working in lab

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.

Undergraduate students can complete up to three co-op work experiences throughout their Northeastern career. As a result, students will develop an increasingly strong range of skill levels and aptitudes as they gain more knowledge and work experience. Co-op is offered to graduate students as well who participate in the second year of their program.

  • A123 Systems
  • 1366 Technologies
  • Acorda Therapeutics
  • Ambri
  • Arsenal Medical
  • Ashland
  • Biogen Idec
  • Bristol-Meyers Squibb
  • Dow Chemical Company
  • DuPont
  • Eink
  • GVD Corporation
  • Henkel Loctite
  • Infinium
  • Metalor Technologies
  • Nano-C
  • Nuvera Fuel Cells
  • Pellion Technologies
  • Pfizer
  • Sanofi Genzyme
  • Selecta Biosciences
  • Shaw, Stone and Webster
  • Technip
  • TEL
  • Waters Corporation
  • Xtalic Corporation

“As a small chemical technology and design engineering firm, our staff must be ready and able to execute a wide variety of engineering and design activities both within and outside their own disciplines. The chemical engineering Co-op students we employ from Northeastern University fit perfectly with our dynamic operational model. They are integral to our project teams and make valuable contributions to our daily engineering, design and project management objectives.”

— John Doring, Engineering Manager

“Over the past few years, I have found the Chemical Engineering Co-op program to be an excellent resource. The coordination staff makes establishing a new program within an organization a breeze and ensures that a steady stream of interested students are lined up ready to help. The effect that a co-op student can have within a department can be significant – their energy and enthusiasm have helped move many programs/projects forward.”

— Kyle B. Haraldsen, Executive Director, Technical Operations


Research Experiences

Research is an integral part of our experiential learning portfolio in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern. Our undergraduate and graduate students are gaining real-world experience by working with our faculty to uncover innovative solutions to solve today’s pressing global challenges.

There are a wide range of opportunities for students from co-op and study abroad experiences, to working alongside faculty in their labs, as well as part of our research centers.

Chemical Engineering Research Co-op in Switzerland

Chemical Engineering student Hannah Boyce shares her unique experience conducting research abroad at ETH Zurich, one of Europe’s leading biotech institutions.

Co-op Experience Identifies BioTech Passion

Bradley Priem, BS, chemical engineering, had two co-ops that gave him the ability to delve into a particular industry. At Synlogic he was a bioanalytical chemist and bacterial engineer creating e-coli strains, and at bluebird bio he was an upstream process development engineer for gene production. He now knows he wants to go into the biotech industry and is interested in graduate school too.

Journey to Medical School

Jordan Harris, E'17, chemical engineering, started at Northeastern working early on in research in the Advanced Drug Delivery Lab under Professor Rebecca Carrier, chemical engineering. At the time, he thought he’d like to wind up in a PhD program related to tissue engineering or molecular biology. His three co-ops, though, helped him realize a tremendous interest in medical research and immunology. As a result, he’s now at the University of Pennsylvania earning a dual MD/PhD degree.

student in medical robe with stephascope around neck

Student Clubs and Global Experiences

students standing in front of big AIChE letters

Student Organizations

Northeastern's student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) was named an Outstanding Student Chapter for the 2017–2018 school year. The College of Engineering has over 50 student organizations including honor societies, competitions, professional societies, and affinity groups.

group of students pose with Brazil banner on a group trip in that country.

Global Experiences

Chemical Engineering Assistant Teaching Professor Courtney Pfluger led a Dialogue of Civilizations in summer of 2019 where students traveled to Brazil to learn about Sustainable Energy. The College offers a wide variety of global experiences including Dialogue of Civilizations, study abroad, research experiences, and global co-op, among others.

Student Experiences

Exploring a Wealth of Options To Pursue Unique Educational Paths

Julia Treese, E’24, chemical engineering, started her Northeastern journey in the Explore program. After three co-ops and a variety of extracurriculars, she has found that biotech is her calling.

Discovering Unexpected New Career Paths Through Co-op

Matthew Bowman, E’25, chemical engineering and physics, had two co-ops that took him in very different directions, but it meant he was able to find a unique career path in 3D printing he didn’t initially consider. He’s now looking forward to seeing where that path takes him.

Lab Experiences Lead to Co-op Work in Switzerland

Gwyneth McNamara, E’24, chemical engineering and biochemistry, has gained extensive laboratory experience working co-ops at two Cambridge, Massachusetts pharmaceutical companies. She is now applying that experience, along with her engineering skills, in a third co-op at a university lab in Winterthur, Switzerland.

A Path Combining Chemical Engineering and Communications

Andrea Griffin, BS chemical engineering and minor in marketing, combines her interest in chemical engineering and communications through co-ops and a variety of activities, paving the way for pursuing an MBA in the future.