Northeastern student with diploma at graduation

Co-Op and Experiential Learning

As the cornerstone of Northeastern University’s educational model, CPS Co-op offers learners the opportunity to apply classroom skills within professional settings to solve real-world business problems.

REAL-WORLD LEARNING

Experiential Learning can help you connect with a target organization and earn while you learn, allowing you to put your name and face in front of the right people and prove you have what it takes to work there. Maybe you have some experience in a field, but you’re looking to re-enter the workforce in a better-paying position at a bigger company. Perhaps you’d like a preview of what it’s like to work in a particular field, before you commit to it or just want to start applying the theories you’re learning in class to your real-world job. 

CO-OP

32-40 hours/week, paid positions, 3-6 months in length

INTERNSHIP

AKA part-time (10-20 hour/week) co-op, paid or unpaid, 3-6 months in length

@WORK

Project-based work done at company outside of job scope

Whatever your reasons, our experiential learning options can give you the edge on preparing for your career. Start by determining your eligibility below and reviewing our checklists for participation:

You may be eligible for experiential learning opportunities whether you take courses on campus or online. We work with CPS students across all Northeastern campuses including Boston, Seattle, Charlotte, the Bay Area, Portland, Toronto, and Vancouver campuses. 

You can book appointments with your CPS Co-op Advisor online.

Walk-in Advising

Walk-in Advising Schedule

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
In-person: 1-3pm ET Virtual: 1-3pm ETIn-person: 1-3pm ET
Virtual: 3-5pm ET
In-person: 1-3pm ET
Virtual: 3-5pm ET
Virtual: 1-3pm ET

In Person Walk-ins

50 Nightingale Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Virtual Walk-ins

Zoom link
Please note: This link is subject to change and should not be bookmarked or saved. Please be sure to check this page for the most current link.

Experiential Learning Overview

In the College of Professional Studies, experiential learning can meet your academic, professional, and personal needs. Through varied, flexible options, integrating experiential learning into your degree plan is a breeze.  

CO-OP

Integration of classroom learning and the real-world experience. Target population: Students in the second half of their degree with core theoretical knowledge and possibly some work experience who will take a co-op (32-40 hours/week) to apply significant theoretical knowledge and expand professional network.

INTERNSHIP

Part time professional training experiences for students seeking entry into a new field. Students will do an internship to gain exposure to new skills, a new network, and workplace culture.

@WORK

Project-based work done in the workplace guided by an employer sponsor. Target population: students who are also working professionals and can negotiate with their employer to do a project outside the scope of their regular duties at the organization where they work or volunteer, or students sponsored by an employer partner.

Co-op, internship, and Experiential Learning at Work are all optional experiential learning activities offered in CPS. Students in CPS can also complete Experiential Network (XN) projects. These projects can be completed both in your classes and as an extracurricular activity. For more information on (XN) projects, visit the XN project website

If you are interested in engaging in a co-op, internship, or other experiential learning option, be sure you meet all the eligibility requirements.  

Internships (Graduate)Co-Ops and Co-Op at Work (Graduate)
-Complete 12 credits in your current program of study at CPS
-Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
-Complete 20 credits in your current program of study at CPS
-Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
Internships (Undergraduate)Co-Ops (Undergraduate)
-Complete 15 semester hours in your current program of study at CPS
-Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
-Complete 30 semester hours in your current program of study at CPS
-Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • International students must meet additional eligibility requirements for work authorization. Please see the “experiential learning for international students” section. 
  • A co-op or internship cannot take place is a student’s final term. Students must have at least one graduation-required course left to complete in the term after the co-op or internship.

Understand Where and How Experiential Learning Can Fit into your Program: 

Meet with your Academic Advisor to: 

  • Communicate your interest in experiential learning and discuss the various options 
  • Discuss your course plan and where experiential learning can fit it considering the academic and other eligibility requirements for experiential learning and your program requirements 

Meet with your Co-op Advisor to: 

  • Go over the process of engaging in an experiential learning opportunity and learn important deadlines and dates 
  • Learn about the required courses to get credit and registrations to maintain status 
  • Learn about the database of positions currently available to CPS students. Students are welcome to develop their own opportunities with employers not affiliated with our database, as long as the position meets the criteria for an internship or Co-Op and falls within the appropriate academic term timeframe. 

Enroll in INT2000/INT6200: Preparing for Experiential Learning (optional) 

Your academic advisor can assist you in enrolling in the INT 6200 – Preparing for Experiential Learning- course if you are a graduate student or INT 2000 -Preparation for Experiential Learning – if you are an undergraduate student. This 1 credit course is not required for students who expect to self-develop their co-op, but it is encouraged. For those students that will be searching for jobs through our Northeastern developed opportunities (including access to NUworks) and for those wishing to participate in an extracurricular XN project, there continues to be a requirement to successfully complete the INT course. 

As an international student, you have the option to incorporate a co-op, internship, or XN Project into your program. We recommend you begin at the start of your degree to ensure it is integrated into your course of study—helping you take advantage of as many opportunities as possible while you are at Northeastern. 

Before you can participate in a co-op, internship, or XN project you must: 

  • Enroll in INT 6200 (Graduate)/INT 2000 (Undergrad): Preparing for Experiential Learning (1 credit) to increase your likelihood of success (optional but recommended). 
  • Obtain approval from your Co-op Advisor once you have an offer letter in hand 
  • Apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization with your Co-op Advisor. See What is CPT and How to Apply for further instructions on requesting CPT work authorization.  

