Transferring into co-op

Transfers to co-op header image

When can I apply?

Most students apply during their 1B term. You should have between 4.0 and 6.5 units completed by the end of the term in which you apply.  

  • If you will have more than 6.5 units completed at the end of the term, contact the Associate Dean, Co-op to determine if you are still eligible to apply.  

  • If you will have less than 4.0 units completed at the end of the term, you should apply during your next study term rather than the current term.  

  • Note that BASE credits are not counted towards these limits, but transfer credits are.  

How do I apply?

There are two parts to your application. Both parts must be completed by the application deadline (11:59 pm on the last day of lectures for your 1B term).  

  1. You must complete the online application form.  
    • As part of the online application, there is an opportunity to provide additional information regarding your application.  
      • You may wish to explain how you will benefit from being in co-op or why you feel you will be a strong co-op ambassador for Waterloo.  
      • You may also address any special circumstances you feel are relevant to fully evaluate your application.  
      • There is a limit of 500 characters, so be concise! 
    • You will need to indicate your preferred co-op sequence on the application form itself. Be sure to read the information below about sequences before you choose your sequence.  
  2. Send an email to Associate Dean, Co-op with the subject “Co-op Transfer Application (ID)” placing your student ID number in brackets. Be sure to include the required files:  

    • A pdf of your resume (if you have never written a resume, check out the resources at CareerHub), 

    • A scan of your student permit, if relevant to your citizenship status.

What is the deadline to apply?

Applications are due by 11:59pm on the last day of lectures for your 1B term. See the Registrar’s Office important dates page for specific term information.  

How are decisions made?

Admission to the co-op program in Mathematics is very competitive. Students seeking admission to co-op must compete for limited spaces and the decisions are almost entirely based on grades.  

  • Admission is based on your cumulative average.  

  • All courses are treated equally in the average calculation. No preference is given to advanced or enriched sections of courses. 

  • Typically, successful applicants have a cumulative average in the mid-80s and higher during their first year.  

  • Exact grade requirements required vary from year to year, as they are dependent on the grades of the students applying and on the number of available spaces.  

  • The minimum grades required for admission to co-op during the Winter term (when most students apply) are then used as the minimum grades required in Spring and Fall terms as well. The grade levels are then reset the following Winter term.  

  • While grades are the primary factor, additional information submitted by the applicant will be considered. 

  • If you withdraw (with a grade of WD) from more than two courses during your first year, receive a failing grade on a course, or receive grades below 70% in any math courses, then it is unlikely that your application to co-op will be successful.  

  • If your record is adjusted through a petition soon after your application is reviewed or you have a grade revision around the time decisions are made, contact the Associate Dean, Co-op to determine if your application can be reviewed again with that new information.  

When will I know if I can join co-op?

Applications will be reviewed after grades are available for the term in which you applied. Decisions are generally made by the end of the first week of the following term. All students, regardless of the decision, should be contacted by the beginning of the second week of that term.  

How do I choose my work-study sequence?

When a student joins co-op, a sequence is set indicating which terms will be study terms and which terms will be work terms. Most students admitted directly to a Math co-op program from high school have six work terms and eight study terms in their initial work-study sequence. Students who join co-op after first year, however, will have five work terms in their sequence with six planned study terms, and are not eligible to add a sixth work term, even if additional study terms are needed.  

When you apply for co-op, you are asked to specify which work-study sequence you prefer, as indicated in the chart below. Your choice is largely determined by your citizenship and whether you intend to take full-time studies the term after you apply.  


*W - work term






   2027 2028











Sequence Option 1








W3 3B W4 4A W5 4B  

Cdn & Intl

Sequence Option 2








3A W3 3B W4 4A W5 4B


Sequence Option 3







W2 3B W3 4A W4 W5 4B  

You will indicate your choice on the online application form. Please consider the following when making your decision:  

  • Option 1: available only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

    • Your 2A term will be the term after you apply to co-op and you will be enrolled in PD1 if your application is successful. This will be your first recruitment term.  

    • Your first work term will be immediately following your 2A term.  

    • From that point, you will alternate work and study terms, ending on a study term.  

  • Option 2: available to all students.

    • You will be inactive or part-time the term after you apply to co-op.  

    • The following term (two terms after you apply) will be your 2A term and you will be enrolled in PD1. This is your first recruitment term.  

    • Your first work term will be immediately following your 2A term.  

    • From that point, you will alternate work and study terms, ending on a study term. 

    • Students in this sequence will finish their degree one term later than students in the other sequences.  

  • Option 3: available only to international students on a student permit.  

    • Your 2A and 2B terms will be the next two terms after your apply to co-op. You will be enrolled in PD1 during your 2B term. It will also be your first recruitment term.  

    • Your first work term will be immediately following your 2B term.  

    • From that point, you will alternate work and study terms, until you finish with a double work term followed by a study term.  

