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EXPLORE NORTHEASTERN
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Co-op & Experiential Learning

Combining rigorous academics with a variety of experiential learning opportunities

Northeastern’s approach to education combines rigorous academics with experiential learning anchored by our world-renowned cooperative education program. Experiential learning encompasses our co-op program as well as research, global experiences, service learning, and student organizations.


Cooperative Education

Co-op affords students the chance to work in engineering practice prior to graduation. Through this program, undergraduate and graduate students gain hands-on, professional experience as well as a chance to build personal connections and contacts within their field of interest.

The Co-op Advantage

Lee Makowski, Professor and Department Chair of Bioengineering, speaks to the value of the of co-op experience as part of the educational curriculum and how it gives students the opportunity to make an impact in the field while in the program and also a competitive advantage after graduation.

Co-op Helped Her Achieve Her Next Step in Medical School

Aanie Phillips, BS, Bioengineering, says co-op puts into perspective what you learn in the classroom providing an immersive learning experience. She did two co-ops, a clinical one at a doctor’s office, and the other as a mechanical and operations engineer at Virtudent, a teledentistry startup. Aaanie is off to medical school with a full scholarship from her top-choice school.

Master's Student Improves Manufacturing Technologies for Therapies on Co-op

Millicent Gabriel, ME’19, bioengineering, had a co-op at bluebird bio. She worked on improving current manufacturing technologies for therapies. She says her knowledge grew twofold and the connections in Boston with the biotechnology industry and anything bioengineering related is invaluable. The professors, classes, and co-op has prepared her for the workplace.

Bioengineering Co-op Quick Facts


Representative Employers
  • Bio-rad
  • Boston Scientific
  • Covidien
  • Genzyme
  • MIT Lincoln Labs
  • Novartis
  • Smith and Nephew
  • Vention Medical
  • Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering

Employer Types
  • Alternative Biofuels
  • Biotechnology
  • Imaging
  • Medical Devices
  • Nano Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Tissue Engineering

Typical Co-op Jobs
  • Research and development
  • Medical device design
  • Instrumentation design
  • Lab technician, manufacturing
  • Advanced material
  • Research and development

Co-op Salaries and Number of Employers
  • $18 (sophomore)–$22 (senior)
  • 30 – 40 employers in bioengineering
  • Students: We meet with students to prepare them for co-op and advise them on career related matters. As faculty members, we teach co-op and career-related courses and work with students one-on-one. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to participate in co-op.
  • Employers: We also work closely with companies to develop quality co-op positions for our students that also provide a contribution to the employer. In order to make hiring easier, we want to understand the type of candidate hiring managers are looking for and screen candidates.
  • Schedule: Undergraduate students work for 6 months, from January – June and July – December. Graduate students work for 4, 6, or 8 months at a time depending on the position and the student’s availability.
  • Hours: Co-op positions are full time (40 hr/wk) during which time the student has no obligations to the school, but is focused full time on their employment – making a substantial contribution to their employer while simultaneously learning and applying course work taken to date.
  • Pay: Co-ops are paid positions, with the wage determined by the employer. Co-op Coordinators collect wage information at least once a year and will share average pay ranges with employers in order to stay competitive.

Undergraduate Co-op        Graduate Co-op

  • Creating a Position: To get started in the hiring process, employers are required to complete and submit a job description at: https://nucareers.northeastern.edu/employers/overview.htm
  • Deadlines: Job descriptions are due at the end of January and the end of September for the Spring and Fall terms, respectively. Employers who have missed the deadlines are still encouraged to reach a coordinator, as the placement cycle takes several months and we may still have candidates available.

More Details for Employers

Experiential Learning

Student Organizations

female student with blue sweater smiles with bushes in background

Erin Provost, E’19, bioengineering, designed a modified game controller for a teenager with cerebral palsy as part of the Enabling Engineering student group.

View All Student Groups

Global Experiences

students pose in countryside of Ethiopia with donkeys in the background

Bioengineering students traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with a faculty member for two weeks to work with biomedical technicians at St Paul’s hospital.

Learn About Global Experiences

Student Research

minhal ahmed in lab

Minhal Ahmed, E’19, bioengineering, began conducting research at Northeastern the summer after his freshman year. Upon graduation, he had achieved numerous prestigious awards including the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, George J. Mitchell Scholar, and 2019 Harold D. Hodgkinson Achievement Award—one of the highest honors a senior can receive.

Learn About Student Research

Student Experiences

He Left his Comfort Zone to Explore the Frontiers of Engineering and Culture

Recent graduate Conor Messer, BS Bioengineering 2019, has lived, worked, and studied in Boston, Germany, and Jordan. Now, supported by a Fulbright Scholarship, he’s headed to Abu Dhabi to design a robot to perform minimally invasive cardiac surgery.  by Khalida Sarwari, May 15, 2019 Ever since he can remember, Conor Messer has found himself drawn […]

The Full Experience—Local to Afar

Emily Chernich, BS Bioengineering 2019, always loved engineering and the medical field, but wasn’t sure how to combine them in her studies. She found the perfect program to pursue her interests at Northeastern, joining its first graduating class of bioengineering majors. She participated in three co-ops during her time at Northeastern, the second of which […]

Flexible Programs, Hands-On Experience

After completing her bachelor’s in bioengineering in Singapore, Nikitha Jayachandran, MS in Bioengineering 2018, was unsure of her future in the field. She originally chose bioengineering because she wanted to study something related to medicine, but not surgical. Through her courses, she found that she liked the biology side of her field but wasn’t as […]

Journey to Medical School

Aanie Phillips, BS Bioengineering 2019, a pre-med bioengineering student with a concentration in cell and tissue engineering, chose her field based on her love of math and science and the possibility of becoming a physician. “In the back of my head, I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor, so I chose bioengineering […]