The Arts Co-op Program offers students enriched educational experiences for personal and professional growth. The Program works with a diverse range of community partners and sectors to provide transformative workplace learning for co-op students.Co-op is a high-impact educational program that allows students to alternate academic terms with paid, relevant work experience. The Program allows students to explore different career options, while gaining 12-16 months of paid, professional work experience and a network of contacts.
By applying their academic knowledge in a real-life work environment, students become better prepared for careers after graduation.
Success after graduation
- The Arts Co-op Program is nationally accredited by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education, so it meets best practices for co-op in Canada
- Students who graduate from the Arts Co-op Program receive a co-op designation on their transcript and degree parchment when they graduate, if they’ve completed the 3 mandatory co-op terms
- 90% of Canadian co-op grads receive job offers within 1 month after graduation
- Co-op grads earn 12% higher starting salaries than non-co-op grads
Lower student debt or no debt at all
- Average undergraduate co-op earnings over 3 work terms = $23,500
- Total co-op fees over 3 work terms = $2,380
- Return on investment = $21,120
Job search skills
- Techniques for writing effective resumes and cover letters
- One-on-one interview preparation
Students alternate academic study terms with co-op work terms. In order for students to receive a Co-op designation on their UBC transcript, they need to complete 3 work terms. Work terms are 4 months and full-time in length. Depending on their program schedule, students may complete 2 consecutive 4 month work placements, 3 separate ones, or a combination.
As a result, students typically complete their degree in 5 years. While it may take students longer to complete their degree, co-op students graduate with 12-16 months of paid work experience.
Below is a sample schedule. Work and study (coursework) terms will vary for co-op students.
|YEAR||FALL (SEPT-DEC)||WINTER (JAN-APR)||SUMMER (MAY-AUG)|
|2nd (or 3rd)||Coursework &
Apply to Co-op
Attend Workshop #1
|Coursework & Apply for Jobs
Attend Workshop #2
|Co-op Work Term 1|
|3rd||Co-op Work Term 2||Coursework||Co-op Work Term 3|
|4th||Coursework||Co-op Work Term 4 (optional)||Coursework|
For each co-op work term, in addition to their co-op job duties, students complete 4 professional development projects. These projects allow students to build their professional portfolio and network, as well as actively reflect on various aspects of their work terms. Portfolio items include workplace writing samples, reports, and other documents that showcase students’ skills and achievements. Acting as an archive of their work, students’ portfolios evolve as they gain more experience and include new samples of their work.
During each co-op work term, students write a work plan and map out learning objectives, enabling them to maximize the opportunity to learn and develop during their co-op positions. Students also create a professional profile, an informative brief on their co-op work term. In order to help them gather more information about possible career options, students also complete an informational interview with another professional in the field. Finally, students complete a professional skill development project at the end of their work term.
The guidelines for the work term projects are provided to students prior to the start of their work terms. To graduate with a co-op designation, students must complete all of their work term professional development projects as well as their co-op job requirements.
Arts Co-op students can expect a broad range of work experience over their work terms, including:
- Copywriting and Editing
- Educational Programming
- Event Coordination
- Graphic Design
- Office Administration
- Policy Analysis
- Project Management
- Proposal Writing
- Public Relations
- Research and Analysis
- Technical Writing
- Web Design
Students work in a wide range of positions in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. For a list of some of the types of work Arts Co-op students can expect, as well as a list of potential employers, visit the Arts Co-op website.
"Joining the Co-op program was one of the best decisions that I made as an undergrad. Not only did I have marketable skills from my university education after I graduated, I also had the work experience to back them up when I entered the work force."
- Jouel Tiu, BA 2002, Major English Literature, Minor Commerce
- Work terms: BC Ministry of the Attorney General, BC Hydro
- Currently working as a Senior Marketing and Sales Specialist at Inter IKEA Systems B.V. in Holland
"By completing 12 or 16 months of work experience, you are already ahead of your peers in terms of career development, and you will have a much higher chance of finding a fulfilling and well-paying job after graduation."
- Alice Huang, BA 2012, Double Major, English Literature & History
- Work terms: Volunteer Richmond Information Services, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
- Currently completing a Master of Arts degree at Simon Fraser University
"Grab as much experience as possible! Current co-op students are in a very advantageous position to gain firsthand knowledge of the different work industries available to them."
- Christina Mate, BA 2007, Major English Literature
- Work terms: Burn’s Bog Conservation Society, UBC Arts Academic Advising, Kodak Graphic Communications Canada
- Currently working as a Technical Writer at Hatch Mott MacDonald in Vancouver
Applying to Arts Co-op
Students can apply to the Arts Co-op Program once each year in September. Intake is open to students in 2nd or 3rd year.
To apply for Arts Co-op, students must:
- Have completed at least 27 credits at the time of application
- As of May 2019, have at least 30 credits remaining to complete their degree
- Have a cumulative average of at least 72%
Visit the Arts Co-op website for information about the application process, eligibility details, and information session dates.