Our Program

Established in 1981, the University of Alberta's Faculty of Engineering Co-op program is one of the largest programs of its type in Canada. Co-operative education is defined by CEWIL (the governing body for co-op and work-integrated learning programs in Canada) as an education program that "consists of alternating academic terms and paid work terms… [that] provide experience in a workplace setting related to the student's field of study" (CEWIL, 2021).

Cooperative education in engineering incorporates a paid, supervised work experience component into the undergraduate engineering degree program. Our students gain valuable, real-world experience through full-time employment in positions related to their field of study.

Completion of a degree with the Cooperative Program designation requires five years. In addition to the academic requirements of an undergraduate engineering degree, co-op students complete five four-month work terms.

Our co-op program is formally accredited by Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) and complies with a set of standards common to all accredited Canadian post-secondary cooperative education programs:

"Co operative Education Program" means a program which alternates periods of academic study with periods of work experience in appropriate fields of business, industry, government, social services and the professions in accordance with the following criteria:

  1. Each work term is developed in partnership with the employer and approved by the co-operative education program as a suitable learning environment;
  2. The student is engaged in productive work for which the student receives remuneration;
  3. The co-op curriculum supports student learning goals, personal evaluation and reflection;
  4. The student's performance in the workplace is supervised and evaluated by the student's employer;
  5. The student's progress during their work term is monitored by the co-operative education program;
  6. Both work and academic terms are full-time and follow a formalized sequence. The total amount of co-op work experience is normally at least 30% of the time spent in academic study. For programs of two years or less the total amount may be a minimum of 25%. A work term is defined as a minimum of 12 weeks and/or 420 hours full-time paid experience;
  7. Co-op programs begin and end on an academic term;
  8. The student completing multiple work terms is normally exposed to the work environment during more than one season of the year.

You can learn more about the Engineering Co-op Program requirements here.

Last update: August 31, 2023