Work Term

Work Terms

Work terms can be four, eight, twelve or sixteen months in duration, beginning in September, January or May. Planning and preparation for a co-op work term can take up to six months, so remember to apply early! Opportunities exist with educational institutions, small businesses, industry, not-for-profit organizations, and all branches of government (local, provincial and federal). In addition to active and successful engagement on the job, critical reflection assignments are also completed in cooperation with your employer.

All co-op work terms are graded on a pass/fail basis.

While on a work term, you maintain full-time student status with regard to:

  • Financial loans and scholarships
  • Students’ Union Health & Dental Plan
  • Registration privileges

A work term is a four-month period of full-time paid employment in a position relating to an area within a major. Each work term is treated as a non-credited, non-academic course graded on a pass/fail basis. When enrolled in a work term, you maintain full-time student status by enrolling in one of the following courses: Work Experience I Work Experience II, Work Experience III, Work Experience IV, Work Experience V or Work Experience VI. A co-op work term position ensures a meaningful experience that complements your education and broadens your skills. The primary objective is to provide you with a planned, supervised work experience that will enhance your academic learning and enhance employment marketability upon graduation.

You may apply to the Co-op Office to receive transfer credit for one (1) co-operative education course completed in an approved co-op program at another Canadian post-secondary institution. Transfer credit for a previous Co-op must be approved by the Co-operative Education Director at the time of application to the program.

Co-op Work Terms are registered through the Co-op Office. Contact us to register your work term and for more information about your Co-op work term.

It is a general convention of co-operative education that salaries paid to Co-op students vary by type of assignment, economic sector and sub-sector, geographical location, how many courses the student has completed towards his/her degree and whether or not the student has completed previous co-operative education work terms. Students in 2017 earned between $2400 and $5400 per month. However, it is the experience, not the wage, which ultimately provides for a successful Co-op term.

There are three work term periods: fall (Sept.-Dec.), spring (Jan.-April), and summer (May-Aug.). Hiring for these generally takes place one to four months in advance. The spring (Jan.-April) recruiting cycle is for work terms starting in May, the summer (May-Aug.) recruiting cycle is for work terms starting in September, and the fall (Sept.-Dec.) recruiting cycle is for work terms starting in January.

A period of employment may be 4, 8, 12, or in rare cases, 16 months in duration. Usually, periods of employment alternate with academic semesters, but this may not be the case when an employer prefers to link several work terms into a single extended period of employment. Many employers prefer 8-month periods of employment (two back-to-back 4-month work terms). This preference for 8-month terms is because of a greater return on investment for the employer and more advanced learning for the student.

A full-time job can be used as Co-op provided it is related to your degree and will provide learning opportunities. A Co-op Coordinator will make this determination. Contact us if you would like to use an upcoming or current full time job as a Co-op work term. This type of Co-op is called self-initiated Co-op.

The advantages of doing a Self Initiated Co-op include, but are not limited to:

  • Completing your first work term. Subsequent work terms often pay more, and are easier to secure once the first one is completed.
  • First step toward getting your Co-operative Education Designation on your degree
  • Personalized job search assistance. If you have special requests for specific locations and/or companies one of our Coordinators will work with you and provide you with assistance, tools and support.

Yes, If your Co-op position is in Lethbridge or Calgary you can take one course in addition to Co-op. However, you must get special permission from the Co-op Coordinator and your work supervisor to register in more than one class in addition to Co-op. Some positions require out-of-town travel, training or overtime which would make attendance at courses difficult.

You should contact your Academic Advising office to ensure the course fits into your program and that you will receive transfer credit. You may be required to complete a Visiting Student Authorization form.

Yes! Watch the Co-op job board for these opportunities or contact us for more information.