Co-op requirements

Co‑op is available to students in all areas of concentration. Employment opportunities in public, private, and non-profit organizations range from research and planning positions to public relations and organizational functions such as staffing, training, and supervisory activities. Students will be paid a salary by their employers.

Students are encouraged to attend any Graduate Co-op Information Sessions that may occur during Orientation, or throughout the Fall and Winter terms. For more information, please familiarize yourself with the following campus partner websites:


The Co-op Application Form (Word) is due to the Graduate Coordinator by the third Friday of September. The Graduate Committee will make application decisions in late October; students will be notified via email if their application has been accepted or declined.

Students admitted to the co-op option must also submit a Change of Program form to the Graduate Coordinator by the end of Fall term.

Requirements and degree progression

Students must maintain an 80% overall average in all academic terms prior to their work-term(s) in order to be eligible for the co-op option. If a student’s average drops below 80%, they will no longer be eligible to proceed with the co-op option and will be asked to switch back to either the MRP or Thesis regular option.

Please note, international students interested in co-op must have a valid work visa. Students are encourage to consult with an Immigration Consultant in the Student Success Office for further information.

All students in the co-op program will complete one or two 4-month work-terms following the completion of their course work requirements in their first two terms. After the work-term(s), students will return for one more academic term to finish their MRP/Thesis. Students cannot end their degree on a work-term. A final academic term must be completed on campus in order to be eligible for graduation.

Typically, degree progression in the co-op program looks like this:

  • Term one: coursework
  • Term two: coursework
  • Term three: 4-month work-term placement (May-August)
  • Term four: final academic term to complete MRP/Thesis, or additional 4-month work-term placement (September-December)
  • Term five: final academic term if a second work-term placement was completed

Students are considered part-time while on a work-term and are charged a co-op fee for the semester. Regular part-time tuition is not charged unless a student is enrolled in courses during their work-term.

All junior (undergraduate) and senior (graduate) jobs posted to WaterlooWorks are advertised, recruited for, and interviewed together. It is important that students in the co-op option review and are up-to-date on CEE’s Important Dates Calendar in order to ensure they are not missing job posting and application deadlines. The majority of interviews for Spring co-op positions will take place in February and March. The majority of interviews for Fall co-op positions will take place in June and July.

Work-term Report

Each co-op student is required to write a 10-12 page work-term report investigating an aspect of the co-op experience from an academic perspective.

The final report is due one month after the completion of the work term and is submitted to the Graduate Chair for evaluation.

If you would like a printable copy of the work-term report guidelines, you can access that here Political Science Work-Term Report Guidelines (PDF).