Experiential Learning

Experiential learning, anchored by our renowned cooperative education program, lies at the heart of academic life at Northeastern.

The integration of study with professional work, research, and service in 131 countries around the world gives students real-world opportunities and responsibilities. In the Explore Program, we help you identify and plan for experiential learning opportunities in your first semester and beyond.

We know that Explore Program students are eager to expand their global mindset and prepare for global learning opportunities, no matter which major you choose. Explore Program advisors will encourage you to consider future global experiences as you develop your strategic plan for academic and experiential engagement.

Explore Program students may engage in global learning as early as their first year, through the N.U.in Program in their first semester, Global Quest in their second semester, and Dialogues of Civilizations the summer after their first year.

Read more about our student leaders’ global experiences:


Sheridan Lasher in India

Sheridan Lasher
Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) ’21

Last summer, I traveled to India to study social entrepreneurship, gender, and sustainable development on a faculty-led study abroad through Northeastern’s Dialogue of Civilizations program. During my experience, I was exposed to levels of poverty I had never seen before. I realized the extent of my privilege and left the trip never wanting to take things for granted again. After seeing young children who worked all day in poor conditions still come to school at night to learn in unclean conditions, I realized that even our education cannot be taken for granted. I have such a different outlook on life after seeing the inspiration and resilience of these children and the countless numbers of people living in poverty.

Cameron Woods

Cameron Woods
International Affairs and Economics ’22

My experience in the N.U.in Program dramatically changed my educational path at Northeastern.  Most people expect to study abroad in their junior year of college, but I spent my first semester of college 10,000 miles away from Northeastern’s Boston campus. My time and studies in Sydney, Australia changed my mindset so much more than I could have thought and I came back to the Boston campus with such a global, introspective, and open mind to learn more and share my experience with my classmates.

Carter Lange in Stockholm

Carter Lange
Psychology ’22

Having the opportunity to study abroad multiple times in my college career has been amazing. I started my first semester abroad in Berlin, Germany through the N.U.in Program. This unorthodox start allowed me to begin growing and learning in ways a traditional freshman year would not provide. The summer after my second year, I was able to go abroad again on a faculty-led experience through the Dialogue of Civilizations Program to study Scientific Revolutions in London. From my perspective, global opportunities help students grow to be better and stronger people outside of the classroom, while providing a broader worldview in the classroom.

Co-op gives you real world experience and puts classroom learning to the test. It sets you on the right path toward successful careers.

Explore Program students begin preparing for co-op in academic advising, Connections and Decisions, and exploratory events. Resume workshops, informational interviews, student panels, and our Alumni Networking Dinner will allow you to ask questions, learn about possible co-op experiences, and prepare for the co-op application process.

Read more about our student leaders’ co-op experiences:


Shannon Linsey

Shannon Linsey
Health Science ’21

My co-op at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement was the most transformative experiential opportunity during my undergraduate experience. As a Health Science major, I knew that I wanted to study health and healthcare; however, I was not interested in medical school. I was worried and unsure how this interest would translate into a specific future career. I found that at IHI, I enjoyed my work that focused on community health, because it centered around education, sharing and learning together, and healthcare improvement. I learned evidence-based strategies, frameworks, and tools that health experts use to assess situations and implement improvement methods. This experience reassured me that there were jobs out there that related to my interests, and that I wasn’t ‘wasting my time’ in health science if I didn’t plan to go to medical school. I also really enjoyed meeting others who shared my same interests!

Max Jarrells

Max Jarrells
Business Administration ’21

On my last co-op, a coworker described his early time in the workforce as ‘developing a toolkit.’ This idea has driven how I have approached taking classes, getting involved on campus, and applying to co-ops and internships. I try to find one or two skills that I can pick up and potentially master to add to my toolkit. These skills ladder up to my eventual goal of running a marketing department and being in charge of telling the story of a brand.

Ellen Foley headshot

Ellen Foley
Communication Studies ’20

I enjoyed my first co-op, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. Drawing from what I learned from that experience I was able to find a second co-op that I loved at Harvard Medical School. It was so rewarding, and I learned so much that it really helped me focus on what I wanted to do once I graduated. Going on co-op really helped me prepare for life after Northeastern and I wouldn’t trade the experience or the people I’ve met for the world.

Service-Learning (S-L) is a form of experiential learning which allows you to apply course concepts while addressing the needs of local community partners. As an undeclared freshman, you can choose to enroll in a Service-Learning section of Connections & Decisions and take advantage of Northeastern’s experiential education program in your very first semester!

Service-Learning in Connections & Decisions allows you to explore your interests, develop professional skills, and get to know the Boston community. If you choose this option, you will be assigned to a direct service role with a community partner based on your interests and serve weekly throughout the semester. Your service experience is integrated into your Connections & Decisions course through assignments, discussions, and your final presentation.

Connections and Decisions

A one-credit seminar specifically designed for first-semester freshmen in the Northeastern Explore Program.

Learn More 

As an undeclared student, you can take advantage of the rich academic life at Northeastern by participating in a research experience. Working closely with faculty on their research is an exciting way to enhance your intellectual development, learn valuable teamwork skills, explore an area of interest in more depth, and gain valuable experience before going out on co-op.

If you are thinking about pursuing independent research, you can visit the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors website for more information about developing your research question, finding a faculty mentor, securing funding your project, and presenting your work on campus and beyond. If you are interested in shadowing the research of a faculty member or working in a lab on campus, we encourage you to contact a faculty member in your area of interest.

Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors

Every day, Northeastern’s undergraduates engage in knowledge creation, artistic expression and entrepreneurial innovation in collaboration with faculty and peers on campus and around the globe.

Get Started

student organizations

Volunteer Fair

The Center of Community Service hosts a Volunteer Fair every semester, where you can network with representatives from community organizations and learn more about volunteer opportunities.

Reach Out

happy student volunteers

Husky Volunteer Team

HVT brings together teams of up to 10 members of the Northeastern community (students, faculty, and staff) to partner with a community organization for a minimum of one semester.

Community Service

students raking leafs

Student Organizations

Many student organizations at Northeastern are centered around meaningful service and community engagement. Here are some examples: Colleges Against Cancer (Relay for Life NU), Peace through Play, Strong Women, Strong Girls.

Get Involved!

alternative spring break

Alternative Spring Break

Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is a week-long immersive living and volunteering experience. Through meaningful action, reflection and education, volunteers engage in direct service that addresses a critical, social issue.

Info Sessions