Initiative, confidence, resilience and creativity are the traits employers are looking for in today’s rapidly changing world.
Learning through experiences like co-op provides you the chance to enrich your education and extend your classroom learning through to the workplace and beyond.
Co-op students benefit from diverse opportunities at many different employers from a broad range of sectors and workplaces including public organizations, non-profit agencies and large corporations, to small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups.
With collaborations such as the Interior and Northern Work Integrated Learning Initiative, the Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program seeks to continue enhancing, broadening and exploring student learning experiences with regional community and industry partners.
Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program Admissions
Applications for the Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program 2022-2023 academic year are now closed.
Applications are accepted each year from September 1 – 30.
Details regarding the Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program, and eligibility requirements can be found below on this page. If you have further questions about the program, please email us. You may also sign up for a reminder when the 2023-24 applications open in September 2023 by clicking the link below.
As a student, you gain experience and learn by doing while deepening your skills, creating new relationships, and strengthening your resiliency and confidence.
Students develop critical career readiness knowledge such as resumé and cover letter development, job search strategies, interviewing preparation, and networking skills. Students learn and reflect while engaging within the workplace, advancing their skills and abilities all within supported terms of work experience.
Interdisciplinary Co-op follows the Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) guidelines which define Co-operative Education as “a program which alternates periods of academic study with periods of work experience in appropriate fields.” Visit the CEWIL website to learn more about the criteria.
Admission into the UBC Okanagan Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program only happens once each academic year. Students must have third-year standing, be enrolled in full-time studies and have a cumulative academic average of 70 percent in order to qualify*. Interdisciplinary Co-op Education is open to undergraduate students studying:
- Bachelor of Arts
- Bachelor of Fine Arts
- Bachelor of Human Kinetics / Health & Exercise Sciences
- Bachelor of Management
- Bachelor of Media Studies
- Bachelor of Science
Note: Students studying Engineering are to connect with the Applied Science Co-op for further details.
International students are eligible to participate in Co-op Education. The fees and application process are the same for international and domestic students. The Global Engagement Office and the Co-op Program Office assists international students in applying for a Co-op work permit once successfully admitted to the program.
Transfer students who have completed terms of co-op experience are encouraged to connect with the Co-op Program Office to confirm eligibility.
* We encourage applicants with GPAs below 70% to still apply, as applications are assessed on multiple factors including communications, teamwork, maturity and demonstrated career motivation.
If you have questions about your eligibility, contact the Co-op Program Office.
Students must first apply to the Co-op Education program during the annual admissions period (Sep 1-30).
All admitted students are required to complete pre-employment and career readiness training, consisting of online asynchronous programming and synchronous workshops (October to April). Throughout pre-employment and career readiness training, students are supported by program coordinators who provide coaching and advise.
Co-op students enter phases of job searching (typically beginning four months prior to the targeted job start date). During these job search phases students access exclusive positions through the UBC online job board. They receive coaching support and advise from the program administrators, and develop job search confidence and industry research capabilities. Students can also secure employment through a self-sourced job search and aren’t required to limit their job search to positions on the co-op job board.
The Co-op Program Office actively supports students throughout the work term experience, ensuring students stay connected to UBC and benefit from new opportunities, applied learning and reflective growth.
In order to achieve the Co-op Education designation on your academic transcript upon graduation, three terms of co-op experience must be completed. Work terms are typically four months long (min 420 employment hours and 12 weeks of employment). Some workplaces employ Co-op students for longer contracts, such as eight or twelve months consecutively. All co-op work terms will appear on your academic transcript as additive credit and does not replace required or elective course work in your undergraduate degree program.
The Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program seeks students that demonstrate a keen interest in personal development, and those that have examples of previous experience to prove their dedication to self-development, leadership and career maturity. The e-application provides students with the opportunity to highlight these traits. In general, applicants are assessed on the following criteria:
- Academic standing (minimum cumulative GPA of 70%) however we still encourage applicants with GPAs below this to apply as applications are assessed on multiple factors including communications, teamwork, maturity and demonstrated career motivation.
- Have a minimum of 21 academic credits remaining after the academic year in which they are applying
- Dedication to self-development, and the ability to take a leadership role while representing UBC within industry and community
- Open-mindedness and willingness to step outside of their comfort zone
- Developed communication, interpersonal, organization, and teamwork skills
- Maturity and career motivation
- Flexibility towards pursuing co-op opportunities regardless of geographical location (mobility)
- Commitment to completing 3 work terms, or 12 months of co-op work experience prior to graduation
Students admitted to the program will compete for work opportunities, just like they would during a “real world” job search. Therefore, we strive to admit well-rounded students who would be strong ambassadors for the program and campus. A student’s application should reflect this, with a strong focus on professionalism in content and format.
