UBC iSchool Co-op

The iSchool Co-op Program is for graduate students in the Master of Archival Studies (MAS), Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS), or Dual MAS/MLIS programs.

Graduate students will have the opportunity to gain paid work experience in their field of interest, giving them the chance to enhance their academic studies with practical experience.

If you are interested in applying for UBC iSchool Co-op, please review the details below.

You are eligible to apply to UBC iSchool Co-op if:

  • You are in or about to begin your first term at UBC iSchool*
  • You are a full-time UBC student (part-time students will be considered if they are available for full-time co-op terms)
  • You plan on starting your first co-op work term once you have earned between 21 to 30 credits of your Master’s degree

* If you are starting your degree program in January, you must apply to co-op in the Fall term prior to that January start date. However, if you are starting the dual degree program in January, you may apply to co-op in the Fall term prior to your start date, or after your January start date. Please contact the Arts Co-op office if you need clarification regarding this.

Review the 2023/24 Program Guide for detailed information.

You will be admitted to UBC iSchool co-op if:

  • Your application is complete and submitted to the Arts Co-op Office on time (late and/or incomplete applications will not be considered)
  • You meet the eligibility requirements for the program
  • In some cases, an interview with co-op staff may be required for clarification before a student is admitted to the program. Preference will be given to students who are able to relocate, are open to completing more than one co-op work term, and those whose work interests are flexible.

Once students are accepted into UBC iSchool Co-op, the Arts Co-op Education Manager will review the student cover letters and resumes submitted in the application package and provide students with suggestions for ways to develop and improve their cover letters and resumes prior to their co-op job search.

If you have any questions about the application process, please attend our in-person information session held in September of each year. You will hear from the Co-op Education Manager and current co-op students about their experiences.

If you are accepted into the Arts Co-op Program, you will be asked to sign and submit a Terms & Conditions document that details your responsibilities as a co-op student, and the Program’s guidelines.

View the 2023 Terms & Conditions.

How UBC iSchool Co-op Works

The Co-op Program offers students the chance to work in full-time, paid positions related to UBC iSchool professions.

Students must complete at least one mandatory work term, with the option to complete up to three work terms.

Work terms are a minimum of 420 hours or 12 weeks in length, although most employers hire students for 12-16 weeks (four months). Depending on your program schedule, you may complete one, four-month work term, two consecutive four-month work terms, or two separate four-month work terms. As a result of participating in co-op, completing your degree will typically take 24-32 months, rather than the usual 20 months.

You should apply for the UBC iSchool Co-op Program depending on when you enter the UBC iSchool:

  • If you enter UBC iSchool in September, apply to co-op in your first term at the iSchool.
  • If you enter UBC iSchool in January, apply to co-op in the term before your degree begins.

For students completing the standalone MAS or MLIS program, you must complete at least 21 credits (including core courses) and not more than 30 credits prior to starting your first co-op work position.

For students completing the Dual degree MAS/LIS, you must complete at least 21 credits (including core courses for one of the MAS or MLIS degrees) and not more than 51 credits prior to starting your first co-op work position. You are encouraged to apply to positions as soon as you are eligible, as it may take more than one term of applying to positions for you to land a co-op job.

Normally, you are not allowed to graduate on a co-op work term. Exceptions may be granted to students who complete one or two co-op work terms earlier in their UBC iSchool degree program and wish to seek an additional co-op work term experience.

The Co-op Office provides one, all-day, mandatory conference, facilitated by UBC iSchool co-op employers, alumni, and current students, to help you prepare and compete for co-op jobs. This workshop typically occurs during the first two weeks of January.

If you are not able to attend a workshop on a Saturday for religious or medical reasons, you must let co-op staff know well in advance so other arrangements can be made.

With support from co-op staff, you will go through a competitive process to secure co-op positions, similar to a typical job search outside co-op or after graduation. This means that you are not guaranteed a position. As a co-op student, you will have access to our database of job postings, choose which positions to apply for, and submit applications via the Co-op Office. Employers then review applications, select the candidates they wish to interview, and make job offers through the Co-op Office. You will most likely need to apply for several jobs in order to land a co-op job.

The numbers and types of jobs posted reflect the Canadian library, archives, and information studies job market at any given time. As Metro Vancouver is not a big enough market to offer the full range of experiences that UBC iSchool co-op students seek, our co-op staff market the program to employers across Canada to ensure that a wide variety of positions are available for each work term. If you are able to relocate, you may have more opportunities.

