Co-op programs

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 program.

What is co-op?

Co-op lets you explore careers and gain paid work experience while earning your university degree. What could be better than that?! As a co-op student at Waterloo, you’ll normally alternate between four months in school and four months as a full-time employee of the organization you're working for. It's 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!

Co-op at Waterloo

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7,100+ employers

Take advantage of Waterloo’s huge network of co-op employers – the largest of any university in North America!

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4 to 6 co-op work terms

With multiple work terms, try out different careers to see what you like – or dislike.

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Earn $8,400 to $18,000 per work term in Canada

Make money to help pay for school and gain experience at the same time!

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Develop skills for your future

You'll learn how to identify your strengths and develop skills essential for future careers.

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Graduate with smaller debt

Waterloo students have smaller student loans and are more successful at paying them back.

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A network for your future

Learn to ace job interviews and networking opportunities so you can hit the workforce as a pro.


25th in the world for graduate employability

No school can guarantee your success after graduation. But we come really close. We're ranked 25th in the world for the employability of our graduates.


82%of Waterloo co-op grads earn $50,000+ two years after graduation compared to 45% of Ontario graduates
96%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.

Explore potential careers through co-op

Nicole, a student who led a national project for Microsoft Canada, says co-op was one of the best decisions of her life.

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, have interviews with employers, and then go into a process that matches students and employers based on preference.

By choosing which types of co-op jobs you apply to, you can focus on the experience or connections you want.

Though co-op can be challenging, we're here to help. Career advisors can help you with job search strategies, creating a résumé and cover letter, practising for interviews, and figuring out your overall career direction – all key skills for your career. You’ll also be assigned to a specific co-op advisor who can help you navigate the application process and offer support throughout your work term. Co-op work terms start in first or second year, depending on your program.

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

Ready to learn more?