How Co-op Works

In order to receive a Co-op designation on your UBC transcript, you need to complete 3 work terms. Work terms are 4 months in length. Depending on your program schedule, you may complete 2 consecutive 4-month work terms, 3 separate ones, or a combination.

As a result, students typically complete their degree in 4.5-5 years. While it may take you longer to complete your degree, you will graduate with 12 months of paid work experience and be ahead of the game!

Each student is in charge of determining their work/academic plan with these general guidelines in mind:

  • Complete 3 required work terms; there are options for additional work terms with special permission.
  • Complete at least one work term during the fall or winter terms; you cannot work during 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.

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

If you are admitted into the program, you will participate in specialized training for co-op students. Learn how to put together a compelling job application and ways to increase your chances of success in co-op and beyond.

These pre-employment conferences are mandatory, so you’ll need to adjust your schedules accordingly in order to attend. For the 2020/2021 year, the virtual conferences will be held on November 14, 2020 and January 16, 2021.

For students admitted in Fall 2019 and after:

There is a one-time co-op administration and workshop fee of $256.75* due when you join the program.

In addition, each time you participate in a co-op search or work term, you are registered in a co-op search term and work term course (ARTC) and pay the course tuition fees, which currently have a combined total of $790.00*.

Registration in the ARTC course maintains your full-time student status with the university and is mandatory. You will receive non-academic credits per co-op (ARTC) course; however, ARTC courses do not count towards your academic degree requirements.

* As of the 2020/21 academic year. For the latest fee information, visit the UBC Calendar.

For students admitted previous to Fall 2019:

For each co-op term, you're registered in a work term course and will pay the fee in one installment. You will also receive non-academic credits per co-op course, which do not count towards your academic degree requirements.

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

Co-op students typically earn $15.20-$21.00 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 $15.20 an hour as of June 1, 2021):

  • Non-profit organizations: $15.20-$18.00
  • Private business: $15.20-$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.

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 & 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.