SAF students train hard and fast for the business world. Being in a co-op only program means that you'll test-drive your professional qualities by integrating your knowledge and skills in four (AFM, Biotech/CPA, Math/CPA) to 6 (CFM) paid co-op work terms.
Coursework and case studies give you the knowledge to perform in business. The experience you get in the workplace makes a critical difference. The entrepreneurial, communication, and real-world problem-solving skills you gain accelerate your professional development and make you eminently more employable. As you hone your skills, you're discovering your interests and passions. Altogether, you'll have an amazing competitive advantage.
Learn more about SAF's Student and Graduate Employment successes.
AFM, Biotech/CPA, Math/CPA: Work in financial management roles in major corporations, start-ups, public agencies and not-for-profit organizations; student accountants in public accounting firms and a variety of roles in financial services.
CFM: Work in financial management and computer science roles in major corporations and professional services firms (including financial services), start-ups, public agencies and not-for-profit organizations.
Co-op is a mandatory benefit of the SAF programs. All students enrolled in a SAF program are enrolled in a co-op program. Co-op is defined here by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education. Learn more about SAF's Student and Graduate Employment successes.
Academic/Work Sequencing Paths for AFM and Math CPA students:
- Successful completion of four work terms is required.*
- Students are expected to follow only prescribed academic/work-term sequencing paths through to graduation. Prescribed paths for each program can be found at:
- Students may not end their sequence with a work term. All students are assigned to Sequence 1 as their default sequence at admission.
- Requests to change sequence are considered individually before the second and/or third work terms. The ELCD team will notify you by email of the specific timing of when sequence change requests will be accepted.
- Sequence change requests must be accompanied by a completed Sequence Change Form.
* Students who have attempted, to the satisfaction of the School of Accounting and Finance, Co-operative Education and Career Action (CECA), and their Faculty's Examinations and Standings (E&S) Committee, to gain employment for all four available work terms, but are successful in so doing for only three work terms, will be considered for a co-op degree, provided they have received credit for all three of their work terms and the necessary professional development and work term reflections/reports, and they have successfully completed all academic graduation requirements.
Academic/Work Sequencing Paths for CFM and Science Biotech CPA students:
Sequencing paths for CFM and Science Biotech CPA students are fixed and can be found in the relevant undergraduate calendar for your year of entry:
Any questions about your sequence should be directed to your program advisor.
Professional Development (WatPD) Courses and Work Term Reflections/Reports
Professional development courses and work term reflections/reports requirements are specific to each faculty. Math CPA, CFM and Science Biotech CPA students should refer to the undergraduate calendar links above for your specific degree requirements and direct any questions to your program advisor. AFM degree requirements are described below.
AFM students admitted in Fall 2015 and thereafter:
Professional Development (WatPD) Courses
- AFM students are required to complete a minimum of four Professional Development (PD) courses. PD1 must be taken in the term prior to the first work term and PD12 (formerly PD2) must be taken during the first work term. A third PD course of the student’s choosing must be taken in the second work term, and a fourth in the third work term.
Work Term Reflections
- Students must complete three work term reflection assignments by specified due dates for the second, third and fourth work terms. A satisfactory grade for each assignment is required. A reflection is not required for the first work term as PD12 includes a major reflective assignment.
Potential Designation Information
Success as an accounting and financial management professional requires much more than technical skills. The School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) offers professional development activities that will help you focus on improving skills employers demand.
SAF hosts a number of professionally related events each year. Our goal is to help you successfully navigate opportunities. Common themes for these events include:
- Inspiring your industry awareness,
- Building your workplace skills,
- Enhancing your professional image,
- Charting your professional pathway
- Launching your career in accounting and finance
- Launch Your Career (LYC)
- A 1-day event geared towards preparing first-year SAF students for successful co-op experiences. Through an agenda of interactive activities and workshops, this professional development event will help you develop your professional image and networking skills and introduce you to the co-op recruitment process.
- Co-op Ready
- A 1-day event designed for SAF students entering their second year of undergraduate study. The aim of the event is to make you “co-op employer-ready”. Through an agenda of activities and events, Co-op Ready delivers an integrative, industry-focused professional development experience that will lead to success on the job.
Past professional development workshops have included:
- Professional Designation information sessions: CFA, CBV, and CPA
- Industry guest speakers on special topics in accounting and finance: bond rating, investment banking, portfolio management, and internal auditing
Past networking and relationship building events have included:
- Employer-student networking events featuring 6-12 employers: Opportunities in Financial Management
- Practice job interviews, with designated professionals
- Employer information sessions, which are on-campus recruiting events hosted by an employer looking to hire Waterloo students directly into their organization. These sessions are held by CECA.
Sample co-op jobs
These are all examples of co-op jobs that Accounting and Financial Management students have had the opportunity to apply to and be chosen for in the recent past.
Note: job postings are put forth by employers based entirely on their staffing needs. Hiring decisions are made exclusively by employers. The School of Accounting and Finance or the University does not “place” students into co-op jobs.
Students must apply to jobs on the University job posting system and be chosen to participate in the job application and candidate selection process administered by the University. Factors that contribute to students’ employability are the quality of his/her:
- tailored covering letter
- professional résumé
- telephone and face-to-face interviewing skills
- academic performance
- transferrable skills honed in previous employment and employment-like environments.
Junior students take on very junior co-op jobs. Senior students have the opportunity to apply to more senior co-op roles that may approximate the type of job he/she may be qualified for upon graduation. Co-op students do not manage people while on co-op. They are typically individual contributors to teams.
Learn more about SAF's Student and Graduate Employment successes.
View sample jobs below: