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Cooperative Education

Simon Fraser University is a member of the Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada), formerly Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE), which is the lead organization for work-integrated learning in Canada.  In 1979 CEWIL established the accreditation council to regulate post-secondary co-operative education programs in Canada and to accredit those programs which meet specific criteria. The purpose of the accreditation process is to ensure the quality of the co-operative education program.

For more information about CEWIL visit Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada and also Accredited programs must meet the following criteria.

  • Each work term is developed in partnership with the employer and approved by the co-operative education program as a suitable learning environment;
  • The student is engaged in productive work for which the student receives remuneration;
  • The co-op curriculum supports student learning goals, personal evaluation and reflection;
  • The student's performance in the workplace is supervised and evaluated by the student's employer;
  • The student's progress during their work term is monitored by the co-operative education program;
  • Both work and academic terms are full-time and follow a formalized sequence.  The total amount of co-op work experience is normally at least 30% of the time spent in academic study.  For programs of two years or less the total amount may be a minimum of 25%.  A work term is defined as a minimum of 12 weeks and/or 420 hours full-time paid experience;
  • Co-op Programs begin and end on an academic term;
  • The student completing multiple work terms is normally exposed to the work environment during more than one season of the year.

The Simon Fraser University Co-operative Education program has been accredited since 1998.

All undergraduate Simon Fraser University programs have a co-operative education option. A complete list, including specific disciplines, is available at

Admission Requirements

All Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and visa students are eligible to participate in the co-op program. Visa students are eligible for work permits which are only valid for co-op employment arranged through the co-op program.

Co-op is an optional program, except in the schools of Engineering Science, Mechatronic Systems Engineering, and Sustainable Energy Engineering undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Applied Sciences; the School of Computing Science master of science in professional computer science program; and the School of Public Policy master of public policy program, where it is mandatory within the program structure.

Acceptance into the co-op employment process is based on academic performance and entry interviews where motivation, interpersonal, and communication skills are evaluated. Students must normally have 45-60 units and a CGPA of at least 2.50 before participating in the co-op employment process, however all students are admitted on an individual basis and the requirements may be flexible.

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Additive Credits

The co-op work term courses are deemed to have additive credit. These units do not count toward the total units required for the degree.

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There is a one-time co-op application fee, with co-op work term course tuition charged for each four month work term in which the student enrolls. Co-op work term course tuition is tax deductible. For information, see Undergraduate Fees.

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Degree Designation

Three work terms must be successfully completed for a 4 year undergraduate degree with a co-op designation. Successful completion includes a passing grade (comprised of both a work project evaluation and performance evaluation) and compliance with minimum standards of participation. (A work term typically consists of full time employment for 13-16 weeks.)

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Co-op for Graduate Students

Graduate General Regulation 1.4.7 Co-operative Education

Co-operative Education integrates work experience and graduate studies. The name reflects the co-operative relationship among the university, employer and student. Practical experience from work terms is related to the student's major interests within the graduate program. A number of graduate programs have been approved, by the relevant graduate program committee, for co-operative education (co-op). 

Interested students should consult the Co-operative Education website. 

The application to enroll in co-op is subject to departmental approval. Each department has a specific course for the co-op work term or practicum.

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