Established in 1981, the Engineering at Alberta Engineering Co-op program is one of the largest programs of it’s 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, 2020).
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:
- Each work term is developed in partnership with the employer and approved by the co-operative education program as a suitable learning environment;
- The student is engaged in productive work for which the student receives remuneration;
- The co-op curriculum supports student learning goals, personal evaluation and reflection;
- The student's performance in the workplace is supervised and evaluated by the student's employer;
- The student's progress during their work term is monitored by the co-operative education program;
- 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;
- Co-op Programs begin and end on an academic term;
- The student completing multiple work terms is normally exposed to the work environment during more than one season of the year.