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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. 

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! 

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 and learn how to ace interviews. 

Getting hired

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. 


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. You're also ranked by employers. 

Our ranking system will then attempt to match you with a job.


Our co-op employment rate is generally 97%, but 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?

  • During a co-op work term, you'll be a full-time employee of the company or organization you're working for. Your work term is normally 4 months long.
  • You'll have a manager who will provide training, projects, and guidance. You might have a project of your own to work on or you might contribute to a number of projects.
  • 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.

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