Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) | Co-op

General Questions

What is Co-operative Education?

KPU Co-operative Education programs have received accreditation from Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning (CEWIL)*. This accreditation provides national recognition and an affirmation that our Co-op programs comply with standards and guidelines. Maintaining accreditation criteria helps build quality into existing Co-op programs and provides a benchmark for setting up new Co-op programs.

Co-operative education is an educational program that provides students with the opportunity to enhance their education by obtaining career related work experience before graduation. Co-operative Education integrates academic studies with paid work experience which enables students to adapt skills learned in the classroom and apply them to actual work experience.

*During the accreditation renewal period, KPU will seek accreditation for the following Co-op programs: Computer Aided Design and Drafting Diploma, Public Relations Diploma, Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Accounting, Bachelor of Science in Health Science.

What are the advantages of the Co-op program?

  • Gain related work experience in your field of study that helps you acquire key specialty skills and clarify your career and educational goals and interests before you graduate.
  • Earn money during a work semester to offset your tuition costs.
  • Many graduates find full-time employment with their recent Co-op employers.
  • For Co-op graduates, starting salaries often tend to be higher than those for graduates from traditional programs without the Co-op training.
  • Personal growth and development are greatly enhanced by real life experience in the workplace and working closely with the Co-op instructors who offer ongoing mentoring and guidance.

How does Co-op benefit my academic studies?

Co-op enriches your academic experience by taking the knowledge you acquire in the classroom and applying it to the Co-op position. Also, from work terms you take the knowledge you acquire and feed it back into your education allowing you to be more marketable. Applying what you've learned on the job makes your education more meaningful.

Which programs offer a Co-op option?

A list of all the programs that offer a Co-op option is found here.

What elective courses should I take to market myself better for Co-op work terms?

That would depend entirely on your academic focus. It is recommended that you meet with an academic or degree advisor for guidance.

Do I need to be enrolled as a full-time student to be in the Co-op Program?

No, you do not need to be enrolled as a full-time student to be in the Co-op Program.

International students should review their study permit conditions and reach out to KPU International if they have questions about these conditions or scheduled breaks. They may also consult the Immigration, Refugees and Canadian Citizenship Canada website for conditions as a study permit holder in Canada.

Does Co-op count as one of my electives for my program?

No - all Co-op courses are additional credits and do not apply to your diploma/degree requirements.

I hear that being involved in the Co-op process can take as much time as a course, is this true?

Yes, all work terms are full-time jobs and also require additional course work in the form of online journals, goal-setting exercises, work term reports, and the employer's evaluation of student performance. The time involved in applying and interviewing for Co-op jobs can be time-consuming as well. During the semester when you plan to look for a Co-op job, be prepared to spend several hours per week to look for, apply, format your resume and cover letter, and interview for the positions. The amount of time spent seeking a Co-op job will depend on how many positions you apply for and how soon you get hired.

When are the Information Sessions held and how do I register?

Click here for information on dates and how to register.

Can I participate in Co-op if my program doesn't have a Co-op option?

Unfortunately, no. But don't worry! There are other work-integrated learning opportunities like practicums. Check with your Faculty or visit the Work-Integrated Learning page for details.

Are there other ways to gain work experience?

Absolutely! The Career Development Centre provides various avenues for gaining work experience, including Work Study, Student Assistant, and volunteer opportunities. Explore these options on our job board, Career Connection, and attend our events to connect with potential employers. Learn more at kpu.ca/careercentre.

How are the Co-op program continuance requirements enforced?

The Co-op office ensures compliance with program continuance requirements by conducting semesterly reviews for all students in the program. Those who meet the requirements receive access to Co-op jobs in Career Connection, while students who do not meet the criteria are informed of their removal from the Co-op program.

Co-op Costs/Tuition

What are the tuition and fees for Co-op and when do I pay them?

COOP 1101 is a one-credit class. Tuition and fees for this class is based on one-credit of university tuition and fees for that semester.

Co-op work terms are assigned 9 credits for each full-time work term (semester). Tuition is charged at 4.5 credits per semester for domestic and international students. Students pay work term tuition in accordance with the current Tuition and Mandatory Student Fees table for each full-time Co-op work term (semester).

University fees are also charged in addition to your tuition.

Why do I have to pay tuition and fees when working in a Co-op job?

Co-operative Education is part of your academic program. You are paying a course fee for your work term and will be doing a variety of assignments to support your learning during the work term. Your Co-op instructor will be supporting your learning and guiding you through the workterm to maximize your learning.

Students do not pay any tuition fees until they have secured a Co-op work term placement.

Am I still considered a full-time student when on a work term?

Yes, if you are a Co-op student on a full-time Co-op work term, you earn 9 credits and maintain your full-time status.

Do I have to make payments to my Student Loans while on a work term?

No, a full-time Co-op work term is one course and counts for 9 credits.