US based students who receive a paid position and do not have a social security number (SSN) must apply for an SSN once they have received CPT authorization. 

The OGS website will provide you with additional important information on procedures and forms to ensure legal authorization.

Office of Global Services
405 Ell Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
617-373-2310 (office)
http://www.northeastern.edu/ogs

How do I apply for a co-op work permit and SIN Social Insurance Number?

Other Co-Op Requirements

  • Your co-op duration must be less than 50% of your total program timeline with a maximum of six months
  • You must be registered in an official co-op course
  • Your co-op position must be full time (30+ hours per week)
  • Summer co-op positions must meet the requirements above, if you choose to work full time on your study permit in the summer, the position will not be considered as co-op creditable work

Part-time work guidelines for international students in Canada

  • During your study term, you may also work on your study permit for up to 20 hours per week
  • During your co-op term, legally, you may also work on your study permit for non-co-op creditable work for up to 20 hours/week off-campus

The review process can take about 3 weeks. Please submit the request for co-op at least 3 weeks before your desired start date. 

  1. Secure an offer letter from the employer 
  • Offer letter must include: 
    – Start and end dates (must coincide with academic term dates: see Important Dates and Deadlines section) 
    – Company name with the supervisor’s name and contact information (on a company letterhead) 
    – Hours per week (Co-op must be between 30-40 for Canada based learners) 
    – Salary 
    – Office location 
    – List of responsibilities 
  1. Submit offer letter to [email protected] 
    *Canada-based learners must also upload the offer letter on NUworks* 
  • If approved, you will need to engage in active reflection.  
  1. If the position was found outside of the NUworks database, add the position as experiential learning placement in NUworks (instructions are below) 

For positions found in NUworks: 

If you secure your co-op using the NUworks portal, please send the JOB ID in your co-op request materials to [email protected].  

For positions found outside of NUworks: 

Add position to NUworks by: 

  • Click on ‘Experiential Learning’ from the menu tab on the left 
  • Click ‘Add new’  
  • Complete employer and co-op position information 
  • Click ‘submit’ 

F1 learners in the US will complete all the above steps when completing their application for CPT. There is no need to do this twice. See What is CPT and How to Apply for further instructions on requesting CPT work authorization. 

What is CPT? 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.  

CPT requirements to keep in mind: 

  • A student must complete one academic year (two semesters/three quarters) of full-time study in the US before being eligible for CPT 
  • CPT authorization is required for all unpaid and paid internship/co-op positions 
  • No final term CPT is authorized – must have at least one degree required course left to take in the term after co-op/internship 
  • If you have already completed your degree requirements, you cannot receive CPT authorization. 

Once you are granted CPT authorization, you receive: 

  • Location and date-specific CPT authorization 
  • The opportunity to participate in a co-op or internship 

How to Apply for CPT: 

Submit your documents to request CPT at least 3 weeks before your desired start date.  

Please submit the following documents to [email protected]

  1. Offer letter (see Steps to Request Co-op section for offer letter requirements). 
  1. CPT placement document 
  1. CPT Request (Use [email protected] as the Secondary Approver) 
  1. If the position was found outside of the NUworks database, add the position as experiential learning placement in NUworks (See instructions in Steps to Request Co-op section). 

If you are currently out on co-op and wish to request CPT for another term, please follow steps 1 -3. 

CPS Co-op Dates and Deadlines, Academic Year 2021-2022

Graduate Dates and Deadlines

TermCo-op /Internship Start DatesCo-op /Internship End DateApplication Deadline: Offer Letter, Placement Document, CPT E-form*
Fall 2021September 5th– October 3rdJanuary 9thSeptember 10th
Winter 2022December 20th – January 24thApril 10thJanuary 3rd, 2022
Spring 2022April 4th – April 25thJuly 10thApril 4th, 2022

Undergraduate Dates and Deadlines

TermCo-op /Internship Start DatesCo-op /Internship End DateApplication Deadline: Offer Letter, Placement Document, CPT E-form*
Fall 2021August 22nd – September 22ndJanuary 17thSeptember 6th
Spring 2022 (4 month only)December 20th – January 31stMay 8thJanuary 11th, 2022
Spring/Summer 1 (6-month) December 20th – January 31st June 28th January 11th, 2022 
Summer (4-month only) May 8th  – May 22nd  September 5th May 9th, 2022 

All deadlines are FINAL. We will not be accepting late requests or submissions.

Student testimonial

“It was a great chance for me to demonstrate what I learned at Northeastern in project management, and how I connected schoolwork and class curriculum to real life project management at Asian Women for Health.”

Chen Fang (Anna) Hung, ‘20
MS Project Management with concentration in Corporate and Organizational Communication
2020 Experiential Learning Humanics Award recipient for her work at Asian Women for Health on an online support group for Chinese women living with breast cancer.

XN Project Winners

Meet the 2021 winners of the Experiential Learning awards who were nominated by their employers for excellence in applying their knowledge to their work in business and non-profits. Undergraduate and graduate students participated in co-ops and Experiential Network (XN) projects.

Read more

For further information, contact Lucy Fitzpatrick, Associate Director, College of Professional Studies Co-Op.