on-campus with real-world experience by allowing you to work full-time during the degree. 

    The Northeastern's Co-op program is known as one of the top co-op programs providing experiential training to students. Majority of College of Engineering students complete 2 or 3 co-ops during their course. 

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    What is the Co-op Program at Northeastern University?

    The Northeastern co-op program alternates study semesters with full-time work. In simpler words, you gain industry experience as part of the degree’s curriculum. This program is available in almost all fields of study provided by the university including humanities, engineering, and business. The objective of the co-op program at Northeastern University is to give a student the opportunity:

    • To explore different career paths.
    • To establish connections in the professional field.
    • To acquire practical knowledge and skill to build a foundation for a solid career in the future.

    Effectively, the co-op broadens the perspective of a student by giving them the chance to learn beyond the comforts of a classroom.

    Understanding the Northeastern’s College of Engineering Co-op Program

    The Northeastern's College of Engineering provides a co-op program for both undergraduate and graduate students. A student pursuing graduate studies may be able to complete 1 co-op program during their study period. If you enrol yourself in a co-op program and are studying a course that is 4 years long, you will have 2 co-ops. For a course that is 5 years long, you can complete 3 co-ops. 

    Although the co-op at Northeastern University is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended that international students enrol in it because it will give them a chance to apply their knowledge in a real-life context. Apart from gaining solid industry training and experience, one gets to establish contacts and networks from the industry which are a plus point with respect to employment opportunities in the future.

    Moreover, students learn more skills while working on a co-op program, which can then be integrated into the following semesters of the academic program. Essentially, you get to know how “theory and practice” work together.

    Salient Features of the College of Engineering Co-Op Program 

    • Under the co-op educational program, undergraduate and graduate students will get the chance to work full-time for a period of 4-8 months. 
    • They are paid positions where you work on real-world projects.
    • The position has to relate to your academics or connected to your career interest. 
    • The co-op is open globally; you can work in the US or elsewhere.
    • You don’t have to pay tuition when you are in a co-op.


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    How Does the Northeastern University Co-op Program Work? 

    • The university provides complete support to candidates who wish to enrol themselves in the co-op program. Students will be connected with co-op coordinator and academic advisors who will be guiding them throughout the process and also help them gain clarity as to which field they should take up the program in.
    • Co-op students will be trained in resume writing, interview preparation, job search tactics, professionalism, and so on to help them effectively look for employers for the program. 
    • Co-op students will be able to search for jobs with the help of Northeastern’s internal jobs database NUcareers. Apart from this, they are free to network and establish contacts as well as use other platforms as well like LinkedIn and other job portals. All this while, they need to stay in touch with their coordinators. Employers will contact the candidates directly. 
    • Once the co-op assignment has ended, you have to explain how it fits in with your academic studies by reflecting upon the experience. The process of reflection can include:
      1. Written Assignments/PPTs
      2. One-on-one meetings with the co-op coordinator
      3. Online reflections on your co-op experience


    Query on Northeastern Co op Program Answered by a NEU Alumni


    Which Courses within Northeastern’s College of Engineering come under the Co-op Program?

    • Bioengineering
    • Chemical Engineering
    • Civil and Environmental Engineering
    • Electrical and Computer Engineering
    • Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
    • Information Systems
    • Cyber-Physical Systems
    • Software Engineering Systems
    • Telecommunication Networks
    • Data Architecture and Management

    What are Some of the Employers of the Northeastern College Co-op Program?

      Akamai Technologies  

    Ericsson Inc




      NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory  



    Oracle Corporation




    Bose Corporation



    Cisco Systems




      Johnson & Johnson  


    What is Northeastern’s Co-op Eligibility and Requirements?

    The Requirements You Need To Fulfil Are - 

    • Be in a full-time degree; graduate certificate programs are not eligible.
    • Have the minimum set GPA. For an undergraduate degree, it is 2.0 for domestic co-op and 2.5 for international co-op.
    • Have earned the minimum semester hours of credit.
    • Meet the minimum IELTS or TOEFL score. 
    • Have no incomplete courses, disciplinary issues or academic probation.
    • There should be one on-ground course remaining after the completion of the last co-op.
    • Undergraduate students should have completed the Introduction to Cooperative Education or Career Management for Engineers and gained grade D or higher in it. 
    • As an international student, you will need to have a valid I-20 and be authorised by the Office of Global Services to participate in the co-op program. 

    Do keep in mind that the Co-op at Northeastern is not guaranteed. You need to take active responsibility and engage in the search process to be hired by a co-op employer. 
    Note: Detailed eligibility criteria and minimum scores needed to be eligible for the co-op for each program can be found here for graduate students and here for undergraduate students.

    What are the Benefits of Enrolling in the Northeastern’s Co-op Program?

    Northeastern University says that the co-op is central to the College of Engineering student experience because it imparts skills and expertise like none other. Upon graduating, the student has a highly competitive edge over the others when searching for a job.
    Besides an unparalleled career preparation well before you graduate, a few additional advantages of the co-op are:

    • You can explore long-term goals, i.e., you can decide if you wish to study further and which field in particular.
    • You can discover the various fields of engineering and a plethora of jobs that the present, continually changing world presents. 
    • For international students, it is a chance to work for US companies.
    • You not only gain professional experience but also financially support your degree as you earn a salary during the co-op.
    • Get a job offer even before completing your degree. 

    Summing Up the Co-op at Northeastern University

    In 2019 alone, the co-op program at the Graduate School of Engineering at Northeastern placed one thousand students in technical positions spanning the world. Majority of them were international students. 

    One example is Vaishali Tripathi, an MS in Information Systems student at the university. Vaishali earned a full-time job offer from Amazon after completing her co-op there in December!

    In a gist, in an era where starting a career in your field of interest is getting increasingly hard, the experiential learning co-op program provides an invaluable chance to kickstart your career in the right direction, something a student studying abroad should not lose out on.

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    First published date: 16 Mar 2020

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Madhuwrita Nandi
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