Are there any special scholarships or financial assistance for Co-op students?

Most scholarships and awards are tied to the area of study (see Student Awards & Financial Assistance and KPU Foundation). Co-op awards are also handled by the Student Awards & Financial Assistance (SAFA).

Co-op Application and Admissions

How do I apply to the Co-op program at KPU?

It is highly recommended that all students attend an information session before applying to the Co-op program. Click here to register for an upcoming session. 

To express your interest for participating in the Co-operative Education and application guidelines visit the Apply to Co-op page. Co-op applications are accepted for specific intake semesters, as outlined on Co-op Dates and Deadlines. You will be notified via email about the approval status of your application during the specified review periods. If your application is declined you can reapply at a later date.

Is "Declaration of the Co-op option" the same as applying for co-op?

"Declaration of the Co-op option" and applying for Co-op mean the same thing. Although the University Calendar may use the term "declaration of the Co-op option," in simpler terms, it refers to applying to Co-op online through Career Connection.

What if I miss the deadline to apply to Co-op?

Applications are accepted all year round and only for the upcoming intake. If you miss the current intake's deadline, you can apply right away for the next one and your application will be reviewed during that period.

Following the application deadline, we will review the applications and share a list of approved students to Student Enrolment Services to add the Co-op option. Please note that applications submitted after this list has been sent cannot be accepted.

What are the admission requirements for Co-op?

The admission requirements for the Co-op are different for each program. In general, students have to meet the following criteria:

  • Meet the minimum program GPA requirement
  • Apply online and be accepted into the Co-op program
  • Register and successfully complete the COOP 1101 course

Is there a minimum GPA requirement to get into Co-op?

Yes, each Co-op program has different admission requirements. For details on each program visit the Co-op Programs page for full details.

What if I have credits that don’t count towards my program but want to do Co-op?

When we assess your Co-op application, we focus on the credits relevant to the program you're enrolled (or intend) in, as outlined in My Action Plan (MAP). For more details on MAP and to log in, visit kpu.ca/myactionplan.

Can I still be in the Co-op program if I am planning to do my diploma but not a degree?

Yes. The following diploma programs have Co-op as an option:

  • Marketing Management Diploma
  • Computer Information Systems Diploma
  • Environmental Protection Technology Diploma
  • Public Relations Diploma

I am a high school student. Am I still eligible for Co-op?

Students outside of KPU are not eligible for the Co-op program. Most high school students attending KPU are not in a recognized Co-op program. Once you gain admission into a KPU program with a Co-op option, we recommend you attend an Information Session to learn more about Co-op program.

Can Pathway Students participate in Co-op?

Unfortunately, Co-op is not available for students on the Pathway. However, you are welcome to apply for Co-op once you come off the Pathway.

COOP 1101

When should I register for COOP 1101?

You should consider Co-op after you have completed 30 credits**. You should register for COOP 1101 at least two semesters before you want to secure a work term. Entrance requirements for COOP 1101 are different for each program and are found here. Please note that Co-op is not intended to be added at the end of your program. Contact us at co-op@kpu.ca for more details.

Degree program students who are nearing the 90-credit limit when joining Co-op must enroll in COOP 1101 during the intake term that they have been accepted. This is to ensure there's ample time to complete all necessary work terms.

  • **For Marketing, CISY, EPT, and Public Relations diploma students, you must take COOP 1101 in your first year of studies. Diploma programs require you to take COOP 1101 prior to completing 30 credits. EPT students are encouraged to connect with their program department regarding the best time to complete COOP 1101.
  • **Post-Baccalaureate Diploma students in Human Resources Management must take COOP 1101 prior to 15 credits. Students in the Operations and Supply Chain Management program must take it prior to 12 credits.

When and where is COOP 1101 offered?

COOP 1101 is offered at both Richmond and Surrey campuses and sometimes at the Langley campus, and may be offered online. Classes are offered in all three semesters. COOP 1101 is a one-credit course and runs for 6 weeks. Visit KPU’s timetable to see when classes are offered for an upcoming semester.

How does the COOP 1101 waitlist work?

We strongly advise each student to stay on the waitlist until the start of classes as seats may open up at key dates during the semester. Being placed on a waitlist does not guarantee you a seat in the class. See Waitlisting in the Registration Guide for more information.

What if I do not pass the COOP 1101 class?

In that case, you would not be eligible to look for the Co-op jobs and would have to re-take the course.

Why is there a credit limit for taking COOP 1101?

COOP 1101 is a preparatory course required for Co-op eligibility. Completing it before reaching the credit limit is important, providing enough time to finish the course and secure a work term in the following semesters. Delaying COOP 1101 can make it more challenging to fulfill all Co-op work term requirements and end on an academic term.

