Is co-op mandatory at CCIS?
Each Northeastern undergraduate must complete one form of experiential learning: either co-op (domestic or international), study abroad, or research. Although co-op is not a requirement, it is strongly encouraged. Most CCIS students complete two or three 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 in CS 1200/Overview 1. This pattern will determine when you will be on co-op and/or 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 CCIS co-op coordinators develop, review, and approve each job to ensure that it is an appropriate learning experience, but otherwise no restrictions are made regarding the types of co-op jobs available. CCIS’ diverse dual major options allow co-op coordinators to target a range of different industries, including software development and network administration, project management, bioinformatics, and game design.
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?
Jobs developed by CCIS co-op coordinators are primarily located in Greater Boston, but we are constantly expanding the base of jobs in areas like California, Washington state, New York, Washington, DC, and internationally. We also encourage students to work wtih their co-op coordinator to explore the use of resources outside the CCIS 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?
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 150 and follow the instructions to gain needed work authorization. During the process, students should work closely with their co-op coordinator and the International Student and Scholar Institute (ISSI).
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 tight job markets, students with weaker experience, grades, or job search skills may have difficulty obtaining co-op positions. Co-op coordinators will work closely with these students and potential employers to identify a good job match. In past semesters, students who are persistent in their job search have found co-op positions.
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. CCIS co-op coordinators provide suggested salary guidelines to employers, but these are averages and some industries may be lower.
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 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. Students should request permission in writing from their co-op coordinator at least two weeks prior to the start of the extension. Academic advisors should also be apprised of the change as it could impact your expected graduation date.
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 CCIS 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.