Co-operative Education is one of the keystones of the Architecture program at the University of Waterloo.
Beginning in second year, students alternate 4-month school terms with 4-month paid co-op terms working for architects and designers. The Co-operative Program allows students to personally experience the nature and variety of the work the profession offers. Co-op terms also make it possible to acquire a wide array of specific skills, discipline, and experience which complements the more exploratory and speculative work in the Design Studio.
Benefits of the Co-operative Program
- Diverse job experience: students work for different employers in different cities
- Cultural experience: most students spend at least one work term outside of Canada
- Students gain up to two full years of real world experience
- Students create regional, national and international connections
- Students are paid for their co-op terms
- Maturity and responsibility gained through work experience
- The possibility to enter directly into established positions in architectural firms, corporate positions, other business enterprises, or government agencies following degree completion.
The interview process is managed and supported by the Co-operative Education department. Employer interviews take place on site, in Toronto, by mail and by telephone with distant locations. Jobs and information are also passed, officially or unofficially, from student to student, year to year.
A global perspective
Our global reach is reflected in all that we do: with co-op jobs available around the world, the Rome campus, renowned guest lecturers, and international design projects locations. As a Waterloo Architecture student, you will be exposed to architecture and professionals from here and abroad. You will interact with respected local and international lecturers and critics, particpate in colloquia and international conferences, and join competitions.
The work / study sequence
The Co-operative system requires students to alternate periods of study with periods of employment or work terms. The School of Architecture requires students to complete a minimum of 5 out of 6 work terms.
With 6 co-op work terms during the pre-professional degree, you will graduate with 2 years of valuable work experience and a network of career contacts. Students working in the U.S. can earn up to $18 an hour, or up to $10,000 U.S. per work term.
University staff members recruit employers and post job descriptions for you to review. You decide which jobs to apply to based on where they are located, the skills you wish to develop, and what you can bring to the job. Many of the international jobs are arranged by students who approach the firms they want to work for. Although jobs are not guaranteed, our employment rate is consistently above 98%.
Recent co-op employers
- Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates International New York and London
- Arquitectonica International Miami, New York LA Paris, Madrid
- Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated Toronto
- Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects Toronto
- Busby Perkins & Will Vancouver
The School of Architecture requires students to complete three Work Report courses throughout their co-op terms. For specific information on each Work Report Course, please review Bachelor of Architectural Studies Work Report Guidelines (PDF).