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Co-op work/study sequences

Students on path with green trees at the University of WaterlooMost students will spend 8 months in school in first year. This is a great chance to get used to university, make friends, and get a solid start in your program. Between May and September after first year, you can work, volunteer, travel – anything you choose.

A typical co-op study-work sequence

As a co-op student, you'll either be in school full time or in a full-time job relating to your program.

  September to December (fall) January to April (winter) May to August (spring)
First year School School Off
Second year School Co-op School
Third year Co-op School Co-op
Fourth year School Co-op School
Final year Co-op School Graduate in June

School = 4-month school term, Co-op = 4-month co-op work term
Off = You can make your own plans for that term (work, travel, vacation, etc.)
Some Engineering and Math programs have co-op work terms in January and May of first year.

For most programs, co-op starts in second year 

In many co-op programs, your first work term will be halfway through second year. Some Engineering and Math programs have co-op work terms in first year.

In the term before your first co-op experience, you'll learn about the co-op process and tips for succeeding in co-op. You'll also start applying to jobs and going to interviews. 

Programs that start co-op other than halfway through second year

Faculty of Arts

Political Science, Psychology, Sociology: Your first work term is May to August after second year.

Faculty of Environment

Planning: Your first work term is May to August after second year.

Faculty of Science

Psychology: Your first work term is May to August after finish second year.

 

Faculty of Engineering

Program Timing of first work term

Architecture

January to April of second year

Environmental, Geological, Systems Design

January to April of first year

Biomedical, Civil, Management, Nanotechnology, Software

May to August after first year
Chemical, Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, Mechatronics January to April of first year OR
May to August after first year

Faculty of Mathematics

Program Timing of first work term
  • Computer Science and Math Double Degree programs
  • Computing and Financial Management
  • Mathematical Physics
May to August after first year
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics/Business Administration
  • Mathematics/Financial Analysis and Risk Management

There are 3 schedules:

  • May to August after first year
  • January to April of second year
  • May to August after second year
  • Mathematics/Teaching
  • Pure Mathematics/ Teaching

May to August after first year OR
​January to April of second year

Learn more about co-op