About co-op

About co-op at the University of Waterloo

At Waterloo, co-op students alternate study terms with work terms and graduate with up to two years of relevant, paid work experience. This means two years of experience learning how to navigate the hiring process, applying your skills to real-life problems and learning about yourself along the way.

Benefits of co-op

  • Apply what you've learned in the classroom to real-life work settings
  • Get hands-on experience in your field of study
  • Gain up to two years of meaningful, relevant work experience on your résumé
  • Improve your interview skills and learn how to search for work
  • Create connections through networking with employers and coworkers
  • Explore alternate career paths and different work environments around the globe!
  • Earn money to help pay for tuition and costs of living
  • Learn more about yourself and your overall career direction

Location 7,000+employers from over 60 countries actively recruitWaterloo co-op students

Learn more about our employment rates

money$12,396 earned on average per co-op work term in Canadaby students across all faculties in 2018

Learn more about student earnings

grad cap89%Waterloo co-op graduates are employed 6 months after graduation

Learn about the type of jobs for each faculty


How co-op works

Every student’s co-op experience will look a little different depending on their program, interests, goals and work experiences. You’ll complete between four and six work terms (four months in length) throughout the duration of your co-op degree, which usually takes about five academic years to complete. This largely depends on the requirements for your program and the specific sequence of your study terms and work terms.

During the study term before a work term, you’ll be looking for jobs while taking courses, including one professional development course before your first scheduled work term to help you prepare for co-op. During your work terms, you'll be gaining experience, completing work reports and continuing to take professional development courses to help you reflect on your experiences. 

Study/work sequences vary between programs. To find the sequence related to your program and cohort, visit the study/work sequence chart in the Undergraduate Calendar.

To learn more about our co-op process, read up on how to find a co-op job and what to expect while on your work terms.

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Your responsibilities as a co-op student

To graduate with a co-op degree designation, you must follow our co-op roles and responsibilities and receive credit for the minimum number of work terms, work reports and professional development credits for the co-op program you are enrolled in.

To learn more about what co-op looks like for your specific program and when your next work term is scheduled, visit the co-op section of the Undergraduate Calendar.


Co-op fee

Similar to tuition, students enrolled in co-op programs pay fees to support the cost of running the co-op program at Waterloo. The current co-op fee is set at $729, paid a number of times throughout your co-op degree (varies by program).

For a deeper look at why you pay, when you pay and where your money goes, visit our co-op fee page.


Hear from our co-op students

If you'd like to know more about the co-op life and how to make the most of your co-op experience, check out stories told by our students here


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