Please find frequently asked questions about the undergraduate Arts Co-op Program below.

If you have a question that is not addressed here, please feel free to visit our office at Buchanan C121.

You are also encouraged to email us at arts.co-op@ubc.ca

To receive a co-op designation on your UBC transcript, you need to complete 3 work terms. Work terms are 4 months in length. At least one work term must be completed during the winter academic session, so most students complete their degree in 4.5 to 5 years. While it may take you longer to complete your degree, you’ll graduate with 12 months of paid work experience and be ahead of the game!

You are responsible for determining your work/academic plan with these general guidelines in mind:

  • Complete 3 required work terms; additional work terms may be completed with special permission
  • Complete at least 1 work term during the fall or winter terms; you cannot work during the summer only
  • Complete no more than 2 consecutive work terms
  • End your degree on an academic term
  • Complete a co-op work term within the first year of being in the Co-op Program
  • Whenever possible, complete one co-op work term before going on exchange. It’s much easier to do interviews in person and meet with the co-op staff for support when you’re in Vancouver

Use the following as a guide to determine a schedule based on your courses and other UBC plans:

1st Study Study Break
2nd (or 3rd) Study & Apply to Co-op
Attend Conference 1
Attend Conference 2 & 3
Co-op Term 1
3rd Co-op Term 2 Study Co-op Term 3
4th Study Co-op Term 4 (optional) Study
5th Study Study

On average, Arts Co-op students earn $30,000 over 3 work terms.

Co-op students typically earn $14.60-21 an hour, but wages can vary greatly depending on the sector you’re working in, your previous experience, and your level of responsibility in the position. Here is an approximate breakdown by hourly wage (minimum wage in BC is $14.60 an hour as of June 1, 2020):

  • Non-profit organizations: $14.60-$18.00
  • Private business: $14.60-$21.00 (wages can be higher in the high-tech sector, but are not the average)
  • Government: $16.00-24.00 (senior co-op students will earn more than junior co-op students)

While co-op can be a good method to assist you in financing your degree, money should not be the primary consideration for participating in the program. Wages are based on current labour market realities, are up to the employer to determine, and are common with most Arts Co-op Programs across the province.

Absolutely! In fact, we ask that all co-op students and applicants are in principle willing to work abroad. We post many international positions on our job board. Despite offering immensely rewarding work in many exciting countries, these positions are generally less competitive than those in Canada. Many co-op students work abroad to explore another country while gaining paid professional experience – something not available on an international study exchange!

Students who qualify for student loans maintain full-time student status while on a co-op work term. You are expected to declare your co-op earnings, just like other earnings (such as from a part-time job).

The Awards and Money Management Office suggests that co-op students apply for student loans on a term-by-term basis rather than on a whole year basis.

Co-op students may be eligible to receive scholarships, provided they satisfy particular guidelines. It is your responsibility to maintain the requirements of your scholarship while on co-op.

For details about student loans or your scholarship status while in the Co-op Program, visit UBC Awards and Money Management.

Undergraduate Arts Co-op students work in a wide range of positions within the private, public, and non-profit sectors.

Employers hire co-op students based on their skill-set and career interests; your major is only one of many factors. So the choice is really up to you, your interests, and current skillset!

Co-op students can expect a broad range of work, including:

Arts Administration Office Administration
Communications & Social Media Policy Analysis
Curatorial Assistance Program Administration
Editing & Writing Project Management
Educational Programming Proposal Writing
Environmental Assessment Public Relations
Event Coordination Research & Analysis
Financial Analysis Social Service Delivery
Fundraising Survey Design & Analysis
Gallery & Museum Tours Technical Writing
GIS Video Production
Marketing Web Design

Arts Co-op students work in a variety of organizations spanning the non-profit, government (federal/provincial/municipal), and private business sectors.

Co-op opportunities take students across the Lower Mainland and BC, throughout Canada, and around the world.

Sample Employers:

Arts Club Theatre Indigenous & Northern Affairs Canada
BC Hydro Ministry of Finance
BC Lung Association MS Society
Canada Border Services Agency Museum of Anthropology
Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation National University of Singapore
Canada Revenue Agency NUVO & Montecristo Magazines
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Parks Canada
DOXA Documentary Film Festival SAP
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden Terry Fox Foundation
Environment & Climate Change Canada Time Warner Hong Kong
Fisheries & Oceans Canada UBC
Global Affairs Canada United Way
Harbour Publishing Vancouver Coastal Health
Health Canada Western Economic Diversification
Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada WorkSafe BC

To apply for Arts Co-op in 2020, you must:

  • Be a registered full-time student in a BA, BMus, BFA, BIE, or BMS degree program
  • Have completed at least 27 credits at the time of application
  • As of May 2021, have at least 30 credits remaining to complete your degree
  • Have a cumulative average of at least 72%.

International students are eligible and encouraged to apply.

For more information about the program and the benefits of Arts Co-op, refer to the 2019 Undergraduate Program Guide (PDF).

Applications are now closed for the 2019/20 intake. Check back in September 2020 for details on the 2020/21 intake.

Note that there is only one intake per academic year.

Treat your application to the Arts Co-op Program as an application you would send to a potential employer.

Students in the program must compete for co-op jobs, just like in a real-world job hunt. Therefore, we strive to admit well-rounded students who would be strong ambassadors for the program.

In addition to submitting an application, you can also expect to take part in a writing activity and potentially an interview. Through this process, we look for the following in prospective students:

  • Excellent written communication skills, as demonstrated by a strong application package
  • Strong oral communication skills
  • Demonstrated leadership, time management, and team work qualities
  • Demonstrated professionalism, maturity, enthusiasm, flexibility, and career motivation
  • Willingness to apply to a broad range of positions, regardless of location or wage (an ideal co-op student has a sense of adventure!)
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 72%

If you decide that you are unable to participate in the Arts Co-op Program, or if you are not selected, there are other on-campus resources to help with your career development and job search skills. Please consider the following:

We also encourage you to reapply to Arts Co-op next year, if you are still eligible.

Definitely! Arts Co-op students may participate in both Go Global and Co-op. Keep in mind that applying for positions and securing a job while abroad will require greater diligence. We recommend meeting with a coordinator to discuss how to best support your plans!