What is Cooperative Education

Cooperative education, also known as co-op, is an educational model that allows students to alternate periods of full-time academic study with periods of full-time work in their areas of interest.

Why do architecture students participate in a co-op program?

Architecture students choose Northeastern because of our required co-op program. Co-op allows them to gain valuable work experience in a firm or organization, explore new interests, learn more about career options, and develop a network of professionals.

How Does Co-op Work?

The architecture cooperative education program at Northeastern University alternates academic semesters with semesters of work experience in the student’s major field of study. This provides students with up to 12 months of work experience prior to graduation, which can count toward their professional Architecture Experience Program, or AXP, requirements.

Co-op Semesters
Fall: July-December
Spring: January-June
Summer: May-August

How Does Co-op Benefit You?

The program offers a continual gateway to enthusiastic employees with developing skills and talents, as well as potential relationships with future colleagues. This partnership offers employers:

  • A simple, cost-effective way to meet human resource needs: no fringe benefits, no recruitment costs: co-op students are paid as temporary hourly employees.
  • Six-month co-op periods, with ample time for students to be productive and valuable employees (scheduling back-to-back co-op periods results in full-time coverage for on-going work).
  • The enthusiasm, fresh perspective, and energy of talented young people eager to learn.

To post a position,  contact Lynn Burke, Senior Co-op Coordinator, for more information.

What are an organization’s responsibilities to a student?

An organization is responsible for all hiring decisions and providing the student with adequate training to perform the job. The employer is asked to complete an evaluation form at the end of the work period with the student. The evaluation is a valuable instrument for honest communication, guidance as well as suggestions for further professional development.

Is there an employer fee associated with the co-op program?

No, employers do not have to pay a fee in order to be involved in the co-op program.

What is the duration of the co-op period?

Students work for a four to eight-month period. It is possible for organizations to obtain year-round coverage by alternating students at the work site. Therefore, the co-op program can be used for both short or long-term hiring needs. 

What if there are areas of concern after hiring a student?

Northeastern’s co-op program enjoys a high success rate with its employers. Should a problem arise, contact the co-op coordinator as soon as possible. Remember that a co-op student is an employee of the organization and should expect to be treated as a member of the permanent staff.

How much do Co-op students get paid and what benefits must be provided?

The salary is determined by the employer, and is reflective of the architecture industry. The typical salary range for architecture student positions is based on skill level and experience. Co-op students are eligible for overtime pay as required by law. Benefits such as sick time, holidays and vacation are allotted at the employer’s discretion. The student’s health insurance is provided by the school and remains in effect while they are on the job.

Do employers get to choose the students they would like to interview?

Yes, once the employer receives the packet of resumes, they would contact the qualified candidates they would like to interview. Employers are not required to hire a co-op student if they feel there are no qualified candidates.

Can employers hire co-op students when they graduate?

Although organizations are not making permanent hiring commitments when they employ co-op students, it has proven to be an effective recruitment tool. Co-op provides a trial period during which employers can assess a student’s long-term potential. Many students return to their previous co-op jobs for permanent employment.