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Best Engineering Co-op Programs in Canada 2021

Co-op program, grants students the opportunity to alternate between their academic study and a full-time employment, thereby, gaining practical experience.

A Co-op is short for a cooperative education program. This is an academic program, which incorporates both classroom theory with periods of practical, hands-on work experience from study to graduation.

The co-op program grants students the opportunity to alternate between their academic study and full-time employment, thereby, gaining practical experience in their field of study.

PURPOSE OF A CO-OP EDUCATION PROGRAM

Quite a number of universities in Canada engage in co-op education programs, the intent of this is to provide their students the necessary work experience required to succeed in their field and land a job or be able to negotiate higher pay after graduation.

However, in this article, we will be focusing on the top universities in Canada that offer engineering co-op programs whose rankings are based on the nature of the program, suitability, and the percentage employability of their students based on the industry value of the co-op program and general student satisfaction.

BEST ENGINEERING CO-OP PROGRAMS IN CANADA

Therefore, as an aspiring domestic or international student, deciding on a co-op engineering program in Canada, your first question will probably be, which university in Canada offers the best engineering program, right?

To answer this very important question, we will be using McLean’s 2021 top engineering school rankings in Canada, which is listed in the table below.

MCLEAN’s 2021 TOP ENGINEERING SCHOOL RANKINGS IN CANADA

Open Ranking Table
RANK UNIVERSITY
*1 University of Toronto
*1 University of Waterloo
3 University of British Columbia
4 McGill University
5 University of Alberta.
6 McMaster University
7 Queen’s University
8 University of Montreal
9 University of Victoria
10 University of Calgary

According to the ranking by McLean, the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo are tied in the first position. While at the third, is the University of British Columbia and others following suit.

UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO ENGINEERING CO-OP

The engineering co-op program of the University of Waterloo is arguably the best in all of Canada. Therefore, it is perhaps the most competitive engineering program in Canada.

WATERLOO CO-OP/STUDY SEQUENCES

STANDARD STREAM

Most programs at Waterloo University are streamlined either as stream 4 or stream 8, thus, students begin their first co-op term after one study term “4 months of study” or two study terms “8 months of study”.

Fall term = September to December
Winter term = January to April
Spring term = May to August

University of Waterloo Student Co-op Streams
Year Term Stream 4 Stream 8
1 Fall Study Term 1A Study Term 1A
Winter Co-op Term 1 Study Term 1B
Spring Study Term 1B Co-op Term 1
2 Fall Co-op Term 2 Study Term 2A
Winter Study Term 2A Co-op Term 2
Spring Co-op Term 3 Study Term 2B
3 Fall Study Term 2B Co-op Term 3
Winter Co-op Term 4 Study Term 3A
Spring Study Term 3A Co-op Term 4
4 Fall Co-op Term 5 Study Term 3B
Winter Study Term 3B Co-op Term 5
Spring Co-op Term 6 Study Term 4A
5 Fall Study Term 4A Co-op Term 6
Winter Study Term 4B Study Term 4B

At the end of your chosen stream, you begin a co-op as listed below.

ADVANTAGES OF WATERLOO CO-OP PROGRAM

  • Waterloo co-op advisors are reputed to be well connected and extremely helpful in getting you a job for your internships.
  • The University has almost a 100% participation score in all of its co-op programs.
    • This literally means that every single student, plus first-year students get an internship; every work term. After your first work term, you usually return to school for 4 months and then work for 4 months and back to school for 4 months.
  • Another important advantage of this is that these work terms assist you to pay for your studies while you’re in school.
  • Also, the work is a practical experience.

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO ENGINEERING CO-OP

University of Toronto’s engineering co-op program is referred to as Professional Experience Year Co-op Program, which is both paid and optional. During the PEY Co-op, students will earn a competitive salary, which gives you an opportunity to position yourself right to negotiate a higher starting salary after graduation than those without the same quality of work experience.

The PEY Co-op is a chance to work full-time for an employer of choice for at least 12 to 16 consecutive months after your second or third year of studies.

This avails you an opportunity to apply your engineering competencies to industry challenges while making meaningful professional contributions and income too.

At UOT, you have access to nine libraries. In addition, there are a number of places in residence for first years. UOT is a very well-rounded institution that engages in research in lots of areas.

However, the jobs that you get during the first year of studies most likely will not be counted as a co-op on your engineering degree.

UNIVERSITY OF BRITSIH COLUMBIA ENGINEERING CO-OP

UBC boasts itself as the largest co-op program in Western Canada and one of the most successful programs in the country. Industry leaders often look to recruiting engineering talents from UBC, and the students benefit from paid, relevant, and technical work experiences that help them become the engineers of tomorrow.

