Explore careers, earn money, and gain experience
As a co-op student, you'll typically spend 4 months as a full-time student and then 4 months working in a full-time co-op job relating to your studies.
You can tailor your work experience by the types of jobs you apply to through our network of 7,000 employers who hire Waterloo co-op students.
North America's largest co-op program
4 to 6 co-op work terms
With multiple work terms, you can try different careers to see what you like – or dislike.
Get access to more co-op employers than any other university in North America.
Earn $33,000 to $90,000
Make money to help pay for school and gain experience at the same time!
Develop skills for your future
You'll learn how to identify your strengths and develop skills essential for future careers.
Graduate with smaller debt
Waterloo students have smaller student loans and are more successful at paying them back.
A network for your future
Learn to ace job interviews and networking opportunities so you can hit the workforce as a pro.
Waterloo's co-op program is a true competitive job application process. Career advisors can help you with applications, interviews, and work search strategies – all key skills for your career.
Co-op starts in first or second year
We'll help you apply to the jobs posted by our co-op employers and support you during your work terms. Co-op work terms start in first or second year, depending on your program.
Where do students work?
Most students work in the Waterloo area, Toronto, Ottawa, or elsewhere in Canada, but Silicon Valley and New York City are common destinations for some programs.
You may not land your dream job for your first work term, but if you work hard and take initiative to gain useful skills, first work terms can set you up for future success.
In the school term before your first work term, you'll take a professional development course to guide you through the co-op process. You'll also start applying to jobs and going to interviews while attending classes.
You'll review jobs submitted by our co-op employers and apply to jobs that interest you.
You'll have interviews with employers who select you based on your résumé and experience.
Following interviews, you rank employers in order of preference and they rank you. We'll then attempt to match you with a job.
Our co-op employment rate is generally 98%. If you're not matched with an employer, you continue the application and interview process until you find a job.
You pay tuition only when you’re in school. You will pay co-op fees which help cover the cost of running the co-op program. These fees are paid over a number of school terms.
A co-op program takes 5 school years to complete. You'll take the same number of courses as students who are not in co-op, but graduate with up to 2 years of paid work experience!
On your work term
During a co-op work term, you'll be a full-time employee of the organization you're working for. You'll have a manager who will provide training, projects, and guidance. You might have a project of your own or you might contribute to a number of projects. Read what students have done during co-op terms.
Your manager will do a mid-term and final review with you to evaluate your progress and learning. You’ll also have a student advisor at Waterloo who will check in with you periodically and answer any questions you have.
Honours Arts and Business co-op student Nicole Simec led a project for Microsoft Canada that was used in retail stores across the country. Learn what Nicole did at Microsoft and why she chose co-op.