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Public Administration (MPA) Co-op

Jane Harley Public Administration

Public Administration student Jane Harley outside the UN in New York.


Put your learning in motion.

Public Admin Co-opAs an on-campus Master of Public Administration student, you’re automatically enrolled in the co-op program. You’ll complete two to three co-op work terms that will help you understand the culture, processes and issues of the public and not-for-profit sectors.

Wondering what it's like to be a co-op student? Check out our student stories!

Contact: 250-721-8061, spacoop@uvic.ca
Office: Human and Social Development A302 (map)
Unit: School of Public Administration


The co-op process

The co-op process

Once you’re accepted into a co-op program:

  1. Download and sign the Terms and Conditions form and submit it to your co-op office.
  2. Attend a co-op seminar where you will learn about career prospects, learning objectives, résumé and cover letter preparation, job development and more.
  3. Discuss your job search goals with your coordinator and prepare to apply for jobs.
  4. Apply for jobs by submitting your cover letter, résumé and transcript.
  5. If you’re shortlisted by an employer, you’ll be interviewed.
  6. If you’re the successful candidate, you’ll receive a formal job offer from the employer via your coordinator. In most cases, you’ll have 24 hours to accept or decline.
  7. Within two weeks of the start of your work term, sign in to Learning in Motion and go to the "co-op module." Click on "My competency development" and create a record for your work term. You'll see a tab called "Learning Objectives" - work with your supervisor to identify 3 to 5 competencies that you'd like to complete during your work term. Describe your goals on the learning objectives form (part 1 of the Competency Assessment). Check out the Description of the 10 core competencies and the competency kit for tips.
  8. Normally, your co-op coordinator will visit you and your employer at your workplace halfway through the work term. You’ll have the chance to discuss how your work term is going. A week before your work site visit, you'll receive an email reminding you to sign in to Learning in Motion to complete the mid-term assessment form (part 2 of the Competency Assessment). Your supervisor will receive a copy of your form once you've submitted it online; he or she will then complete the supervisor portion. Check out the Description of the 10 core competencies and the competency kit for tips.
  9. At the end of your work term, you'll receive an email reminding you to sign in to Learning in Motion to complete the final assessment form (part 3 of the Competency Assessment). Your supervisor will receive a copy of your form once you've submitted it online; he or she will then complete the supervisor portion. Check out the Description of the 10 core competencies and the competency kit for tips.
  10. At the end of your work term, you'll complete a work term submission, which usually includes writing a work term report, and may include an oral presentation and a debriefing session.
  11. If you successfully complete the co-op program, you’ll earn a co-op designation on your degree. Ask your coordinator for specific requirements.

There are no guarantees you’ll secure a co-op placement every time you look. To improve your chances, cast a wide net—apply to a wide range of jobs with different employers in various locations. The more you put in, the more you’ll gain from your co-op experience!

Co-op schedule

Co-op work terms are scheduled like academic terms. Public administration master’s students will complete two work terms with the possibility of a third. A typical schedule looks like this:

Year 1 Fall Academic term
Spring Work term
Summer Academic term
Year 2 Fall Work term
Spring Master's Project/Thesis or work term 3
Summer Master's Project/Thesis or work term 3

Academic credit

Undergraduate students earn 4.5 units of credit for each co-op work term completed. Graduate students earn 3.0 units. These credits won’t replace the credits you need to complete your academic program—they’ll go towards the co-op designation you’ll receive on your degree.

These credits give you full-time student status during your work term, so you’ll have access to services like the UVic bus pass and health care coverage.

Degree length

Co-op will usually increase the length of your degree by about a year. In that time, you'll gain 12 months of relevant work experience that will put you ahead—co-op grads usually find permanent employment faster, are promoted sooner and earn higher salaries than non-co-op grads.

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