Northeastern University is world-famous for its co-op program. Although engaging in co-op is optional, we strongly encourage all undergraduate political science students to learn about how this program works and what it can offer to them.

Co-op is a program that allows students to alternate between periods of academic study and full-time employment related to their field of study. You may choose to complete as many as three, six-month co-ops. Students who participate in co-op typically graduate in four or five years. All students are encouraged to work with their academic advisors, co-op coordinators, and faculty advisors to determine which path is right for them and their goals.

Within the fields of law, government, public policy, and politics, there are many kinds of employment possibilities in the public and private sectors. Co-op positions are available locally, in New York City, Washington, D.C., and other cities, including an increasing number abroad. Though far from exhaustive, the following are several recent co-op positions held by political science majors:


International Co-op

At Northeastern, international cooperative education is a great way for students to develop the knowledge, awareness, perspective, and confidence to feel comfortable anywhere in the world. Working and living in another country presents some challenges, but as they overcome these challenges, students gain intercultural competency, international exposure, and a deeper understanding of what it means to be a global citizen.  That is why Northeastern carefully prepares students for international experiential opportunities.

To help students interested in international co-op cover the additional expense often associated with such opportunities, the Presidential Global Scholars Program provides financial aid (over and above all other financial aid) for students who need assistance in order to take an international co-op position.

Northeastern students can pursue a six-month international experiential learning opportunity in over 50 countries, and 100 cities with a wide range of international organizations. Opportunities exist in a broad range of industries including business, health care, engineering, education, computer technology, biomedical, and communications. For further information on pursuing a co-op experience overseas see your co-op coordinator or the International Co-op Office.

Global Opportunities > Brazil

The Brazil trip is part of Northeastern University’s Dialogue of Civilizations Program. This Dialogue is led by Professor Thomas Vicino and Professor Simone Elias.

Today, Brazil is a land of contrasts. It is home to one of the world’s largest multiethnic societies, yet it is one of the most segregated. While it is one of the world’s largest democracies with over 190 million inhabitants, its political history is turbulent. The environmental landscape offers a vast array of diverse—yet vulnerable—ecosystems, but Brazil’s cities and urban growth outpace most others in the world. These defining characteristics, including demographic shifts, economic transition, political change, and landscape transformation, will allow students to engage in a “dialogue” about global issues with other Brazilian students, cultures, families, businesses, and policymakers.

Rio de Janeiro is a city of multiple faces, which is shown in its natural beauty, the variety of people that walk along the streets, and its five centuries of culture. From the beach to the forest, from the rural tranquility to the urban hustle and bustle, Rio is, without a doubt, one of the most original cities in Brazil.  At the end of the program, students will have had the opportunity of interacting and exchanging ideas with people from many diverse backgrounds, and thus gain exposure to a wide spectrum of Brazilian society and Brazil’s place in the global community.

Global Opportunities > Niger

The poorest country in the world, according to the United Nations, is Niger, West Africa. But that did not deter 15 Northeastern students, most of them political science majors, from spending their 2006-7 winter intersession there. The trip culminated a fall semester Special Topics course, taught by Professor William Miles, dedicated to the politics, culture, history, and economics of the country. In class students also learned some of the Hausa language. Professor Janet Dewan, of the School of Nursing, was the other faculty leader.

In the capital, Niamey, students were briefed at the U.S. Embassy (including the Ambassador herself) and Peace Corps headquarters. After visiting the Museum and Cultural Center, students interacted (and feasted!) with their counterparts from the National University. Throughout their travels in Niger they met with Peace Corps Volunteers and other aid workers; local government officials; workers’ representatives from the uranium industry; Nigerien teachers and students; Tuareg nomads (including a former rebel); and even a camel caravan guide. Half of the nights were spent camping outdoors under the stars. In the village of Yekuwa, students purchased a bull and cart, continuing a tradition begun by undergraduates in Professor William Miles’ Politics of Developing Nations course.

Global Opportunities > Geneva

The Geneva Dialogue is titled Disarmament Diplomacy, Humanitarian Action, and International Security. It was  started in 2007 by Professor Denise Garcia with the aim of exposing students to the practice and real life of diplomacy and negotiation of key world politics issues at the highest level that occur in the city of Geneva, capital of humanitarian diplomacy.

Geneva is where two-thirds of all United Nations activities take place. The Dialogue also aims to provide students with opportunities and possibilities of interacting and networking for future professional possibilities. Since the beginning of Dialogue, several co-op opportunities began with at least three students in co-op at a time each semester. The focus of this Dialogue is on pressing issues of disarmament, arms control, international humanitarian law, and human rights law, and international security in general. A typical day includes engagement with the local community of international diplomats, locally-posted United Nations personnel, researchers, and other negotiators, academics, and non-governmental organizations, as well as advocacy groups.