Student FAQ

This FAQ has been developed to address common student questions and concerns regarding the Engineering Co-op Program. This page will be updated as additional information becomes available.

The Engineering Co-op Office is here to help. If your question or concern is not addressed here please reach out to a Co-op Program Advisor.

IMPORTANT: Due to a high volume of email messages, we request that students please contact one program advisor at a time with questions. Our team will work quickly to respond to your message as soon as possible.

COVID-19 FAQ

I'm feeling stressed, anxious, and isolated. I'd really like to talk to someone about this. Can you help?

If you are in crisis or need of immediate support, the following services are available 24/7:

ACCESS 24/7 at 780-424-2424

Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868

24 Hour Distress Line at 780-482-4357.

We understand that you may be finding it hard to adjust to the current situation for a number of reasons. There are resources available to help you navigate through this tough time. Counselling and Clinical Services at the University of Alberta is offering remote assistance to students seeking support.

Dr. Jasmine Bajwa Ph.D., R.Psych., the satellite Psychologist for the Faculty of Engineering, has recommended the following articles for additional tips and information which you may find helpful:

Psychological Coping during a Pandemic - Psychologists' Association of Alberta
COVID-19: How to respond constructively - Action for Happiness

Engineering at Alberta Wellness Program

University of Alberta Wellness

University of Alberta Wellness Resources (Google Drive)

My work term has ended early / will be starting late. Will I have enough hours to attain credit for my work term?

Winter 2021: Due to the ongoing uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have changed the required 420 hours for the work term to 280 for Winter 2021. Students on a Winter 2021 work term must complete a minimum of 280 hours for credit, assuming all other evaluation criteria are met. Working full time hours (35 hours per week minimum), this means you can start your winter co-op term as late as early March. You also have the option of starting earlier and working part time hours as long as you can reach the 280 hours for the term.

Summer 2021: We currently anticipate that students on a Summer 2021 work term will complete a full 420 hours. This may change as the current situation evolves. Additional information will be added here as it becomes available.

Should I still be looking for a job for the Winter 2021 work term? Are jobs still being posted? What happens if I don't get a job?

We understand it may feel daunting to find a work term placement in the current circumstances. Despite ongoing challenges, we want students to know that opportunities are still available and students continue to receive offers of employment for the winter term. We encourage you to continue your job search both on PlacePro and through independent means. You can track your own job search with the tracking sheet available in the Co-op Student Toolkit.

The expectation is that you will continue your winter job search until early March.

If you are unable to find a position by early March, decisions will be made at that time about waived positions, resequencing or, in the case of a second waived position, a move to the traditional program. We understand that this makes it very challenging in making decisions such as where to live, what to do if you don't get a job, and/or registering for classes. Please contact the co-op office if you have any questions or concerns.

How will interviews be conducted?

We will continue to schedule interviews and they will be held either via phone or on a digital platform such as SKYPE, ZOOM, WEBEX, Hirevue, Google hangouts, Microsoft Teams etc.

Should an employer contact you directly to arrange an interview, please notify the co-op staff member assigned to that company so that we are aware.

Please ensure that you have a computer with a web camera and microphone, and ensure that everything is in working order. If you do not have your own computer, you may be able to borrow a laptop through the Dean of Students Laptop Loan program. Please complete the form linked below to request more information about this program:

Dean of Students Laptop Loan Program - Application Form

What is the latest date I can start a Winter 2021 co-op position?
If you will be working full time, the latest date you can start is early March. Part-time employment will be permitted, but you will need to ensure completion of at least 280 hours of work.
How will my evaluations be handled?

You are still expected to complete all evaluation components of the work term. On-site evaluation meetings, which usually take place between week 7 and week 12 of your term, will likely take place over the phone or a digital platform such as SKYPE, ZOOM, WEBEX, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, etc.

You can still email your work term assignment and your final work term performance evaluation form to the co-op staff member who conducted your on-site evaluation meeting.

I have a work term scheduled for Summer 2021, what should I do?
At this time, we expect that Summer 2021 work terms will happen as usual. This may change as the current situation evolves. Additional information will be added here as it becomes available.
Are there any differences in the recruitment process for Summer 2021?

Due to the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in, we will continue to use a different process for the co-op recruitment for Summer 2021. We will NOT be using rank and match for this recruitment but will instead be proceeding directly into a continuous recruitment.

We decided to do this so as to not disadvantage our students in a situation where many schools are all competing to place their students in what we believe will be a much smaller selection of jobs.

