Wilfrid Laurier University Undergraduate Academic Calendar - 2018/2019
Canadian Excellence

Co-operative Education

Honours Bachelor of Design (BDes)

Director, Co-operative Education and Workplace Partnerships: Karen McCargar, BA, ext. 4105

"Co-operative education," a form of work-integrated learning, is a model of education that integrates and alternates a student's academic learning with workplace learning in fields relevant to the student's academic and personal goals.

Both work and academic terms are full-time and follow a formalized sequence. A co-op internship includes one continuous work period where the total amount of co-op work experience is at least 30% of the time spent in academic study. Co-op internships normally commence once the student has completed at least 50% of the academic program. Students gain exposure to the work environment during more than one season of the year and their co-op programs begin and end on an academic term.

The Honours Bachelor of Design co-op program requires students to complete one work term of 12 to 16 months, in approved employment related to their discipline. Students begin their co-op internship in the Spring term after Year 3 and will graduate after five years.

The university has proposed that students will complete COOP-000 Fundamentals of Co-operative Education, a pass/fail half-credit course that introduces students to the requirements, processes and essential topics of co-operative education.

Employers provide job descriptions, and the Department of Co-operative Education accepts those jobs that provide a suitable learning environment and engage the student in productive work. Students apply to employers with whom they are interested in working. Employers are encouraged to interview on campus. Although the university cannot guarantee that students will obtain employment, staff members in the Co-op Office strive to make suitable employment available to co-op students.

Employers supervise their students and evaluate their workplace performance. Co-op staff members monitor each student's progress during the work term. The co-op curriculum supports student learning goals, personal evaluation and reflection; students are required to set goals each term and write work term reports.  Employers compensate students for the work they perform.

Students will pay a co-op fee in the fall of Year 3 and a double fee in the winter term; more information will be available on the co-op website.

In addition to the 20.0 credits required by their program, the proposal is for co-op students to complete the following requirements to graduate with the Co-operative Education designation:

  • COOP-000 Fundamentals of Co-operative Education course
  • A 12-month work term with a single employer, completed in three consecutive work terms.  (Students may request a four-month extension and complete a 16-month work term.)
  • Three pass/fail companion half-credit courses, one taken concurrently with each four-month work term, beginning with COOP-001 Co-operative Education Work Term 1, then COOP-002 and COOP-003.  Students pursuing an optional fourth work term will also complete an additional companion course, COOP-004.
To obtain the co-op designation, students must complete all the requirements of both their academic program and co-op education requirements. Students completing co-op will have the notation "Co-operative Education" appended to their transcript and noted on their degree. 

Additional Information
Application Procedure

The only entry point for co-op is at the beginning of the fall term in Year 3.  Students who have withdrawn or been removed from their academic program are not eligible to continue in co-op, even if they are later reinstated into that program. Online applications to co-op become available in Winter term of Year 2.  Enrolment in co-op is limited, and the admission process is competitive.

Application procedure includes:

  • completion of an online application,
  • full-time registration in Honours Bachelor of Design,
  • submission of a résumé,
  • an admission interview.

In order to qualify for an admission interview in the fall of Year 3, each applicant’s Year 2 marks must meet the minimum GPA set annually by the Co-op Office. The Co-op Office bases its admission decisions on each candidate’s academic record, performance during the interview, recent work experience, and recent volunteer service and extracurricular activities. The Co-op Office will announce admission decisions by late September.

Students on study permits may apply to co-op programs at Laurier. Note, however, that there may be a limit on the number of spaces available to international students.