BENEFITS OF UBC CO-OP

  1. Close to 20 months of paid, relevant work experience
  2. Opportunities to have contacts of a network of industry leaders and be mentored by professionals in your field.
  3. 12 months of work credit gained to your Engineer in Training status
  4. A chance to gain relevant job search skills, including how to develop powerful resumes and cover letters which will improve your success in interviews.
  5. Give you a competitive advantage when you apply for jobs after graduation
  6. Opportunities to work across Canada or around the world
ELIGIBILITY FOR UBC CO-OP PROGRAM
  • You must be an undergraduate student in any Applied Science discipline.
  • Available to graduate students in an MEng program, who are eligible for co-op.
  • Acceptability requires that you are able to demonstrate strong communication skills, have a solid academic foundation and professional maturity.
How does the University of British Columbia Engineering co-op work?
  • At UBC, you have to apply to the co-op program in either your second or third year.
  •  You must be a full-time student
  • You have to achieve a minimum cumulative average of at least 65 percent.
  • In addition, demonstrate strong written and verbal skills, show co-op motivation, willingness to relocate, and commit to a broad range of related positions.

Note: If you are accepted into UBC for a co-op program, will have to participate in some mandatory co-op workshops, which often begin in late October. In addition, UBC offers one of the cheapest Engineering Co-op programs in Canada.

Visit here for more info about University of British Columbia: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

McGill UNIVERSITY ENGINEERING CO-OP PROGRAM

McGill University Engineering has two different co-op programs from which students can acquire relevant work experience in their industry.

These are:

  • Undergraduate students who are in Bioresource, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, or Software Engineering can participate in the Engineering Internship Program.
  • Mining and Materials Engineering students must also participate in the mandatory co-operative education program.

McGILL ENGINEERING INTERNSHIP PROGRAM (EIP)

Undergraduates participate in 4, 8, 12, or 16-month long engineering internships which commence in September, January or May. The duration of each internship must be between 12 and 16 weeks.

The Engineering Internship Program avails employers the opportunity to contribute to future employees while investing in students’ educational process in a meaningful and outstanding way. Students at McGill participate in internships so as to further their academic, professional, and personal growth.

Note: McGill has quite high admission averages, this means that you have to be a really smart student to end up being admitted to McGill.

Another thing to consider also is that the further you go away from Montreal, the less and less that people start to speak English. And everybody starts to speak French.

So if you intend to attend McGill, you will have to pick up on just a little bit of French to get by.

UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA ENGINEERING CO-OP PROGRAM

At the University of Alberta, Co-operative Education Program “means a program which alternates periods of academic study with periods of work experience in appropriate fields of business, industry, government, social services, and the professions” in accordance with the following criteria:

  • All work terms are created in collaborations with the employer and approved by the co-operative education program to be a suitable learning environment.
  • Student must be involved in productive work for which he/she receives remuneration.
  • The co-op syllabus encourages student learning goals, personal evaluation, and reflection.
  • The performance of the student is supervised and evaluated by the employer.
  • Progress during the work term is monitored by the co-operative education program
    • Work and academic terms respectively are both full-time, which follows a formalized sequence.
    • The co-op work experience normally amounts to at least 30% of the time spent in academic study.
  • For two years programs or less the total amount may be at least 25%.
    • A work term is defined as a minimum of 12 wks and/or 420 hours of full-time paid experience.
  • Usually, co-op programs start and end on an academic term.
  • Students completing multiple work terms are often exposed to the work environment for more than one session of the year.
How does the University of Alberta Engineering Co-op Program work?
University of Alberta’s engineering co-op program requires you to do 5, four months work terms with satisfactory performance, in addition to term paper evaluations. So this means that you are expected to work for 20 months before graduating.

MCMASTER UNIVERSITY ENGINEERING CO-OP PROGRAM

The co-op program at McMaster University combines academic study with alternating work terms of durations from 4 to 16 months.

This gives the students an experiential learning opportunity to engage academic knowledge outside of the classroom, enhance their academic experience through paid employment and have a competitive edge for the workforce.

ADVANTAGES OF MCMASTER COOP

1. GAIN EXPERIENCE

  • McMaster Co-op allows you to test out your future career prior to graduating.
  • Connects you with current McMaster students and alumni in your field of interest.

2. EARN MONEY

  • In 2017/2018, students at McMaster made an average of $46,800 for 12-month co-op terms
  • And $10,400 for 4-month co-op terms.

3. NETWORK WITH EMPLOYERS

  • Students have the opportunity to meet employers face-to-face and build a professional network.
  • Get first info about potential job opportunities and good insight into the hiring process.

4. FLEXIBLE WORK TERMS

  • The co-op program is quite flexible and very customizable depending on the co-op program. That is 4, 8, 12, or 16-month terms

How does the McMaster University Engineering Co-op program work?

McMaster has structured its engineering co-op program almost the same as McGill except that it offers co-op for all its engineering programs, which essentially avails you either 4, 8, 12, or 16 months work terms, or a combination of all.