We will have slightly different rules for this continuous recruitment:

  • Please closely review all positions prior to applying. Contact the co-op staff member for each posting with any questions before applying. You could be placed in any job you apply to very quickly
  • If there is a large disparity between what you are told at your interview and what you read in the job posting, and you wish to be removed from consideration, you must contact the co-op staff member assigned to the company within 24 hours of your interview. You must have a compelling reason for the removal to be allowed.
  • Students will be granted 48 hours maximum after receiving an offer to make a decision, although letting us know as soon as possible is best.
  • Students may decline one offer. After that the student is required to either accept the next offer they receive or they will have to find a job on their own for this work term. The work term will not be waived should you fail to find a job after declining two offers. Please keep in mind the tough economic reality we now find ourselves in when considering whether to accept an offer or not.
  • We encourage you to look outside of PlacePro for work as well. If you find an appropriate position, please let us know as soon as possible. Please ensure you keep track of all the jobs that you apply for on your own. A tracking document is available in the Co-op Student Toolkit.
Can I work internationally?

International placements are not allowed for Winter 2021 or Summer 2021. If you are able to work completely remotely for an international company that will be the only option.

International students may elect to return to their home country to work, but are advised that their return to Canada could be impacted by quarantine requirements and other travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information visit University of Alberta International.

My work term has been cancelled. What resources are available to help with my finances?

There are a number of resources to which students may apply - regular Employment Insurance, Employment Insurance related to being quarantined and an application for relief of student loan payments for up to 6 months. International Students please note that some of these resources may also be available for you to access.

Please visit the following sites for information and application procedures for these programs:

Employment Insurance – COVID-19
Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

The University of Alberta also offers advice and emergency funding for students. Please visit the following links for more information:

Office of the Registrar - Money Talks
Office of the Registrar - Financial FAQ

Do you have any tips for working at home?

There are some resources available at CEWIL which may be helpful:

CEWIL Canada - Tips for Working at Home

If you are looking for information which may be helpful to a potential employer, please visit the CEWIL COVID-19 Resources page.

General FAQ

Is the Co-op office open? How can I contact the Co-op Office?

Our campus office may be closed, but the Co-op Office team continues to work remotely to provide assistance to co-op students and employers. The easiest way to communicate with our office is via email: please visit our Contact Us page for email addresses.

If you would prefer a telephone or video chat conversation, we are happy to accommodate this. Please email us and we will arrange a time to call you.

IMPORTANT: Due to a high volume of email messages, we request that students please contact one co-op staff member at a time with questions. Our team will work quickly to respond to your message as soon as possible. If you are unsure who to direct your question to, please send a message to engineering.co-op@ualberta.ca and your email will be directed appropriately.

I can't remember my PlacePro login/password. Can you help?

You can retrieve your login information using the "forgot password" link on the student login page. You will be asked for your email address and PlacePro access code, uofastu. After submitting this information, the system will email your login credentials to you. Once you receive this email, please attempt your login again using the login information provided.

If you continue to experience login issues after completing this process, please contact the Co-op Office for further assistance.

I am an International Student and I haven't received my work permit yet. What should I do?

If you have not already done so, please ensure you apply for your work permits as soon as possible. Due to COVID-19 only online applications are being accepted and there may be delays.

Work Permit: How to apply

Co-op Work Permit COVID-19 Program Delivery (Updated January 19, 2021)

The Government of Canada announced temporary measures that provide students with the opportunity to begin their co-op work placement before their co-op work permit has been issued. Please visit University Alberta International for more information. Please consult with an advisor at University of Alberta International for information about work permits and what types of employment may be permitted on your study visa.

Can I resequence my program?

Students are expected to remain in their current sequence plan as scheduled and continue their job search as outlined below:

  • Winter Work Term job search will continue until mid-February
  • Summer Work Term job search will continue until mid-June
  • Fall Work Term job search will continue until mid-October

Specific deadline dates will be emailed to you in this regard for each recruitment, so keep looking for work until you hear from the co-op office.

Information and policy details about program resequencing can be found in the Co-op Student Handbook

Note: Due to COVID-19, the Winter 2021 job search deadline has been extended to early March.

Can I transfer to the traditional program?

Typically the internal transfer deadline is early March. Unless administrative changes are made to this process, students will have to wait until March 2021 to apply for a transfer. For more information, visit: Changing Programs - Engineering Students Seeking Admission to a Different Program.