Co-op Job Search/Work Terms

To find out more details about job searching, work terms, and registration, please refer to the Co-operative Education Student Handbook on the Co-op Forms/Resources page.

When do students go on work terms?

Work terms can be 4-8 months in length starting at the beginning of each semester (September, January or May). In most cases, preparation to go out on your first work term takes two semesters. For example, if a student takes COOP 1101 in the Fall semester, you would then be applying to jobs in the Spring and be working on your first work term in the Summer.

Can I change the sequence of my work and academic terms?

Yes, you can but you must always consult your Co-op instructor when you are changing the sequence of work and academic terms. You must ensure that you finish your program on an academic semester with 9 credits or more.

We encourage EPT students to connect with their program department regarding the best time to complete their work terms.

Are Co-op students placed into jobs or do they have to compete for jobs?

Co-op students are not matched with an employer. Students are educated on the job search process including resume, cover letter, and interview skills through the COOP 1101 course. Students must apply to jobs and be shortlisted by the employer for an interview. The Co-op job search process for a Co-op student simulates job hunting in the real world. Students work closely with their Co-op instructor and receive ongoing coaching on how to be successful in securing a Co-op placement.

How many work terms do I have to complete to get the Co-op designation?

For most diplomas Co-op programs, you must complete two (2) Co-op work terms. If you are in a degree Co-op program, you must complete three (3) work terms. Post-Baccalaureate diploma programs require completion of one (1) work term. Please consult with the Co-op office if you wish to do an additional work term.

For more information, visit Co-op Programs.

How many work terms can I take?

For most diploma Co-op programs, you must complete two (2) Co-op work terms. If you are in a degree Co-op program, you must complete three (3) work terms. Post-Baccalaureate diploma programs require the completion of one (1) work term. Please consult with the Co-op office if you wish to do an additional work term.

For international students, Co-op work terms should total 50% or less of your study program. Refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for eligibility requirements to work as a Co-op student.

Can I work for 8 months?

Yes, you can work for 8 months. You can work with the same employer for two consecutive semesters if the employer approves it. You can also work for two separate employers for four months each. This is considered two full-time Co-op work terms.

If you're an international student, you need to be aware of your Co-op work permit expiry date and make sure you re-apply for the Co-op work permit to be able complete both terms. Co-op work terms for international students should total 50% or less of your study program. Refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for eligibility requirements to work as a Co-op student.

Are students guaranteed jobs?

We can’t guarantee a placement, but we work extremely hard to create job opportunities for students to apply to. It is the student's responsibility to apply to jobs throughout the semester. Co-op students are provided coaching in how to write effective resume and cover letters, and improve their interview skills to prepare them for the job search and interview process.

Where are jobs located?

Jobs are mainly located in the Lower Mainland, with occasional opportunities across Canada. If you are interested in opportunities outside of BC, please speak to your Co-op instructor or the Co-op office.

How much can I expect to make?

Typical wages for the Co-op students range from minimum wage to $22 per hour, or approximately $2,900-$3,810 per month. Co-op employers set the wage, not the Co-op office. We encourage students to focus on the quality of work experience in their field of study rather than the wages. Our experience and many Co-op students' testimonials confirm that the recent Co-op work experience may help jumpstart your career!

What are the typical hours of work required to count as Co-op?

You must work a minimum of 420 hours during a 4-month work term. Most full-time Co-op work terms are an average of 30-40 hours per week.

Can part-time jobs count as Co-op?

Most of KPU Co-op programs have received national accreditation through Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada), which states that "a work term is defined as a minimum of 12 weeks and/or a minimum of 420 hours FULL-TIME, paid experience." As such, the Co-op Office will no longer offer part-time Co-op job postings. Please contact co-op@kpu.ca for more information.

I have little or no work experience. What are my chances of getting a Co-op job?

Co-op is set-up for students to gain work experience. Employers understand that you've been focusing on your academics and so the jobs they post are aimed at students with limited work experience yet with strong desire and enthusiasm to develop and apply their newly acquired work skills.

Can I create my own work term?

Most of KPU Co-op programs have received national accreditation through Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada), which states that "a work term is defined as a minimum of 12 weeks and/or a minimum of 420 hours FULL-TIME, paid experience." As such, the Co-op Office will no longer offer part-time Co-op job postings. Please contact co-op@kpu.ca for more information.

Yes, you can create your own work term if you find an opportunity online or through your own connections. Here's what you should know:

  • Before we can consider your work opportunity, you must successfully complete COOP 1101 and maintain all of the program continuance requirements.
  • Send your opportunity to the Co-op office at co-op@kpu.ca. Please allow 2-4 business days for us to review your opportunity and notify you of its approval.
  • Work term registration and tuition for the course are still required. If your work term extends from one term into the next, you are required to register and pay tuition for the extended term as per the Co-op Student Agreement.
  • Your work term dates must align with an academic semester (Fall = September - December, Spring = January - April, Summer = May - August)

To approve your opportunity, we need the following information:

  • A copy of the job description, with the majority of duties aligned with your program of study.
  • The employer's name, contact details (phone, email, worksite address), and your direct supervisor's contact information.
  • Details about wages and terms. A minimum of 420 hours for a 4-month work term over 12-16 weeks is required.

