Waterloo students preparing for co-op interviews.

Waterloo's co-op program involves a real-world job application process, giving you experience before you graduate from university!

Before your first co-op term, you'll take an online course that will prepare you for Waterloo's co-op process. You'll also start applying to jobs and going to interviews.

Hiring process

  1. Through Waterloo's website, you'll review job postings and submit a résumé and cover letter for the ones that interest you.
  2. Employers review applications and select students to interview.
  3. If you're selected for an interview, you'll meet with the employer to discuss the job and your qualifications.
  4. You then rank the employers based on which were most appealing and they rank interviewees.
  5. 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.

Co-op fees

You'll take the same number of courses as students not in co-op and you pay tuition only when you’re in school.

Co-op fees help cover the cost of running Waterloo's co-op program. You'll pay these fees over a number of school terms.

Have your own job in mind?

You can also look for jobs on your own, if there's a specific field, employer, or job that interests you. Whatever you decide, our advisors are here to help!


By alternating several school and co-op terms, you can explore different career areas and types of employers as your interests evolve.

You'll alternate between school and work

Many Waterloo co-op students have their first co-op term halfway through second year (although some students start in first year). If your first work term is in second year, you'll go to school September through April in first year and then be able to make your own plans for May to August.

Sample study/work sequence

  September to December January to April May to August
First year Study term Study term Off
Second year Study term Work term Study term
Third year Work term Study term Work term
Fourth year Study term Work term Study term
Final year Work term Study term  

Study term = Four-month school term at Waterloo. Work term = Four-month co-op work term.
Off = Make your own plans (work, travel, vacation, etc.)

See the study/work sequence for your program of interest.

We're here to help

  • Before your first work term, you'll take a Waterloo professional development course to guide you through the co-op process.
  • Career advisors can help you with job search strategies, creating a résumé, practising for interviews, and figuring out your career interests.
  • You’ll be assigned to a specific co-op advisor who can help you with the co-op process and offer support during your work terms.

You may not land your dream job for your first work term, but working hard and taking the initiative to gain useful skills can set you up for success in future co-op terms.

During your work term

During a co-op work term (which is normally four months), you'll be an 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 larger projects. Read what students have done during co-op terms.

You'll also complete a professional development course to help you reflect on your work term experience and enhance what you're learning from your co-op term.

A co-op advisor from Waterloo will check in with you during your work term and answer any questions you have.

Ready to learn more?