Flexible work termsWaterloo’s co-operative education model allows students to graduate with up to 2 years of work experience. Flexible work terms allow students to more easily pursue work experiences linked to their unique interests. This innovation allows students to graduate with the amount of work experience that is traditionally associated with Waterloo Co-op, while giving them the latitude to explore a wider breadth of work experiences. We want to empower those students who want to try things outside of their discipline.

Flexible work terms and co-op credits

Each co-op program at Waterloo (except Pharmacy) has a sequence that includes four, five or six work terms. Students must complete four or five work terms successfully (plus PD courses and work reports) to have the co-op designation on their degree.  Each work term must meet a set of criteria to determine whether a co-op credit can be issued for the successful completion of the work term.

The accreditation body for Canadian co-op programs dictates a minimum of three work terms for a university undergraduate degree program.  Beginning in fall 2018, Waterloo’s co-op degree requirements for students will require that students complete three work terms according to existing ‘standard work-term criteria’, and students can choose to complete their additional work terms according to standard or flexible work-term criteria.

The flexible work-term criteria will allow students to receive co-op credit for a wider range of work experiences, including humanitarian work, or combining two work experiences over the course of four months. So if there is in experience you have always wanted to pursue during co-op but never had the chance to - this might be for you!

Opportunities that will be considered should meet the following basic requirements:

  • Students arrange employment and submit for approval, with rationale provided for how the work term meets their specific goals
  • Be a minimum of 420 hours of work (within a 16- week timeframe), does not include extended breaks or periods off
  • Includes a supervisor who evaluates student performance and submits evaluation
  • Includes compensation (or approved within Co-operative Education’s alternative remuneration/unpaid guidelines)
  • Option for multiple employers (can be one or two combined separate experiences)

Contact your student advisor (or career advisor, if you are looking for your first work term) if there is an opportunity that you are passionate about pursuing. Your student advisor will be able to help assess whether it can be approved as a flexible work term.

*International (non-USA) work terms might vary from standard work terms, and are unlikely to be considered flex terms. They will likely be treated as standard ones.

For more information on arranging your own flexible work term, visit the Arrange your own job page.

Arrange a flexible work term

Contact your advisor with your opportunity. To submit your flexible work-term idea, log into WaterlooWorks and send a message to your advisor detailing the opportunity.

To send a message to your advisor:

  • Scroll down to the bottom of your WaterlooWorks homepage
  • Beneath the "Co-op sequence summary" chart on the right side of the page click on the "Send a message  to advisor" button
  • This will lead you to a drop down menu where you can select to send a message to your advisor and write your message in the text box provided
  • Be sure to include details about the opportunity and explain how it aligns to your career objectives 

If you would like to call your advisor, their contact information is listed on the right of your dashboard homepage under WTS.