If you are in the midst of a recruitment, you are expected to continue through the recruitment as you normally would until you receive an email from the co-op office advising when the coop recruitment will end - roughly the following dates:

  • Mid-February for Winter Term
  • Mid-June for Summer Term
  • Mid-October for Fall Term
I have had a work term waived. On my resume do I show my completed work terms out of 4 or 5?

For students who had a work term waived, when updating your resume for Completed Co-op Work Terms you may simply state the number completed.

For example: Completed Co-op Work Terms: X

It's getting close to the start of a work term period and I still don't have a job. Can I sign up for classes?

Students may register for classes as soon as registration is open on Bear Tracks. Note that Mechanical Engineering has later registration dates - their registration usually opens the middle of the month prior to the Work term start date. Please see Student Services: Registration Information to see the latest registration information.

Please note that registration for some classes may be restricted to student cohorts that are scheduled to attend certain classes at a specific point in their course sequence: these students will be given registration priority. Students who are unable to register for certain classes due to registration restrictions will need to register in alternative courses.

Students who are scheduled to be on a work term may choose to register in classes or electives that are available to them, but are reminded that they are expected to continue their job search until the deadlines communicated by the co-op office. Check here for general deadline information and refer to email communications from the coop office for specific deadline dates. Students must track their job application history for any opportunities applied to outside of PlacePro: see the Co-op Student Toolkit for a useful job application tracker.

Students who secure a work term placement while enrolled in classes should contact the co-op office immediately: our office will assist you in withdrawing from your current classes with no penalties.

I am moving to Alberta the participate in the co-op program. What do I need to know about my out-of-province / international Driver's licence?
Please see the Government of Alberta website for more information about driving in Alberta with a license from a different province/territory or country.

Recruitment FAQ

Can someone look at my resume / cover letter?

Use the resources you find in the Co-op Student Toolkit to work on updating your documents. These resources will help you to have the best resume/cover letter you possibly can. Learning how to do so yourself will serve you for the rest of your life.

Once you have done this, if you still require help you may have a Co-op Program Advisor assist you. In order to ensure that we are available to assist as many students as possible, please send your documents, questions, and requests to only one Co-op Program Advisor via email.

How do I calculate the GPA for my resume?

Students are to use their Fall GPA along with their GPA from other terms to calculate their cumulative GPA. Going forward, the winter 2020 term (CR/NR) will be left out of these calculations.

There are two ways to calculate your cumulative GPA for your co-op resume:

1. The simpler method, which will lead to a very close answer to the second method outlined in #2 below:

GPA = sum of each full course load term GPA divided by the number of terms (excluding WI2020).

2. The more accurate GPA which is calculated as below. If you have uneven course loads in different terms, you must use the following method:

Rules for Computing GPA

The GPA for any period is based on the final grades, including failing grades, in all courses taken during a specified period. GPA is calculated according to the following formula:

GPA = sum of [grade point value x units of course weight] divided by sum of units of course weight

Notes:

  • A re-examination mark or a deferred examination mark replaces the original final examination mark.
  • The revised final grade is included in the computation of the GPA.
  • When a student has a deferred, incomplete or a missing grade, the GPA is not computed until a final grade is reported.
  • Grades of IN5 are counted as numeric grades of 0.00 in the computation of any GPA.
  • Grades of W (withdrew) are excluded from the computation of the GPA.
  • Grades of CR and NC are not included in the computation of any GPA.
  • Any GPA is rounded to the nearest decimal place using standard rounding rules - that is it is rounded up with a value of 5 or greater in the first nonsignificant place and rounded down with a value of 4 or less in the first nonsignificant place.
I have a question about a particular job or company, who do I ask?

Please direct these questions to the co-op staff member responsible for that company or job. If the posting is in PlacePro, the staff member's name should be listed at the top of the job posting.

If you are uncertain who is responsible for a company or job posting, please contact the Engineering Co-op Office at engineering.co-op@ualberta.ca

I am a transfer student and don’t have a University of Alberta transcript. Do I need one from my previous school?
Yes. You will upload your most recent transcript from your previous school along with your most recent UAlberta transcript from Bear Tracks, when one is available.
What transcript do I use?

Your unofficial transcript from Bear Tracks is suitable for use for job applications in PlacePro. At the start of each semester, upload your most recent University of Alberta transcript, even if some grades are missing. When those grades are available you will need to upload an updated copy of your transcript.

How to obtain Unofficial Transcripts from Bear Tracks

What does "level" mean in PlacePro?