Can I change my work-study sequence? 

Once you have completed your first work term, you can investigate changing your sequence to best match your needs. Note that it may be necessary to adjust your sequence due to your academic plan.  

You are encouraged to review the questions about sequences on the math co-op FAQ.  

If you want to change your sequence prior to your first work term, contact the Associate Dean, Co-op to determine if the change can be accommodated.  

Can I apply to co-op more than once? 

If you meet the credit limits in successive terms, you may apply in both terms. However, if your first application is denied due to your overall average, there would need to be a significant improvement in the second term for the decision to be different. There is generally no benefit to delaying your application when you are eligible to apply in a term.  

What is a co-op fee and when do I pay it? 

Student co-op fees are the primary funding source for the co-op program at Waterloo. Undergraduate students pay co-op fees on their full-time study terms, not on the work terms.  

If you are admitted to co-op, your plan will be changed to co-op after you accept your offer. On your next full-time study term, you will pay your first co-op fee. If that is the term after you apply, your fees will be reassessed to include the co-op fee once co-op has been added to your academic plan. 

You will pay co-op fees on your first six full-time study terms as a co-op student. If you take additional study terms, you will not pay any additional co-op fees beyond six.  

If I join co-op, what additional degree requirements do I need to complete? 

To graduate with a co-op degree, you will need to complete the following:  

  • Earn five work term credits (these will be recorded as COOP 1,2,3,4,5 on your transcript) 

  • Complete five PD courses: PD1, PD11, and three additional PD courses (including PD10 if you are in CS) 

  • Complete a total of eight full-time study terms:  

    • you should already have two full-time terms completed before joining co-op, and 

    • you need to complete at least six while registered in a co-op plan). 

Can I be removed from co-op once I am in a co-op plan? 

Unfortunately, yes, there are circumstances in which you can be removed from co-op, which include the following:  

  • You do not earn a co-op credit in one of your scheduled work terms. Most math degrees required five work term credits and, as a late transfer, you will only get five work term opportunities. So, missing one means you cannot complete your degree and will be removed. If that were to happen to you, and you feel special circumstances apply, contact the Associate Dean, Co-op to determine if there may be a way to continue in co-op.  

  • You fall significantly behind on your PD course requirements. Students are expected to earn PD course credits on their first recruitment term and first four work terms. Failure to earn a PD credit (which includes dropping, withdrawing from, failing or not enrolling in a PD course when expected to) in three opportunities can result in removal from co-op.  

  • Your cumulative average falls below 60%. You will be placed on co-op probation in this case, and, as a result, will lose one work term opportunity, which means you will not be able to complete degree requirements and will be removed from co-op. If you find yourself in this situation but feel special circumstances apply, contact the Associate Dean, Co-op to determine if there may be a way to continue in co-op. 

Are there other work-integrated learning experiences available for regular Math students?  

While it is not a co-op program, Waterloo’s EDGE Certificate program gives Waterloo students in regular programs an opportunity to develop key professional skills, explore their career options, and market themselves to employers. 

Students in a regular plan can search for employment opportunities on their own and build their own work experiences. International students should speak with a registered immigration consultant regarding the conditions for working in Canada associated with their student permits.  

The Centre for Career Development resources are available to all students, not just co-op students.  

Similarly, there are job boards available on WaterlooWorks for regular students, distinct from those available only to co-op students.  

I’m an international student on a student permit. Does this affect my ability to transfer to co-op? 

No, applications are reviewed independent of citizenship status.  

However, there are a few things that you should be aware of:  

  • While Co-operative Education will assist international students like you with obtaining their coop work-permits from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, it is your responsibility to ensure you complete the process.  

  • Your passport and study permit must be valid for the full duration of your first work term 

  • It is your responsibility to explore any restrictions your government may place on your ability to work in Canada. 

  • Some restrictions will apply to working in Canada, as some employers only hire Canadian citizens or permanent residents.  

  • Working in a country other than Canada or your home country may be very difficult to arrange due to visa issues, and, even when possible, may have to be arranged many months in advance. You should seek advice before applying for any such positions.  

I’m in a Double Degree program and registered for co-op at Laurier. Can I transfer to co-op at Waterloo in a single degree plan?  

If you wish to transfer home institutions, you need to complete an Application for Institutional Transfer. If successful, you will transfer to a regular plan at Waterloo.  

Requests for transferring to co-op at Waterloo will only be considered for first year students. You should follow the process outlined above for regular Math students. You should submit your application during the winter term or spring term. Your application will be reviewed as if you were currently a student in a regular Math plan and subject to the same grade and credit requirements. Successful transfer to a co-op plan at Waterloo is subject to successful institutional transfer as well.  

Students should not generally be enrolled in a full-time study term during the Spring term. Contact the Associate Dean, Co-op, with any questions.  

Additional information

Interested students should read the following: