Public Administration (MPA) Co-op
Put your learning in motion.
As 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!
- The co‑op process
- Find a co‑op work term
- During your work term
- After your work term
- Fees and funding
- Employers and jobs
- Résumé and cover letter tips
- Co‑op student stories
- Co‑op forms
The co-op process
The co-op process
Once you’re accepted into a co-op program:
- Download and sign the Terms and Conditions form and submit it to your co-op office.
- Attend a co-op seminar where you will learn about career prospects, learning objectives, résumé and cover letter preparation, job development and more.
- Discuss your job search goals with your coordinator and prepare to apply for jobs.
- Apply for jobs by submitting your cover letter, résumé and transcript.
- If you’re shortlisted by an employer, you’ll be interviewed.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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|
|Year 2||Fall||Work term|
|Spring||Master's Project/Thesis or work term 3|
|Summer||Master's Project/Thesis or work term 3|
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.
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.