Please note: The Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program sees a significant number of applications every year, making the admission process competitive.
Transfer students are encouraged to connect to confirm eligibility.
Co-op fees help to cover operational costs of the Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program, including but not limited to: administration of the entire program, recruitment process for Co-op work opportunities, ongoing relationship development with new and existing industry & community employer partners, individual coaching for students, and staff salaries.
A one-time non-refundable UBC Co-op administration and workshop fee of $266.75* is required upon acceptance into the program. Indigenous students may be eligible for a fee waiver.
Each co-op work experience term is an approved UBC course (COOP), with an associated course tuition fee of $821.75*. The work term tuition fees are due at the beginning of each four-month work term. Positions for 8 or 12-month durations will be assessed a course fee for each four-month duration.
* Tuition fees posted are for the 2022-23 academic year. UBC fees are reviewed annually by the Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2%. The UBC Academic Calendar will be deferred to for any discrepancies.
Many students find the Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program provides good return on investment. Professional resumés services typically cost $100 to $200 for reviews, and career counsellors can charge $125 per hour for interview preparation. Students also find the co-op work term can financially support their education.
For more information on Co-op fees, please refer to the UBC Academic Calendar.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find detailed information from some of our most frequently asked questions to support your decision to consider and apply to the Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program. If you have additional questions and would like to connect with a Program Coordinator, please contact the Co-op Program Office.
Co-op typically added one year to a standard four-year degree. We recommend that you review the Co-op Sequencing Options and speak with a program coordinator to plan your personal co-op journey.
UBC Okanagan undergraduate students registered in COOP work term courses are responsible for withdrawing from academic courses for the periods when they are engaging in co-op work experience. In accordance with the UBC Co-operative Education Terms & Conditions, students are required to limit their enrollment in academic courses to those delivered outside of their employer’s business hours, and max one (1) course per work term and obtain permission from both employer and Faculty in conjunction with the Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program prior to commencing the course.
If a student wishes to obtain permission to take one (1) academic course*, they must read and follow the Additional Academic Course Request Guidelines and complete the Additional Course Request form.
Yes, co-op work experiences are paid employment opportunities. Wages do vary, and are competitive with market rates for the industry and type of position.
No, students are not guaranteed co-op work experience. Students are provided with support, training and coaching along with exclusive access to an online job board with applicable opportunities, but it is the students’ responsibility to select and apply to specific opportunities of interest and to secure a co-op position.
UBC Okanagan Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program continues to enhance, support, broaden and explore new relationships with community, and collaborate with partner organizations to develop a wide range of meaningful work experiences for students. The Co-op Program Office encourages students to explore the many regional opportunities available on the Co-op Job Board. These curated regional experiences offer students the opportunity to broaden their professional network with local employers, develop skills in-demand within the region, and build a resumé with professional experience to support their post-graduation career goals.
Co-op students have exclusive access to an online job board of available opportunities and have support to conduct an independent job search.
If a student finds their own job, that job must be approved by the Co-op Program Office to ensure it satisfies program requirements, which include the ability to provide meaningful learning opportunities, a supported workplace with supervision and paid, full-time employment for a minimum of 420 hours and 12 weeks for each co-op work term.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, UBCO Interdisciplinary Co-op students had the opportunity to work abroad and explore another country while gaining paid professional experience. With travel restrictions lifting, employers are beginning to hire internationally again. From May 2023, the Interdisciplinary Co-op Program will allow students to pursue international work term opportunities to countries that are deemed low risk by Global Affairs Canada travel advisories. Low-risk destinations are those with an advisory that states travelers should practice normal or increased security precautions. Destinations with an advisory that states travelers should avoid non-essential or all travel will not be approved for work term experiences. Most students opt to complete work terms in countries with similar conditions to Canada, or in a country where they have family or other established support network.
All Co-op work term opportunities must be vetted by the Co-op Office and meet the criteria of a Co-op position.
Hundreds of different employers have hired Interdisciplinary Co-op students. Students have worked in a range of positions in the public, private and non-profit sectors, from small to large organizations, and from a wide variety of industries. Employers and opportunities include:
- Digital media companies and marketing agencies
- Health care agencies
- Energy and mining companies
- Accounting firms
- Tourism and Hospitality
- Municipal, Provincial, and Federal government agencies
- Agriculture and forestry companies
- Non-profit organizations and social enterprises
- Art, design and entertainment companies
- Consulting firms
- Sport, recreation and wellness companies
- Food and beverage manufacturers
- Start-up companies
And many more!
Yes, students may work for different employers and in various positions, that all depends on how the opportunities present themselves. Positions are typically posted as a one term (4-month), two term (8-month) or three term (12-month) in length, so you may experience multiple companies throughout your time in co-op or work within one organization – both have their benefits. Students are encouraged to keep an open-mind when searching for opportunities and to plan ahead in order to have the flexibility to consider the variety of possibilities that may be presented.
