FAQ for Employers

What is CO-OP?
What is co-operative education?

Co-operative education is a three-way partnership between the university, students and employers. Students apply their classroom knowledge in a series of four-month work experiences. You, the employer, enhance a student’s education, while reaping the unique benefits of CO-OP employees.

Only top students gain admission to the University of Ottawa CO-OP programs. In general, students begin their first work term after completing at least two years of studies, so they come to you well-prepared and ready to produce. Work terms generally last at least 15 weeks and alternate with four-month academic sessions.

CO-OP is an optional program, and students are admitted based on academic achievement. They are monitored throughout their academic sessions and work terms, ensuring you get the best possible performance.

University of Ottawa programs offered with a CO-OP option have met all required standards and conditions and, as such, are accredited by the Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada). 

What are the benefits of hiring CO-OP students?
  • Year-round access to well-motivated, qualified employees from 77 undergraduate programs and 8 masters programs
  • Access to potential full-time staff in a controlled environment, reducing your costs and risks
  • Access to a cost-effective source of temporary employees for peak periods or special projects
  • A say in what students learn by working with the university
  • Promotion of your organization as one that believes in developing the potential of young people
  • Access to a great pool of French-speaking, English-speaking and bilingual students
What is the difference between a CO-OP work term and an internship?



  • Progressive skill acquisition
  • Workplace literacy
  • Workforce readiness
  • Block placement (alternating with academic program)
  • Structured work-study sequence must end with academic session
  • For undergraduates, usually takes place after at least four academic terms and, for master's students, after two.
  • Work terms are typically one session (4 months), but may be consecutive
  • 3-5 work terms required for CO-OP designation at the undergraduate level and 2 at the masters level
  • Students must meet the national co-op standards, including a mid-term evaluation, a final evaluation and a final work term report.


  • Personal development
  • Career exploration and development
  • Skills development
  • Single block placement at end of program (capstone) or alternating with academic program
  • Defined number of hours per term (concurrent)
  • Usually occurs toward end of program
  • Typically long (12-16 months) but may be shorter in length


Are students available year round?

Students are available year-round. We have over 3,000 students to place over our three work terms: Fall (September to December), Winter (January to April) and Summer (May to August). Summer is when we have the largest number of students looking for a placement (over 1,500).

How long are the work-terms?

Most work terms run at least 15 weeks, or four months. They can be no shorter than 13 weeks. Some master’s students, as well as some science and engineering students, are available for 8 or 12 months’ work terms.    

Do you have CO-OP students in all fields or areas?

CO-OP is offered in 75 disciplines, covering a variety of studies. From the list of disciplines with CO-OP programs, click on a program name to learn about the type of work students can do and the work-study sequence for the program.

What type of work can CO-OP students be hired for?

All jobs are reviewed by a CO-OP Program Coordinator, and only those providing students with work experience related to their professional development are approved. Administrative activities involved in a job should be less than 10% of the entire workload. For an idea of relevant student job activities, visit our website program page  and click on an individual program of study.

Can I hire a campus-based research assistant through CO-OP?

In accordance with the collective agreement between the University of Ottawa and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2626, campus employers may hire students through CO-OP to work as research assistants.

For more information

Is CO-OP available in master’s programs?

Yes, it is available in 8 masters programs. Visit our website program page to see which disciplines offer CO-OP.

What is the minimum grade requirement to be admitted to CO-OP?

For most programs at the bachelor’s level, students require at least a 6.0 CGPA (70-74%). At the master’s level, students generally require a 7.0 (75%) to be admitted.

Who will assist me during the process?

When you first contact the CO-OP Office, you are assigned one of our CO-OP Program Coordinators, depending on your discipline of interest. This person is your main contact in our office.  As you move through the recruitment process, you also work with a representative from CO-OP Administrative Services, who assists with job posting and interview scheduling. 

Roles and Responsibilities
What are my responsibilities as a CO-OP employer and/or supervisor?
  • Meeting with the student early on to discuss expectations and learning objectives.
  • Training, mentoring and supporting the student to ensure success.
  • Meeting with the student regularly to analyze performance and offer advice.
  • Submitting a final evaluation of the student's work, measured against his or her objectives.
What are the students’ responsibilities?
  • Completing the required CO-OP program workshops.
  • Setting preliminary work-term objectives.
  • Booking a meeting with the supervisor to articulate learning objectives and ensure understanding of employer expectations.
  • Continually reviewing, fine tuning and improving work performance.
  • Meeting regularly with the supervisor to analyze performance and seek advice. Reviewing progress with the CO-OP Program Coordinator if required.
  • Reflecting on the work term experience: What has been learned? How can the experience be applied?
  • Developing a work term report and submitting it to the academic coordinator upon completion of the work term.
What are the CO-OP team’s responsibilities?
  • Training students to set clear and detailed work term objectives.
  • Answering student and employer questions.
  • Conducting follow-up with students and employers after the mid-term evaluation. 
Which important dates should I mark in my calendar when I recruit a student?

While our registered contacts receive emails before each work term, the dates below should be noted:

  • Date students begin applying for Round 1 jobs
  • Deadline to post jobs in Round 1 (about 3 months before each work term)
  • Window period to review resumés
  • Deadline to schedule Round 1 interviews
  • Deadline to submit employer rankings
  • Announcement of Round 1 matching results
  • Beginning of Round 2 — the day after the announcement of the Round 1 matching results
Salaries and Tax Credits
What's the average salary paid to CO-OP students?

