Explore careers, earn money, and gain experience through North America's largest co-op program.
What is co-op?
Co-op lets you explore careers and gain paid work experience while earning your university degree. As a co-op student at Waterloo, you’ll normally alternate between four months in school and four months as a full-time employee of the organization you're working for.
Waterloo's co-op program is an amazing way to learn to successfully interview for jobs, see how your degree relates to real-life problems, graduate with up to two years of valuable experience – and make money!
Why co-op at Waterloo?
Network of employers
With the largest co-op program of its kind in North America, you'll get access to a wide variety of jobs and experiences.
Earn while you learn
Make money to help pay for school and gain experience at the same time! Students typically make between $8,400 and $19,800 per work term in Canada.
Waterloo students have smaller student loans and are more successful at paying them back.
4 to 6 co-op work terms
With multiple work terms, you can explore different careers to see what you're good at, the problems you want to help solve, and what you love to do. You'll also learn to ace job interviews and make contacts – before you start your career!
Develop skills for your future
You'll learn how to identify your strengths and develop skills essential for future careers.
Explore potential careers through co-op
How does co-op work?
Waterloo's co-op program involves a real-world job application process, preparing you for what you'll experience when you graduate. Very simply, you apply to jobs, have interviews with employers, and then go into a process that matches students and employers based on preference.
Where do co-op students work?
Waterloo co-op students work for an incredible range of employers, from small startup firms to all levels of government, non-profit organizations, and some of the world's biggest companies. Most students work in the Waterloo area, Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and throughout Ontario, but can also work across Canada and the world!
- Alberta Cancer Research Institute
- Amnesty International Canada
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada
- Canadian Cancer Society
- Canadian Space Agency
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
- CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research
- CIBC World Markets
- City of Toronto
- Diamond Schmitt Architects
- EllisDon Construction
- Environment and Climate Change Canada
- Ernst & Young LLP
- Ford Motor Company of Canada
- Harvard Medical School
- Honda Canada
- Hydro One
- IBM Canada
- Intact Financial
- Johnson & Johnson
- Labatt Breweries
- Microsoft Canada
- Natural Resources Canada
- Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
- Ontario Power Generation
- Parks Canada
- RBC Financial Group
- Suncor Energy
- Sun Life Financial
- The Hospital for Sick Children
- Tim Horton Children’s Foundation
- Toronto Transit Commission
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada
- United Nations Association in Canada
- University of Waterloo
- Waterloo Region Museum
- Peel Regional Police
- YMCA Canada
Is co-op right for you?
Through approximately 21,000 work terms each year, students land roles that help them round out their learning with future-ready skills. But, like every choice you make in life – whether it's coffee or tea, co-op or a regular program – there are pros and cons to both.
Among other benefits, co-op
- gives you access to opportunities you can't find anywhere else,
- helps you earn money to pay your tuition,
- teaches you how to network,
- gives you feedback from professionals,
- allows you to graduate with a solid résumé, and
- increases your chances for employment right after graduation.
While co-op can be highly rewarding and open new doors, there's no guarantee you'll find relevant jobs. The challenge of finding a co-op job
- adds stress to your academic terms,
- increases your tuition,
- may require you to relocate,
- adds an extra year to your degree, and
- may limit your participation in other activities.