How Co-op Works

Co-operative education is a curricular program that allows you to develop career skills for work outside the traditional academic career path for PhD grads. Co-op provides you with a pre-employment conference and online guides tailored to your unique needs to hone your job search skills for alternative career options, support from professional co-op staff during your job search and work terms, and access to a wide range of co-op jobs in a range of industries across Canada.

The PhD Co-op Programs are run jointly by each academic department and the Arts Co-op Office. The Co-op Coordinator for Graduate Programs for the Arts Co-op Program is Dr. Letitia Henville. In each department, the PhD Co-op option is co-run by:

  • English: Tiffany Potter and Liz Hodgson
  • History: Paige Raibmon
  • Philosophy: Roberta Ballarin
  • Germanic Studies: Kyle Frackman
  • Gender, Race, and Social Justice: Becki Ross

Co-op Course fees: English, History, Philosophy, and Germanic Studies have committed to support PhD students entering the Co-op Program in Fall 2020 by paying their $790.00 co-op course fee (2020/21) for each of the students’ first 3 work terms in order to help them gain experience outside of academia and develop their skills through co-op.

GRSJ has funding to cover the co-op course fees for one student’s first 3 work terms. The program is still determining the criteria they will use to determine the recipient of this fee subsidy. More details will be made available to GRSJ students in advance of the co-op application deadline.

Co-op Administration and Workshop Fee: Students in English, History, Philosophy, and GRSJ will need to pay the one-time co-op administration and workshop fee of $256.75 when they are accepted into the program in Fall 2020 (the standard amount set by UBC Senate 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. For students in Germanic Studies, the department is able to cover this fee for you in 2020. Note that this fee does not guarantee placement in a co-op job.

Tuition: While on co-op, students pay their regular tuition and additional student fees 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. Students can also use any normal tuition awards for which they are eligible during their co-op work terms.Note that SSHRC funding can be paused and deferred for up to two work-terms, and that the UBC Four-Year Fellowship must be paused while students are on a work term.

Previous PhD co-op students have been paid $20-30 per hour. Wages vary depending on the sector; for example, some non-profits pay less than government positions. Wages are based on current labour market realities and are up to the employer to determine.

On your work terms, you can expect to earn $3,000-4,200/month directly by your employer. TA entitlements will be held for you while you are away on co-op terms.

Once accepted into the Co-op Program, international students apply for a special co-op work visa from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This will entitle you to work in Canada for your 3 co-op terms. There is no cost to apply for this visa. The Co-op Office is arranging an optional information session with advisors from UBC’s International House to provide you with further information; details about this information session will be available during the September 10 international student info session.

Co-op students will add three 4-month work-terms to their degree, which will add one additional year to the length of your PhD unless you can write while on your work terms. UBC Graduate Studies has agreed that length-of-degree requirements will not be affected by co-op work terms. While on co-op terms, you will be registered in co-op courses (which do not count towards the academic requirements for your degree, but provide additive co-op credits). Upon completion of the program you will have an official co-op accreditation.

Research on co-op programs has shown that students typically return to their studies after co-op terms highly motivated and increasingly successful in their studies (marks, completion rates, etc.).