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Preparing for co-op

If you're admitted to one of Waterloo's co-op programs, you'll complete 4 to 6 paid work terms (normally 4 months in length) over the course of your degree.

It's a good idea to start your preparations for co-op early.

  • To help you be successful in your job search, prepare for your first work term by assessing your marketable skills and obtaining work or volunteer experience related to your area of study.
  • To get started, you can log into Waterloo's CareerHub (using your Quest login after you have applied).

Once you're at Waterloo, and in the school term prior to your first co-op work term, you'll complete the online course PD1 (Professional Development).

This required course will provide you with the basic information you'll need to be successful in the co-op process, including résumé writing, interviewing, and performing on the job.

If you're in Engineering, you'll receive this information as part of your first-year Engineering classes.

Finding a job

Waterloo's co-op program is similar to a true job search, in which you apply to and compete for jobs that interest you rather than being placed in a job.

When it comes time to find a co-op job, you'll take part in the co-op job process, which consists of the following steps:

  • Read the posted job openings and apply to the jobs that interest you.
  • Take part in interviews with employers who select you based on your résumé and academic/co-op record.
  • Rank the interviews you had in order of preference. You'll be ranked by the employers who interviewed you, and a matching system will then attempt to match you with a job.
  • If you're not matched, continue the application and interview process.
  • Complete your work term, during which you'll write an analytical work report, if applicable.
  • Receive an employer performance evaluation, which will be recorded on your co-op record.

You'll receive academic credit for each co-op term you successfully complete, and in some cases you'll receive a grade based on your employer's evaluation and your work report, if applicable.

When your first work term begins

Find out when your first work term begins.

Work permits for international students in co-op

If you will be studying in Canada on a study permit, please apply for your work permit at the same time that you apply for your study permit. You'll need a work permit for your co-op work terms.