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 project-based learning, research, global experiences, service learning, and student organizations.
Cooperative Education (co-op) is an educational model providing undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to alternate between periods of academic study and full-time employment to gain hands-on, professional experience in their field of interest, and build personal connections and contacts. With hundreds of employer partners in Boston, across the country, and around the world, civil and environmental engineering co-op students graduate with not only a degree, but also invaluable connections and proven experience in their chosen field.
- Generally competitively paid, full-time positions where the student is integrated with an employer partner and working on real-world projects.
- Longer duration than a typical summer internship. Co-ops are six months in duration for undergraduate students, while graduate students have optional 4, 6, or 8-month opportunities.
- A dedicated team of co-op coordinators coach students through the co-op search process and support them through their co-op experience.
- Co-op coordinators maintain relationships with employer partners to provide students with robust co-op opportunities.
- Provides a holistic learning model including preparation (introduction to co-op course), work (full-time co-op employment), and reflection (interpreting the experience).
Civil Engineering Co-op Experience
Jude Arbogast, BS, Civil Engineering, has done two co-ops at Suffolk Construction—one in scheduling and staffing, and the other in the field where he found his love of construction management. He says co-op allowed him to put his knowledge to the test and find out what he really wanted to do.
Environmental Health Hands-On Experiences
Anna Walsh, a fifth year student with an independent environmental health major, studies a variety of environmental contaminants. She describes two projects, one on air sampling and the other developing a framework for passive samplers for water samples. She did a co-op at Stockholm University in an environmental department getting significant experience.
Featured Student Experiences
Engineers Without Borders
Engineering without Borders (EWB) is one organization at Northeastern that allows students to travel to countries such as Uganda and Honduras to address their need for potable water. Since 2004 this student group has designed and constructed water projects in six communities, directly affecting over 2,000 individuals. Northeastern’s experiential philosophy allows students to become real world engineers while they are still learning in the classroom.
Dialogue of Civilizations
One example of a Dialogue of Civilizations is Sustainable Waste Management: European Practices for Resource Recovery and Environmental Protection led by Teaching Professor Annalisa Onnis-Hayden. Students travel to Cagliari, Italy and immerse themselves in the Sardinian and Italian culture while sailing the Mediterranean Sea, and learning about the rich history and traditions, while enjoying the crystal-clear water, white sand, and the mountains of this special island.
Michael Tormey, E’20, was one of 10 students nationwide named among the New Faces in Civil Engineering 2020 by the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was also honored with the 2020 Marshall Scholarship. A prestigious award given to only 46 U.S. students, it offers exceptional students an opportunity to pursue post-graduate degrees in England.
Interdisciplinary Engineering PhD student Benjamin Gincley received a prestigious and highly competitive 2020 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP).
About Aidan Travers is a fourth-year BS/MS environmental engineering student on co-op as a research assistant at the University of Cagliari, in Cagliari, Italy. His research on co-op focused on new methods of biological nitrogen removal from wastewater. Written by Aidan Travers As the youngest of three boys in my family, I have always looked […]