How Co-op Works

The Co-op Program offers students the chance to work in a full-time or part-time, paid position related to UBC iSchool professions for a 4 or 8-month period.

Work terms are a minimum of 420 hours or 12 weeks in length, although most employers hire students for 12-16 weeks (4 months). You must complete at least 1 mandatory work term and have the option to complete up to 3 work terms. Depending on your program schedule, you may complete 1, 4-month work term, 2 consecutive 4-month work terms, or 2 separate 4-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.

Applying to the UBC iSchool Co-op Program:

  • 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 degree) 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 2 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.

You will go through a “real world” competitive process to secure co-op positions with support from co-op staff. This means that you are not guaranteed a position. As a co-op student, you will have access to a database of postings, choose which positions to apply for, and submit applications via the Co-op Office. Employers review applications, select the candidates they would like to interview, and make any job offers through the Co-op Office.

On average, 50% of UBC iSchool co-op jobs will require a move to a city outside of Metro Vancouver. Most jobs are in other areas of Canada, and some international positions are in places such as Switzerland and Australia.

The numbers and types of jobs posted reflect the Canadian library, archives, and information studies job market at the time. As Metro Vancouver is not a big enough market to offer the range of experiences UBC iSchool co-op students want, co-op staff market the program to employers across Canada and around the world to ensure the widest range and largest number of positions the current job market can provide for each work term. If you are able to relocate, you will be able to apply to more positions.

Those interested in taking part in co-op are highly 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 requirements.

A significant percentage of summer positions are also restricted to Canadians or permanent residents between the ages of 16-30 due to youth employment funding programs (e.g. in Summer 2012, 38% of positions had this restriction).

Sometimes you will work in environments with many other professionals in your field (e.g., a public library), and sometimes you are 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 become 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 Arts Co-op Graduate Programs Co-op Coordinator. Successful completion of each work term is 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.

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

There is a one-time co-op administration and workshop fee of $256.75* due when you are accepted into the program in November (the standard amount for all UBC Co-op programs). This fee provides unlimited access to customized career coaching with co-op staff, customized online career development resources, and an all-day workshop to prepare you for applying to co-op positions in UBC iSchool professions. 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 2020/21 academic year. For the latest fee information, visit the UBC Calendar.

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 $16-23 per hour. Wages vary greatly depending on the sector, e.g. some non-profits pay less than government positions. Wages are based on current labour market realities and are up to the employer to determine.

UBC iSchool co-op students can expect to earn on average over $12,500 per 4-month work term.