University of Waterloo

English Department



Co-op work report guidelines for undergraduate studies

Introduction and submission procedure:

At the conclusion of each co-op work term, returning students must submit a work report for credit. To graduate with a co-op designation, undergraduates must submit four acceptable reports.

Submit your report to the department's Undergraduate Coordinator by the beginning of the second week of classes. you do not need to submit the report to your employer, unless the employer makes that requirement.

Structure of the report:

The work report consists of the following elements;

Title page:

With your name, ID number, semester of employment, and the name of the company or organization that employed you. Your supervisor's name is not required. 


One page containing a description of the job, along with a statement at the bottom of the page indicating whether or not you will allow the report to be maintained in a work report archive that will be made available as a resource for future co-op students. 

The work report:

An analysis, approximately 2000 words in length, of one aspect of your job. You may submit in essay form or report form, depending on the nature of the report. Essays will follow the MLA guidelines (available in most composition textbooks); examples of report formats are available in textbooks on report writing, technical writing, and business writing. Any formal or semi-formal format is acceptable.

Details of the work report:

The work report is an analysis of one aspect of your job. You might analyze a particular project, an ongoing process, or a continuing duty of your position. The method of analysis is up to you, but it should demonstrate techniques and skills you have developed an an English major at uWaterloo. Any aspect of your job you found particularly interesting (positively or negatively), and that suit such an analysis, is appropriate as a topic for the work report.

Note: Materials produced on the job are not acceptable as work reports. You may, however, include such materials with your analysis.

Some possible topics include:

  • decision-making processes
  • communicative procedures and processes
  • gender issues in texts or other institutional communications
  • analysis of corporate or institutional culture 
  • corporate or organization image-making
  • inter-office politics or policies
  • techniques of collaboration
  • semiotic patterns in company information
  • assimilation or use of technical language or organizational language
  • design choices
  • techniques for explaining processes or procedures
  • metaphoric structure in job-specific communication
  • deconstruction analysis of job-related texts 
  • applications of critical theory to texts or job activities
  • effects of power structures on communication in the organization
By no means are you limited to the topics listed above. They are simply suggestions. Nor is it necessary to clear the topic with the co-op officer, although you are certainly welcome to discuss your topic with them at any time.