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About Co-operative Education

Students at work walking down the hall

The University of Waterloo operates the largest post secondary co-op program of its kind in the world.

Waterloo is a model of co-operative education, which has spread to more than 100 colleges and universities across Canada.

Breadth and depth:

  • 17,300 co-op students enrolled over three semesters in 140 programs.
  • 5,200 employers hire Waterloo co-op students.

Co-operative Education & Career Action:

Co-operative Education & Career Action (CECA) manages the co-operative education system and career-related services for the University of Waterloo. 

CECA staff liaise with students, employers, alumni, and the UWaterloo faculties and departments to promote and facilitate employment opportunities.

What is Co-operative (co-op) Education?

Co-operative education combines academic studies with work experience. Co-op allows you to gain up to two years of relevant work experience. 

Academic terms alternate with work terms forming study/work sequences. Study/work sequences vary between programs and cohorts. Please view study/work sequences to learn more. 

Goals of Waterloo’s Co-operative Education

  • Actively support you through the job search process, during the work term, and following your work term.
  • Work with you, employers, alumni, and Waterloo faculties and departments to determine employment needs and opportunities.
  • Recruit relevant and high-quality employers.
  • Provide high-quality service to meet your needs.
  • Offer career guidance to co-op students.
  • Improve the co-op system and employment process.

Accreditation

UWaterloo is a member of the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE). Our accredited co-op program meets the following criteria:

  • Each job is approved by Co-operative Education.
  • You’re engaged in productive work rather than just observing.
  • You receive some form of remuneration for your work.
  • Your progress is monitored by Co-operative Education.
  • Your performance is evaluated by your employer.
  • The total amount of co-op experience totals 50% of the time spent in academic study, and no less than 30%.

Learn more about Co-operative Education at Waterloo