International Students

We welcome international students to apply for Arts Co-op during our annual intake each September. Find out if you’re eligible (requirements are the same for all undergraduate Arts students.)

Co-op Opportunities

Students in Arts Co-op have access to a wide range of job opportunities across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. See the types of roles and employers you can expect.

Landing a co-op position is a competitive process, just like it is in the "real world." With the training and support we provide, students have a high rate of success in securing co-op jobs. This is particularly true for those who work hard and persist, as you can expect to apply to 20-30 jobs and attend multiple interviews to obtain your first co-op position.

Please keep this in mind when making decisions about your participation in the program and feasibility given your personal circumstances.

Non-Profit: In the summer terms, many non-profit organizations rely on federal wage subsidies to fund their student positions, which international students would not be eligible for. There will still be some non-profit positions that are not federally funded and would be open to you, but expect that there will be more non-profit opportunities that you’d be eligible for in the fall and winter terms.

Government: International students are eligible for the vast majority of municipal and provincial government positions, and typically not eligible for federal government positions.

Private Businesses: International students are eligible for the vast majority of jobs in the private sector.

We crunched some numbers from co-op postings in 2019, and here are the percentages of jobs open to international students:

  • Winter 2019: 84%
  • Summer 2019: 62%
  • Fall 2019: 83%

You’ll need to be strategic about when you apply, particularly for summer jobs.

2019 summer jobs open to international students by month:

  • January: 71%
  • February: 71%
  • March: 67%
  • April: 49%
  • May: 51%

Federally funded jobs, which are unavailable to international students, are mostly posted in April and May. Therefore, plan to apply to as many jobs as you can from January through March to take advantage of a greater proportion of positions open to you.

Considerations During COVID-19

During summer and fall 2020, UBC's Vice-Provost International Office cancelled all international mobility programs. As a result, all co-op positions need to be completed while living in Canada.

Should this restriction continue into summer 2021 (the first term a newly admitted Arts Co-op student would be eligible to do a work term), co-op students would need to be living in Canada to complete a co-op work term, regardless of whether the employer is based in Canada or other parts of the world. Students can apply to opportunities while living abroad but must be physically in Canada to work for a co-op employer.

Newly admitted students from the 2020/2021 intake may apply for their co-op work permit along with their application for initial study permit from outside Canada.

If you’ve already applied for an initial study permit, you should contact the International Student Advising office by sending an email to with your UBC student number in the subject line, and ask for advice on how to apply for your co-op work permit from outside Canada. You will also need a written letter of explanation about why you’re currently out of the country. The International Student Advising office can support you with this.

Information Sessions

Join us at an info session for international students to learn more about Arts Co-op and to ask questions specific to your circumstances.

Info Sessions for International Students*:

  • Tuesday, September 15, 5-6pm PDT
  • Wednesday, September 16, 9-10am PDT

*All info sessions and drop-in hours will be held virtually via Zoom. To access these sessions, enroll in our Canvas course.