The employer should confirm that they:

  • Agree to host a Co-op student.
  • Can provide the student with guidance and supervision.
  • Agree to a site visit from our Co-op instructors around halfway through the semester.
  • Have WorkSafe BC coverage and are hiring you as an employee, not a contractor.

Can I take courses while working?

On your first Co-op work term, it is best to fully focus on working in a career-related job and not divide your time between school and the employer. Taking courses while on a work term is not encouraged. 

However, if for a good reason you need to take an additional class, please discuss this with and academic advisor, your Co-op instructor and the employer before taking on more than you can handle. We want to ensure we set you up for success in both academic studies and in work placement. Additional courses must not impact the work term with your employer. This means that you should not ask your employer for time off because of exams/assignments of other courses.

You can take a maximum of 2 three-credit courses alongside a Co-op work term course. Anything beyond that requires special approval and is considered an overload situation. Please consult your Co-op instructor and the Co-op office for more information.

Do I have to pass my work term to get the credits?

Yes, it is the same as any other KPU course. While on a Co-op work term, you are registered in a course and must successfully complete all assignments.

How are Co-op work terms graded?

Co-op work terms are graded based on satisfactory completion of all work term assignments, also employer's mid- and end-term evaluation, and the Co-op instructor's final evaluation. You will receive either a MAS (mastery) or an NCG (no credit granted) as per KPU's Student Evaluation and Grading Policy. MAS or NCG grades do not impact your GPA.

What are the work term assignments?

Work term projects assignments vary by instructor but for the most part include reflection assignments through on-line participation as well as a presentation/report that may be presented in video, PowerPoint or lecture format.

What should I expect on a Co-op work term site visit by my Co-op instructor?

Your Co-op instructor will meet with your supervisor first to obtain feedback on your performance, discuss your learning goals and inquire about future Co-op opportunities. Your instructor will then meet with you to obtain your feedback, discuss your performance, and review your learning goals, progress with assignments and plans for future Co-op work terms.

How are Co-op work terms graded?

Co-op work terms are graded based on satisfactory completion of all work term assignments, also employer's mid- and end-term evaluation, and the Co-op instructor's final evaluation. You will receive either a MAS (mastery) or an NCG (no credit granted) as per KPU's Student Evaluation and Grading Policy. MAS or NCG grades do not impact your GPA.

Can I be fired from a Co-op work term?

Yes, you are expected to act like a professional employee while on a work term since you are representing the KPU. Like any other job, you can be let go from the position. Being terminated from a job may impact your academic transcript as per KPU's Student Evaluation and Grading Policy.

Can I quit a Co-op work term?

If circumstances in a work term arise that are a cause for concern, please contact your Co-op instructor immediately. They will discuss your options with you. It is expected that students complete the full work term as is the case with any other course. Refunds for withdrawing from the Co-op work term are subject to University's guidelines. Future access to the Co-op jobs will be at the discretion of the Co-op instructor.

What happens if I accept a job and a better opportunity arises?

Offers of employment must be accepted within 24 hours, or as approved by the Co-op office. You are expected to accept the first job offer unless 2 job offers are received within 24 hours. Once you accept a confirmed job offer for a semester, you will no longer be eligible for other opportunities, applications and interviews. As a Co-op student, you have a professional and ethical obligation to satisfy the requirements of your employment contract. 

If you withdraw from the accepted Co-op job placement without a valid reason, you will be removed from the Co-op program.

Why is ending my program on a work term not allowed?

Ending a program on a work term is not permitted due to CEWIL accreditation standards. CEWIL requires accredited programs to start and end with an academic term, promoting the integration of Co-op and academic experiences, thorough work analysis, and effective preparation for post-graduation employment.

International Students

Is the Co-op program available for international students?

Yes - international students who continue to meet the eligibility requirements can begin their work term search as soon as they receive their Co-op Work Permit.

Attend an information session to learn more information.

When should I apply for my Co-op work permit?

You can begin the process to obtain a Co-op work permit once you are registered in COOP 1101. Once enrolled, use this like to request a Co-op Work Permit Letter. This letter is necessary for the online application through your Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) account. We will verify your enrollment in COOP 1101 before issuing the letter. If you haven't registered for COOP 1101, you won't receive the letter.

If you need assistance with applying for a work permit or extending an exisiting work permit along with your study permit, please contact the International Office.

How long does it take to receive my Co-op work permit?

The processing time for your permit can take several months. You can check the current processing times here for the most up-to-date information.