Pre-employment & Career Readiness Training is designed to prepare students for the upcoming job search, interview process, and integration into your future co-op work terms. All students accepted into the UBC Okanagan Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program must participate in Pre-employment & Career Readiness Training which takes place upon acceptance into the Co-op Program during the Winter Term 1 and Term 2 Session. This essential programming is unique to students engaging in co-op experiences; we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to learn and develop core skills that will prepare you for whatever path you choose after graduation. Successful completion of Pre-employment & Career Readiness Training is a requirement for co-op work term eligibility. Attendance, participation and completion of all pre-employment and career readiness training activities and assignments is strongly encouraged.
The Program Office staff carefully design relevant training and resources on topics including:
- Resumé and cover letter writing skills
- Interview preparation
- Job search strategies
- Networking and professional relationship development
- Career management and career research strategies
- Professionalism and communication in the workplace
- Labour market information
- Work-term expectations and requirements
The Global Engagement Office and Co-op Program Office assist international students in applying for a Co-op work permit when first being admitted to the Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program. For instructions, required documents, and other important information about applying for or extending a co-op work permit visit this online UBC resource.
Note: Within the resources contact information for the Vancouver campus may be provided. For all Okanagan based students be use to connect with the UBCO Global Engagement Office.
If you have questions about your work permit eligibility, contact the Co-op Program Office.
Do you self-identify as Indigenous to Canada? Self-identification is a personal and voluntary process, and we ask in order to create an equitable and accommodating program. Interdisciplinary Co-op is committed to encouraging and supporting Indigenous students to participate in co-op and work-integrated learning opportunities through continued supports and strategies to create more equitable, inclusive, and empowering WIL experiences.
In addition to an assigned Co-op Coordinator, Indigenous students will have access to the Indigenous Co-op Coordinator for other unique Indigenous student needs. In addition, the co-op administration and workshop fee will be waived for Indigenous students in the program.
The Indigenous Co-op Coordinator can assist you with:
- Searching culturally relevant co-op work terms, internships and other opportunities.
- Connecting with Indigenous organizations and First Nations communities.
- Navigating Band funding and the process of participating in co-op
If you are unsure of how or why to self-identify, please visit this resource to better understand why we ask for (and protect) this information. You may also find more information on work-integrated learning for Indigenous students at this link.
To connect with our Indigenous Co-op Coordinator email us.
The Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program strives to be accessible. If you are seeking resources or have questions in regards to your co-op application, pre-employment and career readiness training, job search, interview preparations, or discussions with an employer, we encourage you to reach out to the program coordinators. The Disability Resource Centre is also available to support you throughout your co-op journey if you have questions specific to accommodations or your specific situation. The drop in schedule can be found here.
The DRC does their best to accommodate requests and note that some requests may require several weeks advance notice.
First and second year students are encouraged to focus on their academics and building community on and off campus. Students could consider gaining some part-time work experience or volunteerism. Experience doesn’t need to be related to your discipline, but can be a great way to build a competitive edge. Many students enter co-op with volunteer experience on campus, or having worked entry-level type positions.
Additional resources and supports are available to assist you in your participation of both on and off-campus career-related activities. We recommend you start your exploration of these activities with the Academic & Career Development Office.
If you would like to receive a reminder when applications open in September 2023 for the 2023-2024 academic year, please fill out the form below.
Need More Information?
If you have more questions about the Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program, please email us or book a call to meet with a Co-op Advisor.
At the heart of co-op work-integrated learning at UBC Okanagan is a desire to connect—through people and environments that expand our world view and enrich our learning, work, and daily lives. Co-op is an opportunity for diverse communities to come together in a shared purpose of collaborative learning.
The Interdisciplinary Co-op Education program is an invitation to both student and employer to partner and grow connections through work integrated learning that benefits communities.
As a student, you gain experience and learn by doing while deepening your skills, creating new relationships, and strengthening your resiliency and confidence. Community employer partners who hire Co-op students come from a broad range of sectors and workplaces, including public organizations, non-profit agencies and large corporations, to small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups.
The Interdisciplinary Co-op Education Program is diverse for students too—open to undergraduate students in Arts, Engineering, Fine Arts, Health & Exercise Science, Management, Media Studies, and Science.
Find a Degree Program & Apply
UBC’s Okanagan campus offers more than 50 bachelor programs, including dozens of majors, minors and interdisciplinary programs that cross departmental boundaries. Find one that is right for you.
“This co-op is probably one of the best things I could have undertaken to expose me to the health science industry.”
–Savannah, Bachelor of Human Kinetics student