Co-operative education

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You can find answers to some of the common questions asked by Math students concerning the co-operative education program here. If you have any additional questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to your Math co-op advisors here at the Math Undergraduate Office as we are always happy to help!

Frequently asked questions

I am a regular student in Math. How can I switch into co-op?

If you are in your 1B term (and will have completed between 4.0-6.5 units by the end of the term) you may apply to switch to the co-op program. Students admitted to the Faculty of Mathematics with a substantial number of transfer credits may not be able to switch into co-op because they are too far advanced in their plan.

Information sessions to apply to co-op are held at the beginning of the third month of each term (March, July, November). Application forms are available online and are due on or before the last day of classes.

I want to leave co-op. How do I do that? Are there any restrictions?

If you are thinking of leaving the co-op program, then (providing you are in a plan that allows both co-op and regular systems of study) you can switch to regular by submitting a Plan Modification Form. Contact a co-op advisor with your request, as well as your rationale for wishing to leave co-op. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to speak to the Associate Dean, Co-operative Education for final approval.

Most requests to leave co-op are approved, though there are some special cases where it may not be possible when requested:

  • A student is not permitted to leave co-op effective for a term in which they are enrolled in a COOP course. Depending on the circumstance, it may be possible to process their request to leave co-op the following term.
  • If a student has completed 5-6 work term opportunities in their sequence, they will not typically be allowed to leave co-op before they have completed 8 full-time study terms. In this case, it may still be possible for students to graduate with a regular degree if their plan allows it without completing any remaining work terms in their sequence. Please contact Associate Dean, Co-operative Education for more information.

If you are approved to leave co-op, please note the following:

  • This change cannot be undone once it has been processed.
  • If you are planning international internships in the future, you will be fully responsible for obtaining all needed visas. There will not be CEE support as you will not be completing an official work term, which you employer should be made aware of.
  • PD/WKRPT records from previous terms remain on your transcript even after you leave co-op.
  • If you intend to drop co-op but have been actively pursuing a position through WaterlooWorks, you must contact your CEE student advisor through WaterlooWorks to determine if you can withdraw from the process. If not, you will still be expected to honour a match, if one occurs, and your transfer out of co-op will be delayed until after that work term.
  • If you are an International student, It is your responsibility to contact the immigration consultants, to ensure you understand how the change to regular may affect your ability to work during your studies.
  • Transferring from a co-op plan to a regular may have financial implications that you should be aware of. While no additional co-op fees will be made after the change of plan has been made, tuition fees could actually be higher for a regular student than a co-op student at the same academic level. It is your responsibility to check if this is relevant in your situation and to factor this into your decision. Fee schedules are available here.

Can I take courses during my co-op work term?

Outside of Professional Development (PD) courses, you may take up to one course during a work term without permission. In order to take two courses, you must first obtain permission from your employer and then forward that written permission to Co-op Math. Make sure you send it from your Waterloo email account and include your student ID number.
Note: Registration in more than one course will open approximately one week before the start of the term. Please note that registration is prioritized for students who are scheduled to be on an academic term.
Warning: Taking courses on a work term will not allow you to graduate any faster with a co-op degree. You require 8 full-time study terms for a co-op degree and must end on a study term.

How do I change my co-op sequence?

You may need to change sequences if certain required courses are only available in certain terms or if your employer requests an extended co-op term, or for some other extenuating circumstances.

Not finding employment is not a valid reason for a sequence change. Such requests will be considered on an individual basis, but there may be reduced access to WaterlooWorks on a future term if approved.

Step 1: To change your sequence, complete a sequence change form.

Step 2: Contact your academic advisor for signature approval*.

Step 3: Forward the completed and signed form to the Math co-op advisors for final approval.

*If you are a Computer Science, Computational Math, Statistics, Mathematical Studies or an undeclared major, then you do not need your advisor to sign the sequence form.

Are there any consequences of changing your sequence?

Sequence changes are not intended to facilitate additional opportunities to participate in the co-operative education’s facilitated interview process.
Should you request a sequence change when you have a work term scheduled for the following term, assuming your request is to change the scheduled work term to a study term and move your work term later, you will be restricted from using WaterlooWorks during your next job search for at least part of the term. In some cases, it may be possible to move the Waterloo Works reduced access from the next scheduled work term to the following one. This should be reviewed with the math co-op advisors at the time the sequence change is requested.

Specifically, suppose we are at academic week N when you submit your sequence change form and you have been actively recruiting. Performing a sequence change at this point would remove access to the WaterlooWorks co-op job board for the first N academic weeks during the affected job search.

Note: It is the student's responsibility to follow up with the math co-op advisors if the restriction has not been lifted at the time specified.    

If you have a sufficient number of remaining work terms then you could possibly elect to forfeit your upcoming work to take a full-time course load instead. This would incur no restrictions on WaterlooWorks access, though you would be down one work term. This may or may not be possible depending on your program and your past work history. Consult with a Math co-op advisor for further clarification.

 I'm a first year student and haven't had my first work term. I would like to change my sequence. How can I do that?

Students cannot typically change their sequence prior to their first work term.

During your first term, you will receive information about the sequence swap process, where you can switch to one of the other initial sequences if you can find someone in your preferred sequence to swap with you.

If you feel there are extenuating circumstances which require you to change your sequence, you can petition to request a change. You should discuss your situation with a Math Co-op advisor first.

 When I started in co-op, I had to complete WKRPT courses to complete on work terms, but I've heard those have been removed.

