UNBC's Co-operative Education (Co-op) program is an educational model that integrates students' academic programs with practical work experiences. In order to receive a Co-operative Education designation on their transcript, students usually alternate academic and co-op work terms and are required to
- attend the required number of workshops as outlined by the Co-op office;
- pass the number of co-op work terms equal to at least 30% of a student's time spent in academic study (e.g., three co-op work terms for a four-year program);
- end the Co-op program on an academic term prior to graduation.
UNBC's Co-op office is not obligated to guarantee work term placements.
Admission to the Program
Intake into the Co-op program occurs at the beginning of the September and January semesters. Students planning to enter the Co-op program should contact the Co-op office and attend an information session. To qualify for and continue in the Co-op program, students must:
have completed 30 credit hours before participating in their first co-op work term. Engineering students must have completed 70 credit hours of required Engineering program coursework before participating in their first co-op work term;
be enrolled full-time;
have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50. Students are selected on the basis of academic performance, written and oral communication skills, and general suitability for the work environment.
Students required to withdraw from the Co-op program due to their academic standing may re-apply for admission based upon re-qualification.
Co-op Work Terms
A co-op work term is normally equal in length to an academic term (approximately 4 months in length), with a minimum requirement of 12 weeks. A co-op work term consists of full-time work relevant to students' declared academic majors or minors (approximately 420-520 hours of work experience, dependent on employer needs). Some co-op work terms are equal in length to two academic terms and are considered two co-op work terms. A two-work-term placement must be approximately eight months in length and consist of full-time work relevant to students' declared academic majors or minors (approximately 840-1,040 hours of work experience, dependent on employer needs). If students wish to be enrolled in an academic course while on a co-op work term, they must receive the approval of the Co-op office before registering.
Parallel Co-op Work Terms
A parallel co-op work term is normally equal in length to two academic terms (approximately eight months in length) and consists of part-time work relevant to a student’s declared academic major or minor (approximately 17.5-20 hours per week, for a total of 420-520 hours of work experience, dependent on employer needs). A parallel co-op work term is considered as one co-op work term. During parallel co-op work terms, students are expected to be enrolled in two academic courses (minimum 6 credit hours) per academic semester. If students wish to be enrolled in more than two academic courses in an academic semester, they must receive the approval of the Co-op office before registering.
Self-Developed Work Terms
A self-developed work term recognizes work term placements found as a result of students' own contacts and networks. Students interested in self-developed work terms should consult with the Co-op office before beginning the work term.
Co-operative Education Transferable Work Terms
Co-op work terms successfully completed at a Canadian post-secondary institution are eligible for transfer work term credit, as determined on an individual basis, if they meet the following requirements:
the program in which the work term(s) was undertaken is approved under the criteria of the Accountability Council of Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning of BC or Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada;
the work term(s) is officially recognized (i.e. noted on the transcript) by the institution where the work term originated;
the credit for a transfer work term was granted for work experience typical of the discipline into which the student is transferring;
the student is accepted into the UNBC Co-op program and applies for assessment of a transfer of work terms.
Transfer students must complete the number of workshops outlined by the Co-op office before participating in their first co-op work term as a UNBC student.
Co-operative Education Work Term Credit Challenge
The UNBC Co-op program allows students to challenge their first work term on the basis of prior relevant and satisfactory work experience. Students should discuss any potential work term course challenge with the Co-op office. Work term course challenges are eligible for work term credit, as determined on an individual basis, upon verification of the following:
an aggregate of approximately 420-520 hours of relevant work experience, dependent on employer needs, and not previously counted toward work term credit, practicum, internship, and similar options;
- employment verification and performance evaluation by the employer;
a job description providing evidence that the student acquired professional and personal knowledge and skills appropriate to the declared academic major or minor; and
completion of assignments set by the Co-op office.
If the work term course challenge is approved, the result is entered on the student's transcript on a PASS/FAIL basis.
For additional information please visit the Co-op office or program website at www.unbc.ca/co-op.