Co-operative education is a hallmark of excellence at the University of Waterloo. What began as an upstart in higher education more than 60 years ago has become the standard in work-integrated learning. More than 7 of 10 incoming students in fall 2016 (72.4%) are registered in a co-op program.

A driver of enrolment growth

According to the 2017 Incoming Student Survey, 71% of incoming undergraduate students would not have accepted their offer without co-op. The University has more co-op students than Canada's next two largest post-secondary co-op institutions - combined.

21,602undergraduate co-op studentsenrolled as of fall 2017

17%co-op enrolment increase in the last 5 years (fall 2013- fall 2017)
6,400+students available for hireevery term

Take a look at the interactive chart below to see a breakdown of University of Waterloo enrolment over the last five years across multiple data points.

Highlights from the 2017/18 fiscal year

Source: IAP/WaterlooWorks

98.5% co-op employment ratean increase of 1.9% since 2013/14
96.1%first work term employment ratean increase of 4.6% since 2013/14

Take a look at the interactive charts below for a breakdown co-op employment rates over the last five years.

Full-time paid work terms, alternating with study terms, enable students to deepen their learning in their fields of study, develop transferable skills that will help them in careers and throughout their lives, and enhance their ability to learn quickly and comprehensively.

20,700+work terms an increase of 23.6% since 2013/14
2,900+international work terms in 60+ countries
4,400+first work termsan increase of 29.4% since 2013/14

Take a look at the interactive chart below for a breakdown of the top countries our co-op students work in.

$260+ Million in student earnings, with average co-op earnings of$12,100 per work term in Canada

Employers travel from all over the world to recruit Waterloo students. The size and scale of Waterloo's co-op program require an unparalleled level of support from staff and faculty partners.

25,000+jobs posted
1,100,000+co-op job applications

37,000+interactions with students, employers and staff by our Information Centre staff

The University's employer network stretches around the world. Co-op support staff are strategically located across Canada to offer support to employers and students no matter where they are. 

1,400+new employers
7,000+active employers with an average of 2,100 employers hiring per term
95.0%of co-op students receive ratings of very good to outstanding from employers

The Centre for Career Action (CCA) provides employment, career development and further education preparation for all Waterloo students, alumni and employees. This includes individualized career advising sessions and audience-tailored workshops/events. CCA also provides co-op supports to pre-first work term students and takes the lead on student instruction and Teaching Assistant (TA) training for several co-op and career prep courses. In 2017/18, the team provided extensive training to 174 student-staff and TAs to enhance the skills of career influencers across campus. That training had an indirect reach of approximately 8,800 students. This is on top of CCA’s direct impact:

2,400+students attended individual career advising sessions
7,800+students engaged in career-specific contentaveraging 5+ minutes per pageview

using CareerHub

6,700+students accessed drop-in career or co-op consultation services
11,500+participants in workshops and events

University graduate survey data shows that Waterloo co-op grads enjoy better career success than graduates from other Ontario universities.

89%of Waterloo co-op grads are employed 6 months after graduationcompared to 88% of Ontario graduates

Ontario University Graduate Survey of 2014 graduates

96%of co-op grads employed 6 months after graduation worked in positions related to skills they acquired at Waterloocompared to 79% of Ontario graduates

Ontario University Graduate Survey of 2014 graduates

79%were earning $50,000+2 years after graduation compared to 39% of Ontario graduates

Ontario University Graduate Survey of 2014 graduates

One of the most successful programmes in the world for students spending part of their degree working in industry.

Times Higher Education 
World University Rankings

120+accredited co-op programs
950+people engaged by WatCACE in research related to co-op
19,700+enrolments in 14 WatPD courses

Ranked #1in Canada for employer-student connections

QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019

Canada's most innovative university for27 years in a row

Maclean's Magazine

Ranked #1in Canada for Experiential Learning

Maclean's Magazine

Check out our print-friendly snapshot of the Annual Report