The level number on each job posting indicates the work term(s) that the job posting is appropriate for. Do not apply to jobs that do match your current work term level. If you are in a more junior level but have advanced qualifications (another degree or trade or job experience), you may apply upwards as long as your skills correlate with what the job posting is looking for.

If you apply for a job that is less than your level and get it there is a chance it will NOT count for your co-op credit.

If you think there may be an error in the level of a posting contact the co-op staff member listed at the top of the job posting.

How many jobs should l apply on?

This will vary from student to student, and will depend on factors such as: the kinds of jobs you are applying to, duration of your work term, and the experience you already possess.

Employers generally try to hire senior students (work term 4 / 5) for 8-month work terms first, so more opportunities for those students are posted in round one. Economic circumstances and uncertainty may also impact the number of roles available to apply on at a given time.

Keep an open mind and only apply to jobs that you would be willing to take if offered. Consider work term length, job location, and job level when applying. First work term students are strongly encouraged to apply very generously on co-op postings.

How often are jobs posted? Is that all there are?

Each semester, we will continue to develop and add co-op opportunities to PlacePro until students are all placed, or until the middle of the second month of that semester if students remain unplaced.

  • Winter Work Term job postings will be added until mid-February
  • Summer Work Term job postings will be added until mid-June
  • Fall Work Term job postings will be added until mid-October

Check PlacePro regularly to view new opportunities.

The job says I have to apply to both PlacePro and go to the company website and apply there too, why?

Some companies, especially the very large ones, use an applicant tracking system (ATS) as part of their recruitment process. To be considered for opportunities with these companies, you must submit your application using the company's ATS.

Engineering Co-op Students must also apply on PlacePro for job application tracking purposes. Please note that the Engineering Co-op Office may also send a packet to the company through PlacePro, in addition to the applications submitted directly to the company via their ATS.

Should I write a cover letter?

A cover letter is not required as part of your default application portfolio, which is what you will use for most co-op job applications in PlacePro.

If a company requires you to submit a cover letter as part of your application this will be clearly stated in the application instructions. Ensure you have one in this case. You will need to make a separate portfolio for each application requiring a cover letter.

When applying to opportunities advertised outside of PlacePro you should always include a cover letter as part of your application.

Cover letters require time and effort to write well: please take this into consideration if you choose to write a cover letter for PlacePro jobs where it is not requested. Please refer to the Cover Letter Template in the Engineering Employment Centre Resource Vault for tips on writing an effective cover letter.

I am writing a cover letter but I don't know the company address or who to send it to.

If a contact name or company address is not included in the job posting, a bit of research online may turn up the information you need. Check the company website or LinkedIn page for an address you can use on your cover letter.

Often PlacePro contacts are HR managers who then disseminate the applicant packet to various managers. If you're unable to identify a contact for a posting you're applying to on PlacePro, you can use one several options for the Salutation:

Dear Hiring Manager:
Dear Hiring Committee:
Dear Campus Recruiter
I want to apply for longer work terms than what I am scheduled for (eg - 8 months instead of 4, 12 instead of 8). Can I do this?

Students are expected to work within the framework of their program, so, no it is not advised to do this.

Resequencing is not always approved and, if it is, you are not always able to sign up for classes because priority always lies with students who remain in their original sequence. As well, in order to obtain credit for your work terms you must complete certain academic terms first. Please refer to the Resequencing Rules and Considerations in the Student Handbook for more information.

Can I rescind an application?

You are able to rescind an application up until the deadline date posted in PlacePro.

To rescind an application, uncheck the "Apply" checkbox in PlacePro and click "Save" on your job search results. Be sure to refresh your search results in PlacePro and go back to check that your application status for the job in question was saved successfully.

Students are unable to remove themselves from consideration for a posting after the deadline date has passed.

If I am no longer interested in a particular job, can I choose not to attend an interview?

Students must attend all interviews they are scheduled for. If an interview is refused, this will be considered the same as a decline of a job offer. Students who refuse an interview will have to accept the next job offer they receive. If the next job offer is also declined, the student will:

  1. no longer have access to jobs in PlacePro for the balance of the work term; and
  2. be expected to find a suitable work term placement on their own.

Students who do not find a job on their own in this circumstance will be required to resequence - a waive will not be granted.

EXCEPTION: If you are scheduled for an interview and your interview time slot conflicts with an exam you must notify the co-op office immediately with the conflicting exam date and time. We will help you to reschedule your interview.

What should I do to prepare for an interview?

The most important thing you can to to prepare for an interview is to thoroughly research the company and the position you are interviewing for. To be successful in the interview, you need to understand what skills and competencies the company is looking for and be able to articulate how your experience makes you a good fit for the role.

