- Academically, co-op and regular are the same
- The regular system provides continuity
- Co-op provides on-the-job-experience
- Getting your first job
- Co-op-only programs
- Apply to co-op on the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC) form
- If you apply to co-op but are not admitted
- Professional Development Courses in the Faculty of Mathematics
- Study/work-term sequences chart for co-op and regular students
- Co-op employment rate averages
- Average co-op earnings
Most programs in Waterloo's Faculty of Mathematics are offered in both the co-op and regular systems of study. Academically, co-op and regular are the same–that is, students from both systems take their courses together and follow the same academic programs. The only difference is that co-op students take a break from their studies every four months to go on four-month work terms, in jobs located primarily in Ontario, with a smaller selection found across Canada and abroad.
The regular system of education, the more traditional approach than the co-op system, is a desirable option for a significant portion of our students. The regular system involves eight months of study from September through April. The academic year (two four-month school terms) is then followed by a four-month break during which students normally work.
Students choose the regular system over co-op because a regular degree takes less time to complete than a co-op degree does. With fewer breaks from school than co-op, a regular program degree takes only three-two/third years to complete. Some students are in the fortunate position of having good job contacts before coming to university and don't need the co-op system for employment experience or future contacts. And others just don't like the idea of moving every four months, preferring the continuity that the regular system provides (for friendships, sports, part-time jobs, etc.). And you can bet these students also appreciate the opportunity to return home for the summer months if they so desire.
With opportunities to connect classroom theory with actual applications in a wide range of employment settings, co-op is attractive to a large percentage of mathematical and computer science students. During your co-op work terms, you undertake a variety of job responsibilities, pick up new work-related skills, and earn competitive salaries, depending on the job level and your experience. While co-op takes one year longer to complete than a more traditional program – for a total of four-two/third years – you gain up to two years of valuable work experience and make important career contacts.
The Department of Co-operative Education & Career Action (CECA) will work with you to find co-op jobs. Consistently, between 95 and 100 percent of mathematical and computer science students find co-op employment. For examples of the kinds of co-op jobs that Faculty of Mathematics students obtain, visit the undergraduate programs page and follow the links to the programs you're interested in.
In first year, co-op students participate in a number of workshops designed to help you create a winning résumé, hone your interview skills, and understand the co-op process. You apply to jobs you're interested in by either searching the various job boards located on campus, or using the electronic database, ACCESS, and dropping your résumés off in the Co-op department. This application process generally lasts two-three weeks and is followed by the interview phase. During this period of time, employers come to campus to spend 20-30 minutes with students they've selected to interview. Employers then rank the students they've interviewed and students rank the jobs for which they were interviewed. Following a computer-aided optimization process, students and employers are matched.
The following programs in the Faculty of Mathematics are co-op only:
- Business Administration (Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU)) and Computer Science (UWaterloo) Double Degree
- Business Administration (WLU) and Mathematics (UWaterloo) Double Degree
- Computing and Financial Management
- Mathematics/Chartered Professional Accountancy
- Pure Mathematics/Teaching
- Software Engineering
You select your system of study — co-op or regular — when you apply. If you're applying to the co-op system of study, you must check the co-op box on the OUAC application form. If you're considering co-op, keep in mind that your chance for admission to co-op is higher if you apply when you're entering your first year (on the OUAC application form) rather than applying during your first year.
International students on student visas may also apply for admission to co-op programs. Please note that space in co-op programs is limited.
If you apply to co-op but are not admitted, you'll automatically be considered for the regular system of study. You don't have to use more than one spot on your application form.
While on your work terms, as part of your degree requirement, you'll complete a series of professional development courses to enrich your experience and to enable you to become a more effective employee. These self-directed courses will help you to expand your skills and knowledge in areas such as project management, critical analysis, problem solving, conflict resolution, and communications, using everyday situations from your work-term environment. These courses will be completed online during your work term, and you'll receive academic credit for these courses.
The study/work term sequences is outlined on the Undergraduate Studies Academic Calendar website.
The Faculty of Mathematics students enjoy high co-op employment rates: between 95 and 100 percent of the students find employment each term.
Co-op students in the Faculty of Mathematics earn competitive salaries. Information on co-op earnings, and a breakdown of hourly and weekly salaries are available from the Co-operative Education website. These earnings play a significant role in covering degree program costs.