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What is a Co-op program?

Want to earn a salary while you study? Cooperative education, also known as Co-op, is a game-changer for international students looking to study at a university in Canada or the USA.

Keep reading to learn more about Co-op — available at the University of Victoria (UVic) and other universities across North America.

University Co-op: earn while you learn

Co-op is a program that combines classroom education with valuable paid work experience. It gives you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in your field of interest while studying.

During your Co-op work terms, you can apply your classroom knowledge in professional settings, gain practical skills and network with professionals.

For example, if you’re a Computer Science student focusing on software, you can apply for a Co-op position as a software engineer, giving you direct professional experience in your field of interest.

Students with Co-op experience also have a greater chance of securing employment in North America after graduation due to their insights into local work culture. This practical knowledge is important to employers because it shows that they’re familiar with the expectations specific to the local workplace.

A typical* undergraduate Co-op schedule with four work terms might be structured like this:

Chart, Plot, Text

*This is just a sample — Co-op coordinators help each student find a schedule that works for them. It’s worth noting that some Co-op programs may require you to take additional time to complete your degree.

In Canada, international students with a study permit can work part-time (less than 20 hours a week) without a work permit. If you want to work full-time in Canada or be part of a Co-op, you’ll need to apply for a work permit. In the USA, international students with an F-1 visa must get work authorization — called Curricular Practical Training (CPT) — to participate in Co-op.

The financial support provided during work terms can help with the cost of tuition fees and living expenses, allowing you to focus more on your studies and professional development!

Student salaries vary depending on any previous experience, industry and job responsibilities The salary you’ll earn will vary depending on your previous work experience, industry and specific job responsibilities during Co-op work terms.

UVic’s exceptional Co-op program

With years of experience, the University of Victoria has established strong connections with industry partners, both locally and globally. The University offers a wide range of hands-on opportunities, ranking as the #1 comprehensive university in Canada for preparing career-ready students (THE Global University Employability Ranking 2023-2024).

86% of Co-op students find full-time work within 3 months of graduating

University of Victoria

Undergraduate Co-op students earn an average of CAD$3,287 per month

University of Victoria

1,300+ employers hire UVic Co-op students every year

University of Victoria

At UVic, the tuition fees for Co-op work terms are lower than the price of regular courses. The international student fees are as follows:

  • Undergraduate Business and Engineering students: CAD$755 per term
  • All other undergraduate students: CAD$1,510 per term
  • Graduate students in all programs: CAD$976 per term

Throughout the duration of your program, you can get up to 16 months of paid employment and earn an average of CAD$50,000. After graduating, you can then apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP), which allows you to live and work in Canada for up to three years!

Launch your career in Canada with Kaplan

If you would also like to benefit from UVic’s Co-op program, Kaplan can help! We are here to guide you through the university application process and find a degree program that is best for you.

To learn more, get in touch with one of our advisors, and they will be happy to help you explore your options

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