Gain paid work experience through co-op
Co-op allows you to combine school terms with paid work experience relating to your degree.
At Waterloo, you'll normally spend 4 months in school followed by 4 months in a paid job relating to your program. We'll help you apply to jobs and support you during your work terms.
Explore careers and find your perfect fit
With 4 to 6 co-op terms, try out different careers to see what you like – before you even graduate!
Apply to jobs with our 6,900 employers
With more co-op employers than any other university, Waterloo gives you access to an unmatched range of jobs.
Earn $45,000 to $85,000 to pay for tuition
Make money to help pay for school and gain valuable experience at the same time!
Learn to excel in interviews
Refine your job search and interview skills so you're ready to hit the workforce as a pro.
Graduate with smaller debt
Waterloo co-op students have smaller student loans and are more successful at paying them back.
A network for your future
People you'll meet during co-op can help launch your career, providing references or tips about job opportunities.
Why choose co-op?
Not sure what you want to do after university?
With 4 to 6 work terms and with thousands of co-op jobs posted at Waterloo each year, you'll see what types careers are possible.
Already have a career in mind?
Use co-op make contacts who could help you – or even hire you – when you graduate
Plan to continue your education after Waterloo?
Co-op work terms can introduce you to many specialized fields within your area of interest
How does co-op at Waterloo work?
- For most programs, your co-op work terms start in second year.
- Typically, you'll spend 4 months at Waterloo as a full-time student and then 4 months working full time in a job relating to your program. View the study-work schedule for your program.
- You'll take the same number of courses and school terms as students who are not in co-op, but graduate with up to 2 years of paid work experience!
- You pay tuition only when you're in school and you'll graduate with up to 2 years of related work experience.
Waterloo's co-op program is a true competitive job application process. You apply to jobs that interest you rather than being placed in a job.
You may not land a dream job at your preferred company in your first work term, but if you work hard and take initiative to gain useful skills, first work terms can help set you up for success in future work terms.
- Employers who hire Waterloo co-op students submit job descriptions to our co-op department.
- You'll review job descriptions and apply to jobs that interest you.
- Take part in interviews with employers who select you based on your résumé and experience.
- Rank the jobs you interviewed for in order of preference. You're also ranked by the employers who interviewed you.
- Our ranking system will then attempt to match you with a job. Our co-op employment rate is generally 97%.
- If you're not matched, you continue the application and interview process until you find a job.
You can also look for work on your own, but if you'd like to receive academic credit, you must have your job approved by your Co-operative Education & Career Action advisor.
What will you do on a work term?
With 6,900 employers, Waterloo's 20,300 co-op students have an incredible range of work term experiences.
- During a work term, you'll be a full-time employee of the company or organization you're working for.
- You'll have a manager who will provide training, projects, and guidance to you.
- You might have a project of your own to work on or you might contribute to a number of projects over the course of your 4-month work term.
- You'll usually have a mid-term and final review with your supervisor. A Waterloo co-op staff member will also check in with you to ensure that you're having a good work term.
See what Waterloo's co-op students of the year did during their work terms.
Where you'll work
You choose your experience by the types of jobs you apply to through Waterloo's interview process. You might work for a multinational company with thousands of employees or for a small firm with just a few people.
It can be really valuable to return to the same employer for a second or third work term. You'll be able to take on more responsibility and increase your skills.
Most jobs are in the Toronto and Waterloo areas, but students work around the world.
Learn more about the types of organizations that hire Waterloo co-op students.