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Co-operative Education Programs


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What is CO-OP education?

CO-OP education lets you build on your classroom learning through paid work terms directly related to your area of studies. This of course gives you valuable hands-on experience in your field of studies while you complete your honours with specialization (four-year) degree.

How does university-level CO-OP differ from high-school CO-OP?

University CO-OP differs in that you:

  • alternate between study sessions and full-time, four-month work terms;
  • receive a salary during your work term;
  • work in an area directly related to your studies;
  • submit a written report at the end of each work term.

How does CO-OP work?

CO-OP, at the University of Ottawa, is offered in four-year undergraduate programs (honours with specialization, double major or major with minor) and in some master's programs. In most cases at the undergraduate level, you are officially admitted into CO-OP during the second year of your four-year degree, and you usually do your first work term in the summer after that second year. You then alternate between work terms and study sessions until the end of your studies. Please refer to the "Programs Offered" section in our "Prospective Students" menu on our Web site for additional information on admission and sequences for your specific field of study.

Who helps me find work?

The CO-OP Office provides you with work-term opportunities both through job postings and through an on-campus interview period. Although we can't guarantee you a job, we have experts in each area who search for career-related placements. We also offer workshops that help prepare you for each stage of the placement and recruitment process.

Can I find my own placement for the work term?

Yes, but the job description needs to be approved by the CO-OP Office. Employers also have to confirm in writing that they wish to hire you. To qualify, your work term must be paid, be related to your program of study, and involve 16 weeks of full-time work.

Can I work abroad?

We don't have a formal program for foreign placements, but we do offer a limited number of work terms abroad. That said, most out-of-country placements are found by the students themselves. Be aware that the exercise requires a lot of planning.

How many work terms must I complete?

Most programs require that you complete four work terms (except for accounting, translation, civil law and graduate-level programs).

How long do the work terms last?

They usually last 16 weeks (four months) but we accept work terms as short as 13 weeks in exceptional cases.

How much can I expect to be paid per week while completing a work term?

Pay depends on the number of work terms you've done and your program of study. Salaries usually vary between $400 and $700 a week.

Does it cost anything to be in CO-OP and, if so, how much?

Yes, an academic fee does apply. It is set each spring by the Registrar's Office.

CO-OP fees
As a CO-OP student, you pay CO-OP fees starting with the session before your first work term and then for every work term after, up to and including your last one. For the 2014-2015 academic year, the fee is $670.

What are my CO-OP fees used for?

CO-OP fees entitle a CO-OP student to participate in the program and, thus, qualify for services provided by the CO-OP Office. This fee also covers registration in CO-OP work-term courses.

Why should I choose CO-OP?

The benefits are truly hard to overlook. For instance, in CO-OP, you

  • acquire practical experience related to your field of study;
  • earn income during your studies (the starting salary of a CO-OP student is higher than average)
  • build your network of contacts;
  • acquire hands-on knowledge and skills you can then apply in your classes;
  • learn about resumé building, job-search techniques, and interview skills through group or individual training and coaching;
  • gain an advantage on the job market over students in the regular program; and, thus,
  • are able to find full-time work more easily after graduating.

Why should I choose University of Ottawa CO-OP?

  • Our program has run for over 30 years and is therefore well established and solidly designed.
  • Our program ranks among the top five in the country.
  • We offer more than 70 programs in the CO-OP stream.
  • We maintain regular contacts with more than 4000 active private- and public-sector employers (in town and out) throughout the year, so our placement rate is 98%.

What areas of the work market offer placements in my program?

Jobs are available in different sectors of the economy, including private businesses, federal and municipal governments, educational institutions, crown corporations, high-tech employers, etc. For a list of potential employers, check under each program on this site.

What are my chances of finding a full-time job after CO-OP?

They're excellent. More than half of our students land a job even before completing their studies! And after graduation, most CO-OP students say it's easier to find a full-time job because of the skills and experience they've acquired.

How many students are admitted into CO-OP every year?

Roughly 1000 students enter CO-OP each year.

