Students participating in co-operative education (co-op) gain experience in workplace settings. Students are paid for their work and their experience is often related to their program of study. The timing of the experience can vary depending on the program: students in some co-op programs alternate between academic terms and paid work terms, while others complete co-op internships consisting of several work terms back-to-back.
The number of required work terms can also vary by program; however, the time spent in work terms must be at least 30% of the time spent in academic study for programs over two years in length, and 25% of the time spent in academic study for program two years and under.
Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) established criteria and a process for the accreditation of co-op programs in 1979. These standards were developed to establish co-op as an educational strategy and to provide leadership in ensuring the quality of co-op programming. Maintaining accreditation criteria helps build quality into existing co-op programs and provides a benchmark for the establishment of new programs. To learn more about the accreditation process and its benefits, visit the CEWIL website.
Co-operative education program profiles
Students across ten programs prepare for their work terms with a ten-hour workshop series and reflect on their experience with a work term report and presentation to faculty.
Students across 12 Engineering and IT programs write their own learning objective plans, complete self-evaluations alongside their employer evaluations and write reflective work reports at the end of the term.
Students across all six faculties participate in a competitive recruitment process, complete online professional development courses, write work term reports and receive evaluations from their employers.
- Anderson, E., Johnston, N., Iles, L., McRae, N., Reed, N., & Walchli, J. (2012). Co-operative education and student recruitment, engagement and success: Early findings from a multi-institutional study in British Columbia. The Journal of Cooperative Education and Internships, 46(1), 58-76.
- McRae, N. (2015). Exploring conditions for transformative learning in work-integrated education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 16(2), 137-144.
- Drewery, D., Nevison, C., Pretti, T. J., Cormier, L., Barclay, S., & Pennaforte, A. (2016). Examining the influence of selected factors on perceived co-op work-term quality from a student perspective. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 17(3), 265-277.
You can view more relevant literature on co-operative education by visiting the WIL research portal.