Co-op programs

Students in the co-op program at the University of Waterloo meet around a laptop on a table.

Explore careers, earn money, and gain experience through North America's largest co-op program.

Nobody does co-op like the University of Waterloo

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7,000+ employers

Get access to more co-op employers than any other university in North America.

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4 to 6 co-op work terms

With multiple work terms, try out different careers to see what you like – or dislike.

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Earn $42,000 to $90,000

Make money to help pay for school and gain experience at the same time!

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Develop skills for your future

You'll learn how to identify your strengths and develop skills essential for future careers.

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Graduate with smaller debt

Waterloo students have smaller student loans and are more successful at paying them back.

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A network for your future

Learn to ace job interviews and networking opportunities so you can hit the workforce as a pro.

 
 

Graduate with up to two years of experience

A Waterloo co-op program takes a year longer to complete than a regular (non-co-op) program, but you'll graduate with up to two years of paid work experience!

Get the experience you want

By choosing which types of jobs you apply to, you can focus on the experience or connections you want.

 

79%of Waterloo co-op grads earn $50,000+ 2 years after graduation compared to 39% of Ontario graduates
96%of our co-op grads employed 6 months after graduation find jobs related to skills they aquired at Waterloo
98.5%co-op employment rate vs. 89% youth employment rate in Canada


Considering applying to a co-op program?

Discover why Nicole, a student who led a national project for Microsoft, says co-op is one of the best decisions of her life.


Co-op starts in first or second year

We have whole team of advisors available to help you apply to the jobs posted by our co-op employers and continue to support you on 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.

 

How does a co-op program work?

Waterloo's co-op program is a competitive job application process. However, we're here to help! Career advisors can help you with creating a résumé and cover letter, practising for interviews, and job search strategies – all key skills for your career.

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 during your school term. 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.

Getting hired

1. Apply to jobs

You'll review jobs submitted by our co-op employers and apply to jobs that interest you.

2. Interview

You'll have interviews with employers who select you based on your résumé and experience.

3. Rank/match

You'll then rank employers in order of preference and they rank you in our match process.

 

Through the rank/match process, we'll attempt to match you with a job. Our co-op employment rate is around 98 per cent. If you're not matched with an employer, you continue the application and interview process until you find a job.

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!

You'll have the same number of courses as students not in co-op and 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.

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.

You'll also complete a professional development course to help you enhance your work term experience.

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


Learn more about co-op