Salaries depend on the student’s experience and academic program. Many employers go with the market rate. You may also consult the salaries from past years:


I am a public-service employer; how should I apply the salary grid?
  • According to the Treasury Board of Canada website, you should base the salary on the student’s current academic level. See the salary grid on their website.
  • For more information, contact your department’s HR sector.
Is my private-sector company eligible for tax credits?

The governments of Ontario and Quebec offer tax credits to employers who provide workplace internships for students from a recognized institution’s CO-OP program.

Job Postings
What is the deadline to post a CO-OP position?

The recruitment process begins roughly three and a half months before each work term. For example, if you are looking to hire a student for the Winter session (January through April), you post your job in mid-September and conduct interviews in early October. For more information, consult the calendar of our three recruitment periods.

What criteria must a position meet to qualify for CO-OP?
  • Provide practical experience related to one of our CO-OP disciplines
  • Be accompanied by a short job description
  • Include proper supervision
  • Run at least 15 weeks or 455 hours
  • Involve full-time work (35 hours a week)
  • Be salaried
Am I guaranteed to be matched with a student if I post a job?

There is no guarantee you will be matched with a student, or even receive applications. Application levels vary depending on the candidate pool you wish to recruit from and on the jobs available to students at that time.

How can I make my job description more appealing?

If you are recruiting a student in a discipline that is in high demand, try and sell your job as much as possible. Be sure to include any perks that come with the job (e.g. gym access, lunch & learn, central location). For additional suggestions, contact your CO-OP Program Coordinator.

Why are jobs only posted for 47 hours?

Jobs are only posted for 47 hours because of the volume of jobs we receive. Students are very good at checking jobs daily, so chances are your job will be seen by most before it expires. However, you may request for to have it posted for longer than 47 hours if necessary.

Assessing applications
Why are students in unrelated disciplines applying for my job?

We can’t stop students from applying for jobs. Jobs are labelled by relevant discipline and students can filter jobs by this criterion. Students in unrelated disciplines occasionally qualify for jobs outside their program, as they may have acquired the necessary knowledge through course electives, work experience or even a previous degree.

Why do I receive more senior student candidates some terms than others?

The candidate pools for our Summer, Fall and Winter work terms vary. For example, Summer candidates (our largest pool) consist mostly of students on their first and last work terms, and Winter candidates consist mainly of mid-level students.  

Why do all the resumés look the same?

Our system is not set up to allow students to customize their resumés or create cover letters. In fact, many employers appreciate the standardized templates, as they make it easier to compare resumés. If you would like something more than a resumé, include an email address in your job description and request that students send cover letters by email.

Interview Period
What are the differences between first and second round of interviews?

There are two rounds of placement for each work term. A majority of students begin in Round 1. Those not matched with an employer in Round 1 move on to Round 2.

Round 1

Round 2

  • Tight structure: timelines for job postings, interview requests and rankings
  • Rankings: submitted by employers and students; determine job matches
  • On-campus interviews (or interviews by Skype  or telephone): to allow students to manage class and exam schedules
  • Ad hoc: jobs and interviews accepted until last student is matched (students tend to be matched early so post your job and interview early)
  • No rankings: students must accept their first offer (unless they receive multiple offers within a 24-hour period)
  • Interviews on campus or at employer site
If I post a job or interview students, am I required to take the next step?

You are under no obligation to schedule interviews or hire students you interview. However, if you assign a numerical ranking to a student after interviews, this is considered a job offer. That said, we’re convinced our CO-OP pool will provide you with outstanding candidates.

My organization is located in downtown Ottawa. Do I still need to interview on campus?

Yes, for our first round of interviews. However for our second round, interviews can be held on campus or at your office, whichever is best for you.

Can I interview students if we are located outside Ottawa?

Yes. While many students prefer to work in Ottawa, some are willing to relocate for the right position. We are fully equipped to conduct interviews via telephone or Skype.

How long are interviews?

Interviews are typically 30 minutes.

How many interviewers can we bring?

As most of our interview rooms are not very large, we ask that you limit the number of interviewers to two.

Why can't I schedule my own interviews?

To avoid double-booking, we must ensure that all interviews are in our system. Employers are also prohibited from contacting students before they are matched due to the privacy legislation. 

Do employers receive student feedback after the interview process?

Currently we do not require students to provide feedback after their interviews. If you would like insight on the impression students had of your organization, please contact your CO-OP Program Coordinator.

Work Terms
When should I begin the security clearance process with my student?

Some employers ask students to complete forms on interview day. If this is not possible, the process should begin as soon as a student is matched to a job. Delays in the security process can significantly push back a student’s start date, which can seriously affect the student financially.  

How do I determine the start and end date of a work term?

Our key dates calendar provides suggested start and end dates for student work terms. However, when preparing your letter of offer, you can discuss alternative dates with your student.

Things are going great with my student. Can I extend his or her work term?

Most students rotate between four-month work terms and academic sessions.  You may ask the student to work part time during his or her academic session (the CO-OP Office would not be involved in this). You can also have the student return for another four-month work term after his or her academic session, provided you can offer the student new challenges.

Things are not going so well with my student. What action can I take?

Ensure you communicate early on with your student if you are not satisfied with his or her performance and develop an action plan to improve the situation. If you have done this and the situation has not improved, please inform your CO-OP Program Coordinator, who can serve as a mediator.  

Can students take leave during the work term?

Students are not permitted to take leave during placements, other than a few days under exceptional circumstances. Leave for vacations is not permitted. If the student requires emergency or health-related leave, he or she should advise the CO‑OP Office.

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