Not sure where to start? Read our frequently asked questions and hire a CO-OP student!
What is CO-OP?
Co-operative education is a three-way partnership between the university, students and employers. Students apply their classroom knowledge in a series of four-month work experiences. You, the employer, enhance a student’s education, while reaping the unique benefits of CO-OP employees.
Only top students gain admission to the University of Ottawa CO-OP programs. In general, students begin their first work term after completing at least two years of studies, so they come to you well-prepared and ready to produce. Work terms generally last at least 15 weeks and alternate with four-month academic sessions.
CO-OP is an optional program, and students are admitted based on academic achievement. They are monitored throughout their academic sessions and work terms, ensuring you get the best possible performance.
Year-round access to well-motivated, qualified employees from 77 undergraduate programs and 8 masters programs
Access to potential full-time staff in a controlled environment, reducing your costs and risks
Access to a cost-effective source of temporary employees for peak periods or special projects
A say in what students learn by working with the university
Promotion of your organization as one that believes in developing the potential of young people
Access to a great pool of French-speaking, English-speaking and bilingual students
Progressive skill acquisition
Block placement (alternating with academic program)
Structured work-study sequence must end with academic session
For undergraduates, usually takes place after at least four academic terms and, for master's students, after two.
Work terms are typically one session (4 months), but may be consecutive
3-5 work terms required for CO-OP designation at the undergraduate level and 2 at the masters level
Students must meet the national co-op standards, including a mid-term evaluation, a final evaluation and a final work term report.
Career exploration and development
Single block placement at end of program (capstone) or alternating with academic program
Defined number of hours per term (concurrent)
Usually occurs toward end of program
Typically long (12-16 months) but may be shorter in length
Students are available year-round. We have over 3,000 students to place over our three work terms: Fall (September to December), Winter (January to April) and Summer (May to August). Summer is when we have the largest number of students looking for a placement (over 1,500).
Most work terms run at least 15 weeks, or four months. They can be no shorter than 13 weeks. Some master’s students, as well as some science and engineering students, are available for 8 or 12 months’ work terms.
CO-OP is offered in 75 disciplines, covering a variety of studies. From the list of disciplines with CO-OP programs, click on a program name to learn about the type of work students can do and the work-study sequence for the program.
All jobs are reviewed by a CO-OP Program Coordinator, and only those providing students with work experience related to their professional development are approved. Administrative activities involved in a job should be less than 10% of the entire workload. For an idea of relevant student job activities, visit our website program page and click on an individual program of study.
In accordance with the collective agreement between the University of Ottawa and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2626, campus employers may hire students through CO-OP to work as research assistants.
Yes, it is available in 8 masters programs. Visit our website program page to see which disciplines offer CO-OP.
For most programs at the bachelor’s level, students require at least a 6.0 CGPA (70-74%). At the master’s level, students generally require a 7.0 (75%) to be admitted.
When you first contact the CO-OP Office, you are assigned one of our CO-OP Program Coordinators, depending on your discipline of interest. This person is your main contact in our office. As you move through the recruitment process, you also work with a representative from CO-OP Administrative Services, who assists with job posting and interview scheduling.
Roles and Responsibilities
Meeting with the student early on to discuss expectations and learning objectives.
Training, mentoring and supporting the student to ensure success.
Meeting with the student regularly to analyze performance and offer advice.
Submitting a final evaluation of the student's work, measured against his or her objectives.
Completing the required CO-OP program workshops.
Setting preliminary work-term objectives.
Booking a meeting with the supervisor to articulate learning objectives and ensure understanding of employer expectations.
Continually reviewing, fine tuning and improving work performance.
Meeting regularly with the supervisor to analyze performance and seek advice. Reviewing progress with the CO-OP Program Coordinator if required.
Reflecting on the work term experience: What has been learned? How can the experience be applied?
Developing a work term report and submitting it to the academic coordinator upon completion of the work term.
Training students to set clear and detailed work term objectives.
Answering student and employer questions.
Conducting follow-up with students and employers after the mid-term evaluation.
