What's required of you

In order to participate in co-op, you'll need to fulfill certain requirements.

Before your first co-op work term

Once you're accepted into the co-op program, but before you look for your first work term, you'll take a mandatory, one-time workplace preparation course called Introduction to Professional Practice.

Take the Introduction to Professional Practice course

As a co-op student, you must complete a workplace preparation course called Introduction to Professional Practice (IPP) before you start your first co-op work term. You'll take this course in addition to your regular courseload. This course will provide you with the information and tools to start planning and building a professional career—starting with successful co-op work terms.

The IPP course is led by co-op coordinators and it's offered a bit differently in each co-op program. All students complete a résumé, cover letter and mock interview, either at a mock interview clinic or related exercise. Other coursework varies by program, although mandatory co-op programs normally require more assignments. 

After you've completed the IPP course, your co-op office will make you eligible to search and apply for co-op jobs in the Co-op and Career portal.

Through the IPP course, you'll:

  • Understand the co-op learning model, how to search for co-op jobs and how to successfully complete your co-op work terms
  • Understand competencies and why they're valuable
  • Produce a targeted résumé and cover letter to apply for a mock interview
  • Attend a mock interview and receive meaningful feedback
  • Find and use our work search and career preparation resources
  • Consider co-op in the broader context of professional career development and management

The IPP course covers:

  • The co-op process
  • Expectations and reflective practice
  • Using the Co-op and Career portal
  • How to assess, express and develop your competencies
  • Deconstructing job postings
  • Writing professional résumés and cover letters
  • How to ace your interviews
  • Building your professional network
  • Work term success
  • What is experiential education?

During each co-op work term

For each of your co-op work terms, you'll complete competency assessments, have a work site visit and submit a work term report (or alternate submission).

Complete your competency assessments

Co-op uses a competency-based model to help you assess, develop and describe your skills in a measurable way. This can help you market your skills to employers and build a successful career beyond graduation. 

During each co-op work term, you'll complete three stages of your competency assessment online through the Co-op and Career portal. First, you'll set learning goals with your job supervisor. Then, you'll assess your competencies at the mid-point of the work term. Finally, you'll assess your competencies again at the end of the work term. These competency assessments are reflective and provide "checkpoints" for developing your skills, showing what you've learned over the course of your work term.

Part 1: Set your learning objectives

Within two weeks of the start of your work term, sign in to the Co-op and Career portal, go to the "co-op module", access your work term record for the current term and select "Learning Objectives".

  • Work with your supervisor to identify 3 to 5 competencies that you'd like to develop during your work term.
  • Assess yourself in these competencies, then describe your goals for developing your chosen competencies during this work term. Your supervisor will receive a link to review your learning objectives once you submit; they do not need to complete a supervisor assessment at this stage.

Part 2: Complete the mid-term competency assessment

About halfway through the work term, sign in the Co-op and Career portal to complete your mid-term assessment. Your supervisor will receive an email with a link to review your mid-term competency assessment and will be asked to complete the supervisor portion. You can see more about competencies here.

  • Assess your development of your selected competencies
  • Describe how you've demonstrated each of these competencies and relate this to your work term goals and learning objectives 
  • Your learning objectives and mid-term competency assessment will be discussed during your work site visit

Part 3: Complete the final competency assessment

At the end of your work term, sign in the Co-op and Career portal and complete the final competency assessment. Your supervisor will receive an email with a link to review your final competency assessment and will be asked to complete the supervisor portion. Check out the Description of the 10 core competencies and the competency resources for tips.

Save a copy of your competency assessment – it can be useful to reflect on for future interview prep, work terms and career development.

Have a work site visit with your co-op coordinator

Approximately halfway through each co-op work term, your co-op coordinator will conduct a check-in meeting with you and your supervisor, either in person or virtually. This is called the work site visitYour co-op office will provide instructions to arrange the work site visit at a convenient time.

Before the visit

In advance of the visit, you (and your supervisor) should have completed your mid-term assessment.

During the visit

During the work site visit, your co-op coordinator will meet with you and your supervisor. Different program areas may structure the visit a bit differently, so please feel free to ask your co-op office if you'd like to know details in advance. Your coordinator will talk about your mid-term competency assessment  with you and your supervisor, and will typically ask about:

  • how your work term is going
  • your work projects and responsibilities
  • the skills and knowledge you're developing
  • your goals and what you'd like to learn

Your co-op supervisor will also be invited to give their feedback, and it's a great chance to ask any questions you might have.

Submit a co-op work term report (or alternate final submission)

At the end of each work term, you'll complete a work term submission.

Work term submission requirements vary widely between programs. Check co-op information by program or contact your co-op office for details before you start any work on your submission.

The co-op submission could be a:

  • written work term report (most common)
  • blog post
  • article and photo
  • career action plan
  • forum theatre
  • journal
  • letter to a future student
  • literature review
  • online discussion
  • online portfolio
  • orientation package for the next co-op student
  • photo essay
  • presentation
  • video
  • workshop

Note that not all work term submission options are available in all programs, and some programs may require more than one type of submission.