FAQs for Students and Employers

Co-operative Education and Internship


Great! We currently offer co-operative education and internship in the following program areas: Actuarial Science, Ecology, and Computer Science.  For detailed information about specific program areas, please review the information in the academic calendar.           

If your program does not offer a co-op or internship option, you can contact the Undergraduate Science Centre to discuss other possibilities. In some cases, students are able to secure an opportunity with an employer and take a leave of absence from their studies to complete a work term.

Both the co-operative education and internship programs integrate university study with relevant work by requiring students to complete 12 months of full-time work experience prior to graduation.

  • Co-op students are able to alternate between work terms and academic terms and can typically start their first work term after their second year of study. Students are available in January, May and September for 4, 8 or 12-month terms.
  • Internship students are required to fulfill their 12 months of work experience consecutively, typically after their third year of study. Internship students are allowed to complete these 12 months with different employers, as long as the work terms line up so they can be completed consecutively.

The co-op and internship programs require a student to complete 12 months of work experience in addition to one’s academic requirements. Since it does not fulfill any existing course requirements, completing a co-op/internship will typically add 12 months to a student’s degree program.

Students admitted to the Science Co-operative Education/Internship Program are required to pay a $50 admission fee to confirm their position in the program. Course fees are assessed for each course at the time the work-term/course is registered. 

The cost of a four month work term/course is available in the fees schedule in the University of Calgary Calendar.

Keep in mind that you will be earning a full time salary averaging from $16 - $30 per hour.

Being enrolled in the co-op and internship program allows you to apply your knowledge and skills, gain a competitive edge through real industry experience, develop your networks, discover career options, and earn a full-time salary. The University of Calgary also recognizes your work term as a program requirement, and this will be reflected on your transcript and parchment with a Co-operative Education/Internship designation. For every four-month work term, a student will be enrolled in a COOP/INTE course that is the equivalent to 5 courses. This allows the student to be recognized by the university as a full-time student, even though they are not taking any academic courses. Being recognized as a full-time student allows student rates to be applied to UPass, student loans, housing etc.

Alternatively, completing a work term that is not recognized through the co-op and internship program may require students to take time off of their degree. As a result, you will not obtain student status during this time.

References can come from a variety of areas, but a reference from a current or previous supervisor from part-time, summer, or full-time work, will be able to provide the most relevant information. If you are currently working in any position, try to meet or exceed your employer’s expectations to secure a good reference. Supervisors from volunteer work or sport coaches can also provide insights into your professionalism and work ethic. Also, if you have worked closely with a professor on a research project or class assignment, they might be considered as a reference. Always check with potential references first to ensure they are comfortable and willing to give you a positive reference. When attending an interview, bring a list of references with names, titles, and contact information. Employers prefer direct contact with references, rather than reviewing letters.

Before starting your first work term, you must meet with your Co-op/Internship Coordinator for a Transition to Work session. Additionally, you can review material online through D2L. Your Coordinator is here to support your success in obtaining and succeeding on a work term and will happily assist you in all aspects of your co-op or internship experience.

A verbal acceptance must be honoured even if a more desirable opportunity is presented later. Be honest when declining a position, and provide your reasons such as: after the interview, I realized that I would not be a good fit for the position, or I have decided to study rather than work for the next term. When in doubt, always connect with your Co-op/Internship Coordinator for assistance.

The best way to learn about the type of placements available is to meet with your Co-op/Internship Coordinator, who will provide you with examples of past placements and job search tips.


Students in a co-op program typically alternate work and study and explore various career options during four month work terms in winter, summer or fall. Completion of three work terms is required to receive the Co-op Designation. The program is flexible and does allow students to complete 3 or even 4 back-to-back work terms with the same employer. Internship students must complete consecutive work terms. Co-op and internship students have completed at least two years of their degree prior to their first work term, and return to school after their final work term to complete their degree.

Both co-op and internship students must meet course and GPA requirements, are enrolled, and pay one academic course fee while on a work term in summer, fall, or winter. When on a work term, they must participate in a site visit with their work supervisor and complete the end of term requirements, including an extensive work term report on their experience, and have a positive employer evaluation to receive a course credit on their transcript. To receive a Co-operative Education or Internship designation on their degree, students must complete a minimum of three work terms in the co-op or internship program.  As a result, most co-op and internship students are highly engaged and eager to gain as much from the experience as possible.

Summer students do not fall under the Co-op and Internship Program umbrella, and do not have to meet any academic or work term requirements. Summer employment does not appear on students' academic transcripts.

Co-op and internship students offer a cost-effective way to complete special projects or to fill short-term (or long-term) positions. Co-op is also a great recruitment strategy that allows employers to evaluate and develop potential future permanent employees. A Co-op/Internship graduate hired to a permanent position requires significantly less training and provides a low cost, high return on investment. Employers who participate in the Co-op/Internship Program invest in the future of youth through training and development, mentoring, and  providing ‘real-world’ experience and, in this way, influence education and society.

Co-op and internship students are interested in professional opportunities in a variety of roles, and are keen to explore their career options. Job postings with detailed job descriptions clearly outlining the student’s role and the position requirements are likely to get the best response. Attendance at various campus events hosted by Career Services, or the co-op and internship programs will help raise your profile and recognition on campus. The co-op and internship programs are always open to innovative recruitment suggestions.

Student placements are on an ongoing basis, so begin your recruitment activities as early as possible. You may post for a 4, 8, 12 or 16 month placement.

Timeline One:

Post your job: January-April
Interview: February-April
Onboarding: May


Timeline Two:

Post your job: May-August
Interview: June-August
Onboarding: September


Timeline Three:

Post your job: September-December
Interview: October-December
Onboarding: January