Student COVID-19 FAQ

This FAQ has been developed to address common student questions and concerns regarding COVID-19 in relation to 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 coordinator.

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

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 in need of immediate support, please phone ACCESS 24/7 at 780-424-2424, the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, or the 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
Engineering Co-op students can now connect with Co-op Coordinators in our virtual office. Click here for more information.
Is the Co-op office open? How can I contact a Coordinator?

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 coordinator at a time with questions. Our team will work quickly to respond to your message as soon as possible. If you are unsure which Coordinator to contact, please use the general Co-op email address and your email will be directed appropriately.

Engineering Co-op students can now connect with Co-op Coordinators in our virtual office. Click here for more information.

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

Fall 2020: Students on a fall 2020 work term must complete a minimum of 280 hours (approximately 8 weeks) for credit, assuming that all other evaluation criteria are met. Working full-time hours (35 hours per week minimum), this means you can start your fall co-op term as late as early November (taking employer December Holiday arrangements into account). You can also start earlier and work part-time hours - as long as you can reach the 280 hours for the term. 

Winter 2020: We currently anticipate that students on a Winter 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 Fall 2020 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 fall 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 Toolkit.

The expectation is that you will continue your fall job search until mid-October.

If you are unable to find a position, by mid-October, decisions will be made at that time about waived positions or resequencing. 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 us 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 coordinator for 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 Fall co-op position?

If you will be working full time, the latest date you can start is early November. Part-time employment will be permitted, but you will need to ensure completion of at least 280 hours of work.

What if I don't have a job for my Fall 905 term?

At this time you should plan to continue to seek a Fall 2020 co-op term until early November.  Any updates to this information will appear here as the Fall term progresses. The requirements have been changed so you only need to have 280 hours for Fall 2020 to be eligible for credit. This means you can start as late as early November if you are working full time hours and work until the end of December (taking employer December Holiday arrangements into account.)

Can I sign up for Fall 2020 classes or electives? How will they be delivered?

Registration for Fall 2020 classes and electives is open. Please note that some classes are limited by who is scheduled to be in them and they will be given registration priority: if you can’t sign up for certain classes it means there is not enough room and you will have to find alternatives.

If you are due to be on a work term and choose to register for any classes or electives that are available to you, please keep in mind that you are expected to continue searching for suitable work for your term until early November (remember to keep a record of opportunities you have applied to outside of PlacePro). If you are successful in your job search, we will be able to withdraw you from the classes with no penalties. All Fall classes will be delivered online.
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 Coordinator who conducts/conducted your on-site evaluation meeting.

Can I resequence my program?

At this time, you are expected to continue in your plan as scheduled and keep up your job search for the Fall. Resequence requests will not be considered until late November once the Associate Dean has made a decision with regards to the waiving or resequencing of your Fall 2020 work term. 

One exception would be if you find your own job for Fall but you are already scheduled to be in courses. Contact a Co-op Coordinator  with your offer information to request a resequence form.

Can I transfer to the traditional program?

At this time you are expected to proceed through the recruitment as you normally would, applying for jobs and trying to secure work that starts prior to early November (minimum 280 work hours required).

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

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
I have a work term scheduled for Winter 2021, what should I do?

At this time, we expect that Winter 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 the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021?

Due to the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in, we are changing how we run the recruitment for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021. We will NOT be using the rank and match for these recruitments but will instead be proceeding directly into a continuous recruitment (second round).

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 coordinator for each posting with any questions before applying. You could be placed in any job you apply to very quickly
  • If you interview and find a large disparity from what you read in the posting and wish to be removed from consideration, you will need to contact the co-op coordinator within 24 hours of the 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.
  • 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 Toolkit
Can someone look at my resume / cover letter?

Co-op Coordinators will be able to provide services remotely to assist with your job search.

In order to ensure that coordinators are available to assist as many students as possible, please send your documents, questions, and requests to only one co-op coordinator. Contact a coordinator.

If you have already completed a work term, please send your documents to the Coordinator who conducted your most recent onsite evaluation.

Several resources, including handouts covering resume-writing and interview preparation, are available in the Co-op Student Toolkit.

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 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

  1. The GPA for any period is based on the final grades, including failing grades, in all courses taken during a specified period.
  2. 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
  3. A reexamination mark or a deferred examination mark replaces the original final examination mark. The revised final grade is included in the computation of the GPA.
  4. When a student has a deferred, incomplete or a missing grade, the GPA is not computed until a final grade is reported.
  5. Grades of IN5 are counted as numeric grades of 0.00 in the computation of any GPA.
  6. Grades of W (withdrew) are excluded from the computation of the GPA.
  7. Grades of CR and NC are not included in the computation of any GPA.
  8. 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 coordinator responsible for that company or job. If the posting is in PlacePro, the coordinator name should be listed at the top of the job posting. If you are uncertain which coordinator is responsible for a company or job posting, please contact the Co-op Office front desk at

Can I work internationally?

International Placements are not allowed for Fall 2020 and, although the Winter 2021 recruitment will have a definite answer later, it is likely it also will not be allowed. If you are able to work completely remotely for an international company that will be the only option.

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, the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) 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:

Canada Emergency Student Benefit

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

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.

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

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.

Last Update: September 10, 2020