The questions below are specific to the Khoury College of Computer Sciences co-op program. If you have additional questions, please contact Karyn Rosen or review the Northeastern University Co-op FAQ.
Is co-op mandatory at Khoury?
Northeastern undergraduate students must complete one form of experiential learning in order to graduate. Students fulfill this requirement through co-op (domestic or global), research, or specific courses fulfilling this requirement. Although co-op is not a requirement, it is strongly encouraged, and nearly 100% of Khoury students pursue this option. Most Khoury students complete two co-ops during their time at Northeastern.
How does the co-op process work?
Please review Undergraduate Co-op to learn about the co-op process and requirements.
When can I start co-op?
Please review the eligibility requirements.
Who is my co-op coordinator?
A co-op coordinator will be assigned prior to the start of your co-op search.
When will I receive my co-op pattern?
First-year students will receive their co-op pattern during the summer before their freshman year. This pattern will determine when you will be on co-op and/or in classes. Students who change majors or transfer into Northeastern will meet with their academic advisor to determine their co-op pattern.
What kinds of co-op jobs are available?
Co-op jobs are dependent on industry demand and vary from semester to semester. The Khoury Co-op Coordinators develop, review, and approve each job to ensure that it will be an appropriate learning experience, but otherwise no restrictions are made regarding the types of co-op jobs available. Khoury’s diverse combined major options allow Co-op Faculty to target a range of different industries, including software development and network administration, project management, bioinformatics, and game design. Students work at companies ranging from large corporations to start-ups, and everything in between. With multiple opportunities to complete a co-op, students can see what type of environment they prefer.
Co-op Coordinators work individually with each student to determine the types of jobs that match the student’s background, skills, and career goals. Eligibility for each job depends on criteria established by the job description and competitiveness of the applicant pool. Previous experience, grades, communication skills, technical aptitude, and professional and emotional maturity also play a factor in eligibility. Students are required to dedicate substantial effort to their job search and work with their Co-op Coordinator in a professional and collaborative manner.
Where are most co-op jobs located?
Many jobs are located in Greater Boston, however jobs are also posted in locations such as California, New York, Washington, DC and globally. Students are encouraged to work with their co-op coordinator to explore the use of resources outside the Khoury co-op database to widen their job search into different industries or geographic areas. All student-developed jobs must be approved by the student’s co-op coordinator.
Can international students get co-op jobs?
Northeastern University combines classroom learning with cooperative learning experiences. International students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship must receive authorization from their co-op coordinator and the Office of Global Services (OGS) before taking part in any of these work experiences.
International students should review the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) requirements on the Office of Global Services (OGS) website. Students on F-1, J-1, and other visas that allow curricular practical training (CPT) are permitted to go on co-op under a co-op coordinator’s supervision. Upon acceptance of a job, international students are required to complete CPT Authorization Request Form and follow the instructions to gain needed work authorization. During the process, students should work closely with their co-op coordinator and the Office of Global Services (OGS).
While many employers hire international students or permanent residents, some (such as government contractors requiring US security clearance) are unable to do so. International students may consider a “home country co-op,” returning to their country of origin during the six-month work period. This does not affect your CPT authorization, and for some students it provides a welcome “vacation” from studying in the United States. Students considering this option should discuss it with their co-op coordinator as early as possible.
Am I guaranteed a job?
Getting a job in the real world depends on personal skills, experience, and professionalism, and can also be influenced by external factors such as market conditions and the size of the applicant pool. Co-op coordinators work to prepare students for a competitive job search process by:
- Requiring a level of professionalism before the job search begins.
- Working individually to improve job search skills and employability.
- Forming relationships with employers to develop new job opportunities and improve the quality of existing ones.
Even with those supports, the decision to hire rests with employers. In competitive job markets, students with weaker experience, grades, communication or job search skills may have difficulty obtaining co-op positions. Co-op Coordinators will work closely with these students to identify positions that will be the best fit.
What kind of salary can I expect to receive?
Salary is one of many factors students consider when accepting a job offer. Employers make salary decisions based on the type of position, location, student skill sets, and industry. Khoury co-op coordinators provide suggested salary guidelines to employers, but these are averages and some industries may be lower.
How many hours should I expect to work while on co-op?
Khoury approves positions that are 35-40 hours/week. This means that students should expect to work fulltime throughout the duration of their co-op. Part time positions are not approved. Exceptions to this should be appealed to the Undergraduate Co-op Committee.
Can I take a class while on co-op?
Co-ops are full-time demanding positions, so while we don’t recommend taking a class during co-op, it is not prohibited. Discuss the situation with your co-op coordinator, and please review “Taking a course while on co-op” for official policy and requirements.
Can I return to my previous co-op employer?
Yes. However, before accepting a position with a previous co-op employer, be sure to think about opportunities for new learning and professional growth and discuss these with your coordinator.
Can I extend my co-op?
Yes. Co-op extensions are permitted over the summer months. Request permission in writing from your co-op coordinator at least two weeks prior to the start of the extension. Notify your academic advisor as well, since an extension could impact your expected graduation date.
Back to back co-op
Back-to-back co-ops may be approved in very rare situations. Because student status and academic progress may be affected in such cases, approval must come from your Co-op Faculty, Academic Advisor, Student Accounts, and the Registrar’s office. If a student is requesting to go on back to back co-ops for Fall/Spring or Spring/Fall term they will need to petition to their Co-op Faculty and Academic Advisor via email for review including the following information:
- Reason for extending the co-op
- Why this cannot be completed at a later date
- The academic plan for the remainder of their time at Northeastern
- How they will make up credits
- The exact classes they will take in the next terms
- How many credits are left to clear their degree audit
NOTE: A back to back co-op petition is not needed for any extensions or shortenings of co-op in the Summer terms.
If I've done full-time professional work before beginning the co-op program, can I receive retroactive co-op credit for it?
No. Part of the value of co-op is that it coincides with the Khoury academic curriculum, allowing you to draw on recent work experience in order to better understand your coursework (or vice versa). Past experience may help you gain higher-level and better-paying co-op jobs, but to receive credit for work experience it must be completed with supervision and approval from your co-op coordinator.
Can I work part-time for my co-op employer?
If a student and employer wish to continue with part-time employment once a co-op is completed, the part time work experience does not maintain its co-op status. Students should consider the work load, discuss the opportunity with their Co-op Coordinator, and set realistic expectations for yourself with the company.
Full time students on F1 Visas are not permitted to work off-campus. Part time work on campus is permitted.