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 CECA’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.

For work-term report requirements, please see the Political Science Work-Term Report Guidelines (PDF).