What is a co-op sequence?

Your co-op sequence is the prescribed layout of your study and work terms. The different sequences have been designed to help ensure year-round employment success. We attribute some of our employment success (rates vary by academic year) to dividing our students into several co-op sequences. All co-op sequences begin with two academic terms (eight months of study) to allow you to build the academic foundation necessary to seek your first co-op job. Sequencing allows us to balance class sizes and manage the number of students seeking employment each term with the anticipated number of employment opportunities available. See the sequence charts for another view.

Your co-op academic/work term sequence depends on the plan to which you have been admitted.

We have placeholder courses, called Sequence (SEQ), to identify which sequence you wish to follow (SEQ 1-4). These SEQ courses will appear on your academic record in Quest but it is not an actual course.

We encourage students studying at Waterloo on a study permit to consider visa processing times when choosing a co-op sequence.  

Entry-level plans with prescribed sequences

  • Business Administration and Mathematics Double Degree and the Business Administration and Computer Science Double Degree plans have several unique co-op sequencing options available when you reach fourth-year, in part to ensure that the course offerings from Wilfrid Laurier University are available when you need them. Initially, you will be enrolled in sequence 5DD which provides you with five work terms. As you approach fourth-year, you will have the option to switch your sequence.
  • For Mathematics/Chartered Professional Accountancy (CPA) students, your unique co-op sequence ensures that your course offerings are available when you need them. You will automatically be enrolled into the correct sequence (6CA) which will be reflected on your course schedule in Quest.
  • For Computing and Financial Management (CFM) students, you will automatically be enrolled in sequence 1 which will be reflected on your course schedule in Quest.

Entry-level plans where you must choose your co-op sequence 1, 2, 3, 4 on a first-come, first-served basis 

  • If you have been admitted to Computer Science, Mathematics or Mathematics/Business Administration, you must choose one of the four entry-level sequences (SEQ 1, 2, 3, or 4).
  • If you have been admitted to Mathematics/Financial Analysis and Risk Management we recommend that you not enrol into sequence 3. Avoiding this sequence will assist in your upper year sequencing. If you do not enrol into your sequence in a timely manner and sequence 3 is the only sequence left, you can enrol in SEQ 3. It will just require you to make a sequence change in your upper years.

You'll choose your co-op sequence when you do your course selection. Your SEQ course will appear on your class schedule in Quest beginning July 29 (see the sequence charts for another view). If you do not select your SEQ course during course selection, you will have an opportunity to add an SEQ course between July 30 and August 31 (the most popular sequences will be full by this time). Failure to select a sequence by August 31 will mean that we will enrol you into a sequence starting September 1.

WT stands for work term.

Sequence 1

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
F W S F W S F W S F W S F W S
1A 1B WT1 2A WT2 2B WT3 3A WT4 3B WT5 4A WT6 4B  

Sequence 1 is the most common selection of the four entry-level co-op sequences; therefore, it fills up very quickly. Sequence 1 is more common in part because it is the more familiar pattern for high school students. However, competition for employment is strongest in the spring work term (May-August) so you should review the other sequences for features that might appeal to you.
 

This sequence is recommended for students planning to choose these plans in the future: 
  • Computer Science/Bioinformatics specialization
  • Mathematical Physics

Sequence 2

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
F W S F W S F W S F W S F W S
1A 1B WT1 2A 2B WT2 3A WT3 3B WT4 4A WT5 WT6 4B  

Sequence 2 provides you with earlier access to upper-year core mathematics courses and to build a stronger academic background before the more senior work terms. This sequence incorporates an extended eight-month work term that allows you to participate in longer work projects. Like sequence 1, competition for employment is strongest in the spring work term after first year.

Sequence 3

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
F W S F W S F W S F W S F W S
1A 1B Off 2A WT1 2B WT2 3A WT3 3B WT4 4A WT5 WT6 4B

Sequence 3 has the advantage of delaying your work terms until year two when you have more academic background available for prospective employers. The sequence also incorporates an extended eight-month work term allowing you to participate in longer work projects. The off term between the first and second year provides you with summer in your home environment and/or with your family.

This sequence is not recommended for students in this major or planning to choose it in 2A:
  • Financial Analysis and Risk Management (FARM)

Sequence 4

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
F W S F W S F W S F W S F W S
1A 1B 2A WT1 2B WT2 3A WT3 3B WT4 4A WT5 WT6 4B

Sequence 4 starts with 12 months of school for the purpose of scheduling the first work term in the fall when the student/employer ratio most favours students. Like sequence 3, sequence 4 has the advantage of delaying work terms until later in your plan when you have more academic background to offer prospective employers. The sequence also incorporates an extended eight-month work term that allows you to participate in longer work projects.

This sequence is recommended for students planning to choose this major in the future:
  • Computer Science/Digital Hardware specialization
This sequence is not recommended for choosing this major in the future:
  • Mathematical Physics

Plans that may require sequence changes in upper years

The entry-level sequences 1, 2, 3, 4, are designed to distribute students proportionally across the three terms of the year to balance the number of junior, intermediate, and senior students. Many students follow their entry-level sequence until graduation.

Sufficient flexibility exists to customize most sequences when there are compelling reasons. Any request to change your sequence must involve discussion with the math co-op advisor and your academic advisor for your plan. Please note that students in single degree Computer Science and Undeclared Mathematics do not need to discuss it with their academic advisor. Changing your sequence cannot normally be done until after your first work term.

Students are encouraged to look for opportunities for an eight-month work term if their sequence can accommodate it. 

Some academic plans that can only be declared in second year or above such as those in Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, Mathematical Finance, Mathematical Physics, Biostatistics and Mathematics/Teaching, may require a sequence change in your upper years to provide you with access to the courses prescribed by that plan. If you are interested in any of these 2A entry plans you would normally request changes to your sequence when you request admission to the plan.