With the exception of PD12 (which must be completed by the end of the first work term), students are responsible for submitting 3 additional distinct reports. ARBUS and Honours Arts Co-op students majoring in SDS (first major) must submit their co-op reports to the SDS department. 

Report topics must be approved by the SDS department one month prior to the end of your work term.  To obtain topic approval, please email Lyndsay Masters (see bottom of this page for examples).

NOTE: Work reports are expected to be fully integrated into specific PD courses within the next few years. Keep an eye on this page for updates.

For more general information on co-op, visit Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE).


The work report must include all components outlined by the Faculty of Arts in this Work Report Guideline, including:

  • front cover page
  • title page (include a title, your name, ID number, University of Waterloo, your faculty, semester of employment, work report number, and name of the company or organization that employed you).
  • letter of submittal addressed to the Chair of SDS (mandatory) - currently Denise Marigold
  • table of contents
  • list of figures and tables (if applicable)
  • summary of your role
  • report: introduction, body, conclusion and recommendations
  • reference list/citations

Optional components include a glossary and an appendix, depending on the nature of your report and analysis. Details and formatting instructions are available in the manual linked-to above. The introduction, body, and conclusion of the report must be tailored specifically for the SDS program, and thus might be slightly different than the examples listed in the Co-op Manual.



Prepare a maximum one-page summary containing a description of the job, your role, and how your work complemented or supplemented the work of others. Also, include a statement at the bottom of the page indicating whether or not you consent to your report being maintained in a work report archive that will be made available as a resource to future SDS co-op students if needed.


Briefly identify what the body of the report will cover. It could also reference how the role you had inspired the current topic. 


The main report should be a critical analysis, approximately 1,500 – 2,000 words in length, of one aspect of your job that can be related to an SDS theme. As part of this analysis it's encouraged to reference outside sources of information to support any concepts/ideas, strengthen a certain argument, etc. Assume the reader has no background in SDS and is learning all about your topic for the first time.

You might analyze a particular project, an ongoing process, or a continuing duty of your position. The method of analysis is up to you, but it should demonstrate techniques and skills you have developed as an SDS student. Any aspect of your job you found particularly interesting (positively or negatively), and that suits such an analysis, can be an appropriate as a topic for the work report.

Social Development Studies applies an interdisciplinary approach to address the human condition in relation to social issues in local, national, and global contexts. Any work situation can be analyzed through an SDS lens! Try to be as clear and direct as possible. Define your terms. 

Note: materials produced on the job are not acceptable as work reports. You may, however, include such materials in your analysis or in an appendix.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Summarize what you have learned from this project and experience. Suggest possible further research that might be useful to you as you apply what you learned to other work situations. 


Include citations to sources you have used in preparing your report, including all articles, books, web sites, and other materials used. Organize alphabetically by author’s last names, also providing year of publication, title, and any other pertinent information. Citations can be in any style as long as they are consistent, though APA is recommended.

If you have any questions about the work report format, content or submission process, please contact Lyndsay Masters

Submission deadlines

Students must submit co-op work-term reports by no later than the tenth day of classes in the academic term following the co-op work term for which the work report was prepared. For example:

  • if you are on work-term during the Fall, you must submit by the tenth day of classes in Winter term.
  • if you are on work-term during the Winter, you must submit by the tenth day of classes in Spring term.
  • if you are on work-term during the Spring, you have until the tenth day of classes in Fall term. 

Due dates for 2020/2021 work terms:

FALL 2020 - Friday January 22nd, 2021 by 4:30pm (extended)

WINTER 2021 - Friday May 21st, 2020 by 4:30pm (extended)

SPRING 2021 - Friday September 17th, 2021 by 4:30pm

Topic examples

  • social and environmental dilemmas faced by your employer;
  • social movement campaigns in support or opposed to the work of your employer;
  • the activities, services or programs offered by your employer and their impacts and limitations for clients and/or the broader community;
  • the form and effectiveness of its programs for diverse audiences;
  • internal work procedures and protocols, and their social or psychological impacts on workers;
  • issues of gender, race, class, sexuality, ability that emerge within your organization or as a result of the work that you do;
  • inter-office politics and policies, and how they compare to Canadian workplace recommendations/standards;
  • conflict resolution and communication styles within the workplace (pros/cons?);
  • the effects of political power on the organization, its employees, and/or its clients;
  • techniques of collaboration (individualism vs. collectivism within the workplace);
  • the study of bureaucracy, alienation, or other sociological concepts related to the workplace;
  • the benefits and challenges to different modalities of learning, taking into consideration sociocultural/SES factors;

By no means are you limited to the topics listed above! They are simply suggestions. However it is important to clear your topic with Lyndsay Masters at least 1-1.5 months before the end of your co-op term to ensure the effort you put into the report is valid. You are also welcome to discuss or seek guidance on your topic at any time.

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