What does that mean for me?

The Faculty has retired the WKRPT courses and removed them from co-op degree requirements. Regardless of when you started your co-op degree, you do not need to complete any more WKRPT courses. Past attempts of WKRPT courses will, however, remain on your transcript with either a numerical grade or a CR/NCR grade, depending on when the course was taken.

Note that the course PD11 (Introduction to Technical Report Writing) remains a requirement for all Math co-op degrees.

 Can I take one or more terms off and still remain in the co-op program, how does that affect my co-op sequence?

Any math student can take up to 3 consecutive terms off without needing to apply for readmission. This also applies to co-op students. Note however that international students will need to check with an immigration consultant as to whether such a plan is recommended.

As for co-op sequences, students will need to return to full-time studies prior to any work terms. That is, you cannot take a term (or two or three) off and then immediately follow that with a co-op term.

 I'm thinking of taking only 1-2 courses in a term. Will that affect my co-op sequence?

Students must be enrolled in full-time studies during their recruitment terms. So, for example, if you are scheduled for a Fall work term, that means the Spring term must be full-time (at least 1.5 units of courses, not counting PD courses). If you are only in 1-2 courses (again, not counting PD courses), that is a part-time term, and you will be removed from the recruitment process and your work-study sequence will be removed. You will need to reset your sequence when you return to full-time studies. You will retain the work term that was originally scheduled after the part-time term.

In addition, if you are an international students, be sure to consult with the registered immigration consultants about the possible effects of a part-time term.

 I was unemployed due to covid and received the work term exemption. What does that mean for my degree requirements?

The work term exemption (or reduction) was given to students who were unemployed for a scheduled work term in one of Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, or Spring 2021. As a result of this exemption, the required number of work term credits to meet co-op degree requirements was reduced by one. If your program requires four work term credits, you need to earn credit for three instead. If you program requires five work term credits, you need to earn credit for four instead. Note that no other degree requirements were adjusted during covid.

If this exemption applies to you, it will appear as a Undergrad Milestone on Quest. If it does not appear there, the exemption does not apply to you, and there is no reduction to your work term requirements.

I've been placed on academic probation because my average is too low. What does that mean?

Information about co-op probation is available at here.

 I was removed from co-op due academic difficulties. Can I transfer back if my grades improve?

Generally, you cannot transfer back to co-op after being removed. However, if your academic record is addressed through the petition process, your status in co-op will be reviewed as part of the petition outcome to determine if you can return to co-op.

I missed one work term. Will I be removed from co-op?

Most Math co-op sequences have one more work term opportunity scheduled than the number of work term credits needed to graduate. This allows most students to remain in co-op and able to complete a co-op degree even if they are not employed in one work term opportunity.

Some students (those in Math/CPA and those who join co-op through a transfer) have exactly the same number of work term opportunities as the number of work term credits required. These students can be removed from co-op if they miss earning a work term credit in any scheduled work term opportunity.

As removal from co-op would also mean removal from their program, there are some special considerations for students in Math/CPA, who should contact their program advisor if they miss earning a credit on one work term.

How many work term credits do I need for my co-op degree?

As noted in the university calendar, most Math co-op plans require credit for 5 work terms. These are recorded as 2.5 COOP course credits.

A few plans (Math/CPA, Math/Teaching, and both Double degree plans) require 4 work term credits, recorded as 2.0 COOP course credits.

Note that students in the Math/Teaching who combine that major with a second Math faculty major plan will need 5 work term credits, as required by their second major.

 I'd like to delay taking my PD courses. Is that okay?

As noted in the co-op regulations section of the university calendar, Math students are expected to take a PD course each work term until the PD requirements are completed. Since PD1 is completed on the first recruitment term, this means that PD requirements can be completed by the end of the fourth work term.

In addition, students can be placed on co-op probation for having two missing, withdrawn, or failed PD courses, and can be removed from co-op for having three missing, withdrawn, or failed PD courses. By choosing to delay taking a PD course on a work term before the requirements are completed, you are risking your co-op status.

There may be special circumstances which will make it difficult for a student to complete a PD course on a particular work term. In such cases, please contact the Associate Dean, Co-operative Education to discuss your situation further.

 I've fallen behind on PD courses. How can I catch up?

While students are typically limited to one PD course on a work term, a second PD course can be taken on a work term if you are repeating a previous attempt which was failed or withdrawn.

If you are on your last work term and need two more PD courses, please contact the Associate Dean, Co-operative Education for permission to take a second PD course.

If you have finished your work terms and are still missing a PD course, please contact the Associate Dean, Co-operative Education for permission to take a PD course on a study term.

 Can I finish my co-op degree on a work term?

For a co-op degree, no, you must end on a study term. To determine options regarding graduating with a regular degree, contact the Math co-op advisors.

I've taken extra courses and can finish my degree in 7 study terms. Can I still graduate with a co-op degree?

No. Co-op degrees require 8 full-time terms (with 8 co-op fees being paid).

If there are exceptional circumstances, you can petition to graduate with 7 full-time terms, but those petitions are rarely approved.

 Can I schedule three work terms in a row?

The university has started to allow three work terms in a row in some exceptional circumstances. If a student has arranged a work experience covering 12-16 months, they may contact the Associate Dean, Co-operative Education regarding this longer experience. Approval is not guaranteed, and it is subject to additional conditions (including, but not limited to, you must have sufficient work terms remaining to cover the experience, and this experience cannot generally be used to extend your first work term).

Additional information about longer work terms is available here.