Co-op and careers

Two students in the co-op program at Waterloo shake hands.

Explore careers, earn money, and gain experience through North America's largest co-op (paid internship) program.

Co-op lets you explore careers and gain paid work experience while earning your university degree. As a co-op student at Waterloo, you’ll typically alternate between four months in school and four months as a full-time employee of the organization you're working for.

Waterloo's co-op program is an amazing way to learn to successfully interview for jobs, see how your degree relates to real-life problems, graduate with up to two years of valuable experience – and make money!

#1 in Canada for graduate employment rateQS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022

Why co-op at Waterloo?

7,500+ employers

  • Access the widest variety of co-op jobs and experiences in North America.
  • More employers means more choice for you.
  • Make money to help pay for school – and gain experience at the same time!

Earn while you learn

  • Students typically make between $9,000 and $21,500 per four-month work term in Canada.
  • Waterloo students typically have smaller student loans and are more successful at paying them back.

Explore careers

  • Use your four to six co-op work terms to explore careers and see what you're good at and what you love to do.
  • Learn to ace job interviews and make contacts – before you start your career!

Explore potential careers through co-op

Career success

Warriors get there faster. In addition to the classroom learning, industry experience, and career support woven throughout your degree, there are many more resources.

  • Workshops on résumé writing, skills identification, researching careers, networking, and more
  • One-on-one advice for planning your career or further education, résumé feedback, preparing for interviews, and more
  • Support for student entrepreneurs as they form and validate ideas, build prototypes, and develop businesses
  • Job posting exclusively for Waterloo students and graduates

of Waterloo co-op grads earn $50,000+ two years after graduation compared to 50% of Ontario graduates
of our co-op grads employed six months after graduation find jobs related to skills they acquired at Waterloo, compared to 79% of all university graduates in Ontario.

Source: Ontario University Graduate Survey (published 2022)

How does co-op work?

Waterloo's co-op program involves a real-world job application process, preparing you for what you'll experience when you graduate. Very simply, you apply to jobs, interview with employers, and then rank employers (based on preference) while employers rank the students they interviewed. The rankings generate job matches.

It doesn't stop there. After you're matched with an employer, you'll start your co-op work term. A co-op student advisor is available to support you through the job application process and your work terms.


Is co-op right for you?

Waterloo students complete approximately 25,000 four-month work terms each year, helping them round out their learning with future-ready skills. You'll have between four and six co-op work terms depending on your program. Like every choice you make in life – whether it's coffee or tea, co-op or a regular program – there are pros and cons to both.


Among other benefits, co-op

  • allows you to graduate with a solid résumé,
  • helps you earn money towards paying your tuition,
  • gives you access to opportunities you can't find anywhere else,
  • teaches you how to network with prospective employers,
  • gives you a break between school terms, and
  • increases your chances for employment upon graduating.


While co-op can be highly rewarding and open new doors, it's a competitive program and you aren't guaranteed a job. Being in a co-op program

  • may add stress to your academic terms,
  • adds a co-op fee (almost $500) to support the cost of the running the co-op program,
  • may require you to move to another city for your co-op term
  • could limit time for other activities, and
  • adds an extra year to your degree.

What do students say?

megaphone icon"Co-op has allowed me to meet and work with so many great people. Before I started co-op, I had no relevant experience in my field. Through co-op, I've been able to create employer connections, build my résumé, and greatly improve my interview skills!"Taryn, fourth-year Therapeutic Recreation student
megaphone icon"Co-op has given me direction and confidence. I would have felt absolutely clueless upon graduation, but now I know what kind of career I want – and I have work experience from five co-op terms that sets me apart from other job applicants."Miila, fourth-year Planning student
megaphone icon"Co-op has exposed me to different fields. Last term, I used my spatial analyst skills in a GIS analyst role. Next term I’ll be working with my other passion: marketing! Co-op allows you to find your calling – in or outside the scope of your program."Martin, second-year Geomatics student
megaphone icon"Being in co-op has improved my time management skills as I learned to balance school, interviews, and my social life. Co-op has also helped me determine my career goals by allowing me to explore different jobs and exposing me to various industries."Renee, fourth-year Computer Science student
megaphone icon"My co-op jobs have allowed me to pay for school while completing my degree. I'm now able to graduate from university debt-free, giving me more freedom after graduation in choosing where I live and who I work for."Julia, fourth-year Biochemistry student
megaphone icon"On co-op, you get the chance to make and improve from mistakes, learn practical knowledge, and work for a variety of companies. The diversity and practical experience from co-op are undeniable competitive edges for seeking employment after graduation."Sanjeevani, fourth-year Mechatronics Engineering student
megaphone icon"Through co-op I’m able to apply my classroom learning during my work terms. Meanwhile, I'm building great networks and gaining valuable experience. I’m confident that the co-op program will prepare me for what is to come after my undergrad."Abby, third-year Psychology student