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Co-op

Student-designed installation

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 which goes on in the Design Studio program.

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.

Co-op interviews

The interview process is managed and supported by the Co-operative Education and Career Services 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

Recent breakthroughs in student placements in offices in Japan, Germany and Spain all came about as a result of student initiative provoked by the co-op program and nurtured by the truly global perspective that exists in the School. The opportunities that exist at the present time are extraordinary. The number of jobs on offer is often greater than the number of students available to fill them. There is a wide range of choices, especially for upper-year students, and salaries are very good.

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 US can earn up to $18 an hour, or up to $10,000 US 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 97%.

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
     

Work reports

The School of Architecture requires students to submit four work reports, one in each of their first four work terms. For specific information on each work report, Please view Student Guidelines for Work Reports for the Faculty of Engineering, School of Architecture (PDF).

The terminal work report requires that students engage in the profession, acquire a mentor and begin the completion of their Canadian Experience Record Book.

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