Types of co-op

Co-op offers a range of format options to help fit your schedule and situation. Depending on your co-op program, you may have the following options. You can contact your co-op office to discuss which format would be the best fit for you.

Co-op (3 to 4 work terms)

Co-op is the traditional model and is offered in most undergraduate programs. You’ll alternate several four-month study terms with four-month terms of full-time, paid work experience.

Typically, you’ll apply to co-op in the fall of your second year, although some programs also offer a January admission period. Admission is based on your grade point average (generally a minimum "B" standing) and may include an interview.

Upon completion of your coursework and three or four work terms (depending on your program), you’ll graduate with a co-op designation on your parchment.

Work Experience Program (1 to 2 work terms)

The Work Experience Program (WEP) is a shorter, more flexible option than traditional co-op. You can join the WEP at any point in your studies. You’ll complete one or two work terms depending on your program’s criteria. Your work terms will be recorded on your transcript but you will not receive the co-op designation on your parchment. > Learn more about the WEP

Co-op internship (3 to 4 consecutive work terms between third and fourth year)

In a co-op internship, you’ll complete one consecutive 12- to 16-month work term between the third and fourth year of your academic studies. Application dates, admission criteria and graduation requirements are the same as for traditional co-op.

Why is this option offered?

If you’re studying science, completing a 4-month co-op term can be tricky for your schedule, since some science courses are only offered once per year—if you’re on a work term at the time, you may have to wait a year to take the course.

The co-op internship option lets you complete 3 or 4 consecutive work terms, meaning you’ll spend 12-16 months at work and return to campus without any further interruptions to your course planning.

How does the co-op internship work?

You can complete 3 or 4 consecutive work terms with one employer or multiple employers.

An internship with a single employer can help you develop deeper knowledge and skills and contribute to longer-term projects.

A series of internships with multiple employers can help you try out different types of workplaces and opportunities (it also means you’ll be searching for your next work term while completing your current work term).

Will returning to class after 12-16 months at work be hard?

It can take some adjusting, but you’ll settle back in before you know it. You’ll also bring a ton of real-world, hands-on experience, which usually enhances your academic studies.

Who’s eligible?

This option is open to most students in third year or above. This includes students in science as well as other faculties.

Contact your program office to discuss whether this option would be a good fit. 

Post-Study Internship (1 longer work term after your coursework)

In this option, you’ll complete a four-, eight- or 12-month internship after your academic coursework has been completed but before you graduate. Admission is at the discretion of individual co-op programs.

Parallel co-op (part-time work term)

In a parallel co-op work term, you’ll complete one work term over an eight-month period. Typically, you’ll complete part-time work and part-time study at the same time. Application dates, admission criteria and graduation requirements are the same as for traditional co-op.

Entrepreneurial co-op

This option is available in all programs, but is most common in business, engineering, computer science and math co-op. In an entrepreneurial co-op work term, you must do one of the following for a four-month period starting in September, January or May: 

  • Work for clients on a self-employed or contract basis
  • Develop a product of your own design or provide a service 
  • Develop a business venture

> Learn more about entrepreneurial co-op

Work term transfer

Have you completed a co-op work term through another post-secondary institution before attending UVic? You might be eligible to earn transfer credit for one to two work terms completed at other institutions. The transferrability of work terms from other institutions is determined by individual co-op programs. This option is not available in all programs.

Work term challenge

Have you completed relevant work experience that you think could count as a co-op work term? You may be eligible to apply for a work term challenge.  Normally, you should make your work term challenge before starting your first co-op work term at UVic. This option is not available in all programs.