Students interested in taking part in co-op are encouraged to think about how you will accommodate relocating for a co-op work term, such as finding accommodation in Vancouver that allows for subletting while you are away.

Some jobs, such as those within the Canadian federal government, are restricted to Canadian citizens for security clearance reasons. Some summer positions are also restricted to Canadians or permanent residents between the ages of 16-30 due to youth employment funding programs (for instance Young Canada Works).

Sometimes you will work in environments with many other professionals in your field (e.g., a public library). Other times you will be hired as subject experts and work independently as the only information professional in the workplace (e.g., as records managers for a private business).

In both situations, you are a regular employee in the workplace and are expected to complete assigned work and participate in workplace activities with other employees. As a result, you will get in-depth exposure to a particular workplace and to a range of tasks generally related to your field of interest.

During work terms, you will complete a series of career building assignments marked by co-op staff. You will also participate in mid-point and end of term evaluations with the Co-op Education Manager. Successful completion of each work term will be noted on your transcript.

Although you are encouraged to focus on your co-op position while on a work term, UBC iSchool students are able to take some credits during this time. To view UBC iSchool’s policy on the number of credits you can take while on a co-op work term, please refer to UBC iSchool’s Co-operative Education page.

Students on a Co-op work term are expected to focus on the work instead of their studies. A student on a full-time co-op work term may enroll in no more than 3 credits of course work (including audit) per co-op term. For students on a part-time co-op work term of 17-23 hours per week, 6 credits per term are permitted. Please consult your Co-op Education Manager if you have questions about taking classes while working.

UBC iSchool co-op students will have access to co-op staff for individual career advising appointments, enabling you to develop career skills that will be of use during your co-op job search, work term, and after graduation.

While co-op can be a good method to assist students in financing their degree, money should not be the primary consideration for participating in the program.

The average UBC iSchool co-op wage range is $22-28 per hour. Wages vary considerably depending on the sector; for example, some non-profits pay less than government positions. Wages are based on current labour market conditions, as well as collective agreements in some workplaces, and are up to the employer to determine. The living wage for Metro Vancouver in 2023 is $25.68 per hour.

UBC iSchool co-op students can expect to earn on average over $13,725 per 4-month work term.

There is a one-time co-op administration and workshop fee of $277.25*(the standard amount for all UBC Co-op programs). This is due when you are accepted into the program in November. This fee covers unlimited access to customized career coaching with co-op staff, online career development resources, and an all-day workshop to prepare you for applying to co-op positions in UBC iSchool professions. Please note that this fee does not guarantee placement in a co-op job.

While on work terms, UBC iSchool co-op students continue to pay regular graduate tuition and student fees to UBC, and are considered full-time students eligible for student benefits such as the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan, the U-Pass, UBC resources and services such as library material, and student housing.

A portion of students’ tuition fees is returned to the Co-op Office and helps to cover the costs of co-op staff to market the program, secure job placements, participate in site visits, and evaluate students’ co-op learning assignments and evaluations at the end of work terms.

Each co-op work term appears on your transcript as a non-academic co-op credit placement course (Arts Studies 501, 502, or 503).

* As of the 2024/25 academic year. For the latest fee information, visit the UBC Calendar.

Employers & Roles

Employers hire co-op students based on their experience, skills, and career interests; your degree is only one of many factors. The positions you choose to apply and compete for are up to you, your interests, and current skill set.

Below are just some of the types of roles and employers previous co-op students have worked in.

  • Archival work & records management
  • Collection evaluation & needs assessment
  • Database design & search functionality
  • Indexing & classification
  • Instruction, programming & reference services
  • Metadata creation & resource descriptions
  • Research & analysis
  • Web design & content development

  • Artefactual
  • BC Electronic Library Network (BC ELN)
  • BC Hydro
  • Camrose Public Library
  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Canadian Wildlife Service
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Halifax Public Library
  • Legislative Library of BC
  • Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, UBC
  • Richmond Museum
  • Simon Fraser University Library & Archives
  • UBC Library & Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
  • UBC Woodward Library
  • University of Guelph
  • University of Victoria Libraries & Archives
  • West Vancouver Memorial Library

Apply to Co-op

Applications are closed for the 2023/2024 intake. We will announce details for the 2024/25 intake by early September 2024. Please note that there is only 1 intake per academic year.

Application FAQs

October: Application deadline

November: Offers to join Arts Co-op

December: Training and one-on-one coaching begins

January: One-on-one training and coaching continues throughout January. Begin applying for summer co-op positions

May: Start your first co-op work term and/or begin applying for fall jobs

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