The Co-op Experience

The co-op system at the University of Waterloo is one-of-a-kind. It provides students with the technical background and professional working environment experience. All alumni have found the co-op program to be extremely helpful in finding jobs upon graduation. Graduates of the Systems Design Engineering program find that they have a significant advantage over engineering graduates from other, non-co-op programs. Not only does experience from the co-op program help graduates find employment, it also helps them determine where their interest lay; in the corporate business world, entrepreneurship or academic research. One alumnus describes the co-op aspect,

“Everyone I interviewed with [was] very impressed by the scope of my co-op experience. It was definitely beneficial, but especially to me. It allowed me to figure out what I did and did not want to do. I had no idea how boring some things I always wanted to do ended up being. I would have never guessed how fun other things would be. It prevented me from taking a permanent job I would end up hating."

-Gosia Garus, Class of 2002

The co-op program also provides opportunities for students to work in different cities all over the world; some students even choose to design their own co-op jobs in various cities.

There are many different areas and opportunities out there available for Systems Design Engineering students. This is due to the nature of the program being multi-disciplinary. Systems Design Engineering students can apply to many different companies and institutions that operate in many different fields. The examples provided below are only examples – there are many other types of jobs available, depending on your interests.

“…I think that I probably would not have benefited so much from the work-terms if it were not for the base education that SYS DES did provide me.”

-Fraser Fulford, Class of 1987

“…I worked for Alcatel Transport Automation developing rapid transit train control systems. I liked this one a lot, because I worked on the SkyTrain...[a main mode of transportation in Vancouver] so every time I see it go past, I feel proud that I contributed to something worthwhile.”

-David Demner, Class of 2001