Get Paid Work Experience While You Study: Co-op & More!

By Carleton University Modified on April 27, 2021

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Get Paid Work Experience While You Study: Co-op & More!

Students interested in studying in Canada will come across terms like "experiential learning" or "cooperative education" (also known as "co-op"). These terms refer to gaining work experience related to your field of study, while pursuing your undergraduate degree.

Work experience comes in many forms. For example, most of Carleton University's programs include an internship, co-op, practicum or field placement option.

What's the Difference?

  • Co-op is paid, full-time employment. Students usually alternate work and study terms, and co-op hours can be used toward professional designations such as PEng and CPA. Curious about co-op? Watch a short video for international students.
  • Internships, practicums or field placements are part of the course curriculum, are for academic credit, are usually part-time and typically are not paid.
  • Universities and specific degree programs may have their own unique internship opportunities, such as Carleton's Computer Science internship, currently a collaboration with Shopify.

Research shows that experiential learning contributes to student engagement, deeper learning, improved academic outcomes, and enhanced work and life skills.

Just a few benefits:

  • Learn essential job search skills and build your professional network
  • Put theory into practice and solve real world problems in your field of study
  • Develop professional skills that employers are looking for
  • Explore different career environments to find your best fit
  • Earn money to help with tuition costs

Having the paid "real-world" experience serves to compliment all that is taught in the classroom and opens doors of opportunity upon completion of your undergraduate degree.

Career and co-op offices support students throughout their university experience with job and co-op employer searches, CVs and interviews, and organize online and on-campus recruitment and career fairs.

Carleton is dedicated to supporting students academically and professionally, from work-study placements and networking events to finding a career path. We are proud to be ranked in the top 10 for graduate employability among Canadian universities.


Learn more about co-op at Carleton

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