Be sure to have your reference list updated and ready to provide during, or immediately afterwards, should they be requested by the employer.

Access resources to help with interview preparation from the following sources:

eClass (first work term students)

Co-op Student Toolkit

EEC Resource Vault

At the interview I discovered that the job was not what I expected based upon the job description and I no longer wish to work there. What do I do?
Talk to the co-op staff member who is the owner of the job immediately (within 24 hours of the interview). You must have a compelling reason for this to be considered.

Work Placement FAQ

I have a co-op job - what do I need to do now?

Congratulations! Please follow the guidelines of the Work Term Checklist which you can find in the Co-op Student Toolkit.

Please continue checking your ualberta.ca email since we will be communicating with you using this email address. You may be instructed to update PlacePro information via these emails.

What if I get a job outside of the Co-op Office?

Congratulations! If you are offered a job outside of the recruitment organized by the co-op office, please notify us immediately. We'll need the following information to update your work term placement record in PlacePro:

  • Company Name
  • Job Description / information on the nature of the job
  • A copy of your offer letter, if available.
What do I have to do during my work term to pass?

You are graded for each 4 month work term block. These grades are pass/fail and are based on 3 components:

  1. An Interim Onsite Evaluation, conducted in person or virtual/phone (Students on 8-month work terms will have one on-site visit during the first four months of their work term. Students on 12-month work terms will have two on-site visits: one in the first four months and a second during the last four months.)
  2. A Work Term Report you must complete.
  3. A Final Evaluation Form needs to be completed by your employer and yourself.
How do I set up the onsite visit?

Once you have started your job, be sure to update your student profile in PlacePro with details about your work location and contact information, as well as your supervisor name and contact information. This information can be added/updated in PlacePro under Profile: scroll down to view and update the Work Address text box.

Midway through the second month of your work term (about 6-7 weeks into the term) you will be contacted by a co-op staff member to arrange potential dates for a meeting. See the Work Term Checklist in the Co-op Student Toolkit for more information.

To prepare for your onsite visit, compile a list of tasks, projects and work responsibilities that you have completed/are currently contributing to during your work term. This is a great conversation starting point for the onsite meeting. You can expect the meeting to be approximately 45-60 minutes long.

What if I am having problems with my work term prior to the onsite meeting

Early, clear communication is often the key to resolving any issues that may arise. If you are experiencing difficulties on your work term, contact the co-op office immediately. A member of our team will connect with you as soon as possible to discuss the issues you are experiencing and work with you and your supervisor to come to a resolution.

If you are in Crisis and are in need of immediate support, the following services are available 24/7:

Crisis Services Canada

24 Hour Distress Line: 780-482-4357

ACCESS 24/7 at 780-424-2424

University of Alberta Sexual Assault Centre

When is a final evaluation form due?

Final Evaluation Forms are due at the end of each 4-month work term - the end of April, August, and December for the Winter, Summer, and Fall work terms, respectively.

Please note that if you are on an 8- or 12-month work term, your employer will need to submit a final evaluation form at the end of each 4-month portion.

Can I take classes while on a work term?

Provided it does not interfere with work hours, students are permitted to take a maximum of one course during each 4-month work term block.

In the event that there is any crossover between the course and work term working hours, a student must obtain permission to take the course from both the employer/supervisor and the co-op office.

Update for the Summer 2021 Work Term: For students who will be on a work term for Summer 2021, an exception has been made to allow students to take up to two courses during their work term. Eligible courses must be delivered online and must not interfere with the employer's work requirements. In the event that a midterm or final exam is scheduled during regular working hours, a student must obtain permission to take the course from both the employer/supervisor and the co-op office before proceeding.

WIll my co-op hours apply towards my P.Eng?

When applying for a professional member license after graduation and time as an EIT, the Board of Examiners (BOE) may give you work experience credit for experience you had obtained (after completing year two) before completing your engineering degree. APEGA determines this though so it may be only a portion of the 12 months or even none at all. Please see Professional Registration Requirements in the Student Handbook.

It is important to document your experience to make this process easier later on. More information can be found on the APEGA website APEGA Pre-Graduate Work Experience.

I have an out of province job - what do I do about healthcare?
All provinces except Quebec have reciprocal agreements and you can use your Alberta Health Care Card for up to 12 months. There may be some changes to how payments and claims are processed. Visit the Government of Alberta website for further information
Last Update: February 22, 2021