While our registered contacts receive emails before each work term, the dates below should be noted:
Date students begin applying for Round 1 jobs
Deadline to post jobs in Round 1 (about 3 months before each work term)
Window period to review resumés
Deadline to schedule Round 1 interviews
Deadline to submit employer rankings
Announcement of Round 1 matching results
Beginning of Round 2 — the day after the announcement of the Round 1 matching results
The recruitment process begins roughly three and a half months before each work term. For example, if you are looking to hire a student for the Winter session (January through April), you post your job in mid-September and conduct interviews in early October. For more information, consult the calendar of our three recruitment periods.
There is no guarantee you will be matched with a student, or even receive applications. Application levels vary depending on the candidate pool you wish to recruit from and on the jobs available to students at that time.
If you are recruiting a student in a discipline that is in high demand, try and sell your job as much as possible. Be sure to include any perks that come with the job (e.g. gym access, lunch & learn, central location). For additional suggestions, contact your CO-OP Program Coordinator.
Jobs are only posted for 47 hours because of the volume of jobs we receive. Students are very good at checking jobs daily, so chances are your job will be seen by most before it expires. However, you may request for to have it posted for longer than 47 hours if necessary.
We can’t stop students from applying for jobs. Jobs are labelled by relevant discipline and students can filter jobs by this criterion. Students in unrelated disciplines occasionally qualify for jobs outside their program, as they may have acquired the necessary knowledge through course electives, work experience or even a previous degree.
The candidate pools for our Summer, Fall and Winter work terms vary. For example, Summer candidates (our largest pool) consist mostly of students on their first and last work terms, and Winter candidates consist mainly of mid-level students.
Our system is not set up to allow students to customize their resumés or create cover letters. In fact, many employers appreciate the standardized templates, as they make it easier to compare resumés. If you would like something more than a resumé, include an email address in your job description and request that students send cover letters by email.
There are two rounds of placement for each work term. A majority of students begin in Round 1. Those not matched with an employer in Round 1 move on to Round 2.
Tight structure: timelines for job postings, interview requests and rankings
Rankings: submitted by employers and students; determine job matches
On-campus interviews (or interviews by Skype or telephone): to allow students to manage class and exam schedules
Ad hoc: jobs and interviews accepted until last student is matched (students tend to be matched early so post your job and interview early)
No rankings: students must accept their first offer (unless they receive multiple offers within a 24-hour period)
Interviews on campus or at employer site
You are under no obligation to schedule interviews or hire students you interview. However, if you assign a numerical ranking to a student after interviews, this is considered a job offer. That said, we’re convinced our CO-OP pool will provide you with outstanding candidates.
Yes, for our first round of interviews. However for our second round, interviews can be held on campus or at your office, whichever is best for you.
Yes. While many students prefer to work in Ottawa, some are willing to relocate for the right position. We are fully equipped to conduct interviews via telephone or Skype.
Interviews are typically 30 minutes.
As most of our interview rooms are not very large, we ask that you limit the number of interviewers to two.
To avoid double-booking, we must ensure that all interviews are in our system. Employers are also prohibited from contacting students before they are matched due to the privacy legislation.
Currently we do not require students to provide feedback after their interviews. If you would like insight on the impression students had of your organization, please contact your CO-OP Program Coordinator.
Some employers ask students to complete forms on interview day. If this is not possible, the process should begin as soon as a student is matched to a job. Delays in the security process can significantly push back a student’s start date, which can seriously affect the student financially.
Our key dates calendar provides suggested start and end dates for student work terms. However, when preparing your letter of offer, you can discuss alternative dates with your student.
Most students rotate between four-month work terms and academic sessions. You may ask the student to work part time during his or her academic session (the CO-OP Office would not be involved in this). You can also have the student return for another four-month work term after his or her academic session, provided you can offer the student new challenges.
Ensure you communicate early on with your student if you are not satisfied with his or her performance and develop an action plan to improve the situation. If you have done this and the situation has not improved, please inform your CO-OP Program Coordinator, who can serve as a mediator.
Students are not permitted to take leave during placements, other than a few days under exceptional circumstances. Leave for vacations is not permitted. If the student requires emergency or health-related leave, he or she should advise the CO‑OP Office.