Can I withdraw from CO-OP at any time?

There are deadlines for withdrawing from CO-OP. Once you've registered for a particular placement process (interviews, etc.), you cannot withdraw before completing the work term. This rule ensures that we honour the commitments we have towards our employers, without whom CO-OP simply could not exist.

What are the admission criteria?

Admission is based on your average and on program course requirements. For most programs, you need a minimum cumulative average of 70% (75% for graduate programs) to be admitted, and you need to have completed a certain number of compulsory courses. Still, check under the specific programs on our website to get the full picture.

I already have a reserved place in CO-OP. Do I need to re-apply once I'm at University?

No, you do not need to re-apply, but make sure to contact the CO-OP Office as soon as you arrive on campus.

How do I keep my reserved place in CO-OP?

You need to maintain an 80% average (8.0) in your first year and remain in good academic standing (based on your program requirements).

When can I apply for CO-OP?

  • September 30 in first year for graduate-level programs.
  • September 30 in second year for most programs.
  • March 1 in second year for accounting, physics, biopharmaceutical, and biomedical science.
  • September 30 in third year for chemistry, translation, and biotechnology.

When do I complete my first work term?

In most programs, the first work term takes place in the summer after your second year, but exact start dates vary from one program to the next. Programs for which you apply by September 30 of your second year usually require you to complete your first work term in the summer following your second year.

Programs for which you apply by March 1 usually require you to start your first work term either in the fall or in the winter of your third year.

Graduate programs for which you apply by September 30 of your first year usually require you to start your first work term in the summer following your first year.

Does this program delay my graduation date?

In regular programs you normally graduate in the spring of your fourth year; in CO -OP, your graduation date is eight months later. In a CO-OP program, you complete your degree requirements in December of your fifth year.

Which programs offer a CO-OP option?

In 2008-2009, more than 60 CO-OP programs are being offered at both the master's and undergraduate levels (four-year programs) and in the following faculties: Arts, Engineering, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Law, Science, Social Sciences, and Telfer School of Management.

Do my CO-OP work-term credits count towards the credits I earn for my degree?

The CO-OP work-term credits apply strictly to the requirements you need to obtain the CO-OP certification on your degree. They do not replace other academic credits required for non-CO-OP programs.

Do CO-OP work-term credits affect my overall CGPA?

These credits are graded as pass or fail and affect your CGPA only if you fail your work term. Remember that your assessment for work terms is based both on the employer's evaluation of your work and on your faculty's grading of your work-term report.

If I am planning to choose the CO-OP option, who do I see for questions about my classes?

If you have questions about your course timetable or mandatory classes that must be completed before participating in CO-OP, talk to your program's academic assistant.

What if I am considering attending medical school?

It's possible to attend medical school after doing CO-OP, but keep in mind that CO-OP does delay your graduation. In addition, some medical schools require continuous studies, whereas students in CO-OP often alternate between work terms and study terms; so make sure to check the admission requirements of each medical school you plan on applying to.

What if I want to attend graduate school?

It's possible to go to graduate school after doing CO-OP, but keep in mind that CO-OP does delay your graduation, so you may not always be able to begin your graduate studies the following fall session. That said, some graduate programs require work experience, which you acquire in CO-OP, along with many contacts.

Can I take part in CO-OP with my second university degree or if I already have university credits?

It depends on how many credits you are granted and on your ability to follow the CO-OP work-study sequence of your program. In addition to having the required average, you must normally have completed a certain number of compulsory program courses before starting a work term, yet have enough courses left in your program to remain a full-time student in all study sessions of the CO-OP work-study sequence.

What happens if I decide to change programs before I am officially admitted to CO-OP?

Usually, if the change of program is within the same faculty, it doesn't cause too many complications; however, if the change is between different faculties, it can delay your first work term. If you decide to change programs, make sure you check the compulsory courses and the admission requirements of your new program.

Where can I get more information on CO-OP programs?

By consulting various sections of this site or by calling our office at 613 562-5741.

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Last Updated: 8/20/2014