Co-op Program

The Arts Co-op Program allows undergraduate students to gain challenging, paid work experience while completing their degrees at UBC. Learn how the Co-op Program works and the available employers and roles.

How Co-op Works

Co-op is a structured program for students to gain professional experience by alternating between work and study terms. Students who complete the required 3 work terms will graduate with a co-op designation on their transcript.

Students in co-op complete 3 work terms throughout their degrees, with each work term being 4 months in length. Depending on your program schedule, you may complete either two consecutive four-month work terms, three separate four-month work placements, or a combination.

As a result, students typically complete their degree in four and a half to five 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/study schedule with these general guidelines in mind:

  • Complete three 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 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

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

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

If you are admitted into the program, you will be required to participate in specialized training for co-op students. In this training, you will learn how to put together a compelling job application and 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. These conferences take place in November and January.

For students admitted in Fall 2019 and after:
There is a one-time co-op administration and workshop fee of $277.25* due when you join the program.

In addition, each time you participate in a co-op search or work term, you will be 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 $854.75*.

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

*For the 2024/25 Academic Year. Visit the UBC Calendar for the latest fee information.

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 $37,000 over three work terms.

Co-op students typically earn $17.40-$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 $17.40 an hour as of June 1, 2024):

  • Non-profit organizations: $17.40-$19.00
  • Private business: $17.40-$24.00 (wages can be higher in the high-tech sector, but are not the average)
  • Government: $19.00-24.00 (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 similar to 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 a co-op work term.

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

Yes, hundreds of our students have experienced rewarding work in many exciting countries over the years. Many co-op students work abroad to explore another country while gaining paid professional experience – something not available on an international study exchange.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly 10% of work terms each year were international positions. Currently, co-op jobs abroad are very limited, as employers begin to hire internationally again and these opportunities recover to previous levels.

Yes, Arts Co-op students may participate in both Go Global and Co-op. We encourage you to explore participating in co-op and exchange.

Just keep in mind that applying for positions and securing a job while abroad will require greater diligence. We recommend meeting with a Co-op Career Educator to discuss how to best support your plans.

Employers & Roles

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 experience, skills, and career interests; your major is only one of many factors. The positions you choose to apply and compete for are up to you, your interests, and current skill set.

Below are just some of the types of roles and employers previous co-op students have worked in.

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

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

Arts Co-op Students can work in a variety of organizations throughout the Lower Mainland, BC, Canada, and around the world.

Sample Employers:

  • Alzheimer Society of BC
  • BC Lung Association
  • Bard on the Beach
  • Blue Umbrella
  • Burns Bog Conservation Society
  • Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation
  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Communications Security Establishment Canada
  • Crown Indigenous Relations & Northern Affairs
  • Dillon Consulting
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Financial Institutions Commission of BC
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Global Affairs Canada
  • Goldcorp
  • Gulf of Georgia Cannery
  • Harbour Publishing
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Iridia Medical
  • Ministry of Environment
  • MS Society
  • Parks Canada
  • PepsiCo Inc.
  • RBC
  • Royal Tyrrell Museum
  • SAP
  • Science World
  • Transport Canada
  • Time Warner Hong Kong
  • UBC Centre for Student Involvement and Careers
  • UBC Learning Exchange
  • Union Gospel Mission
  • US Consulate General Vancouver
  • Vancouver Airport Authority
  • Vancouver International Fringe Festival
  • Vancouver Queer Film Festival
  • Western Economic Diversification Canada

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