MI Co-operative Education Option


A co-operative education (Co-op) is an experiential learning program attained in partnership between students, employers and the Faculty of Information. Through Co-op, students complete up to 2 consecutive, paid, full-time Co-op work terms and gain professional experience in their fields of study. It is an opportunity to apply knowledge in a professional situation and gain academic credit.


COVID-19 related updates regarding the Fall Term and more can be found on the COVID-19 Information for Students page.

For questions pertaining to our MI Co-op program, please contact the Co-op / Careers team at coop.ischool@utoronto.ca.


Program Overview & Timeline


OVERVIEW

Students that are admitted into the Co-op program have to meet eligibility requirements in their Year 1 Fall and Winter terms to gain access to our Co-op jobs portal and be able to complete Co-op (paid) positions for academic credit.

Depending on their Co-op work opportunities and academic planning, students are eligible to complete 1 term of Co-op (i.e. 4 months) or 2 terms of Co-op (i.e. 8 months). Students can choose to work with 1 company for 8 months, or locate 2 separate opportunities with a duration of 4 months each. Students who complete two Co-op terms will receive a “Co-op” designation on their transcript.

Please note that a Co-op placement cannot be done in a student’s final term of study – students must complete their degree in a term with regular courses, not in a placement.

The Co-op program mimics the real world job search experience where students will actively apply for Co-op positions. The program does not guarantee a placement. The Faculty takes great effort in networking and managing relationships with organizations that our students will be interested in working in – these jobs are posted on our Faculty Co-op jobs board and only accessible to our Co-op students. The Faculty also sources and collects open Co-op positions from various companies (that do not post with any particular university) and place them centrally for students to access and review. It is also entirely possible to find your own placement and have it converted to a Co-op.


DEGREE COMPLETION TIMELINE

A typical timeline for students interested in doing 2 terms of Co-op as part of their MI degree requirements.
Year 1 Fall Year 1 Winter Year 1 Summer Year 2 Fall Year 2 Winter Year 2 Summer
Meet eligibility requirements

Declare interest by completing the 2022 Co-op Program — Declaration of Interest Form. Detailed instructions are provided by the Careers team at the start of Year 1 Fall term.

Contact the Careers team!

Continue to complete the remaining eligibility requirements.

Eligibility to the Co-op program will be reviewed by the Careers team.

If eligible for Co-op, will gain access to Co-op jobs board: Apply for Co-op positions; attend interviews.

Co-op term

Develop goals and plan for the Co-op work term.

The Co-op Coordinator will schedule a site visit or check-in and meet with the employer.

Complete Co-op course deliverables!

Co-op term Return to complete degree requirements Complete degree requirements
Full-time status Full-time status Full-time status Full-time status Full-time status Full-time status
Full-time tuition fees Full-time tuition fees No tuition fees + Co-op placement fee Full-time tuition fees + Co-op placement fee Full-time tuition fees No tuition fees

For students that are interested in just 1 term of Co-op only:

    • Year 2 Summer term may not be needed to complete degree requirements. Very likely, student will be able to graduate on schedule at the end of Year 2 Winter term.
    • Students that complete degree requirements at the end of Year 2 Winter term will be able to convocate in the subsequent June convocation ceremony.
    • Students that complete degree requirements at the end of Year 2 Summer term will be able to convocate in the subsequent November convocation ceremony.
Sample job search / interview / offer timeframe for students looking for Co-op positions
Co-op Term Job Posting Interview Process Job Offer
SUMMER (Co-op position starts in May) January – April February – May February – May
FALL (Co-op position starts in September) May – August June – August June – August

SEARCHING & SECURING YOUR OWN CO-OP POSITIONS

Students are able to search and secure their own Co-op positions. Approximately 1/3rd of the Co-op cohort secured placements through personal contacts, past employers, and individual networking.

All such placements must be approved by the Faculty. Therefore, students must notify the Careers Office in advance of accepting the position to ensure its validity as a Co-op placement. Once requested for review, the Faculty will assess whether the position will fulfill the learning objectives and other criteria of Co-op, such as duties/responsibilities, hours worked, appropriate supervision provided, and pay. The Faculty will also contact the employer to ask for if they are willing to take an active part in the Co-op partnership.

      • Simply submit the job description and offer contract to the Careers Office to ensure it meets the program requirements.
      • Students that found and secured their own Co-op positions still have to meet Co-op eligibility requirements.

For current Year 1 Students (Fall and Winter):

      • Final grades for the Fall term will be published according to the Academic Dates and Deadlines page. These grades will be pulled internally for the Co-op Review Committee to begin the application review process.
      • During the last week of January, you will informed about whether you have been admitted into the Co-op program and if you have been admitted, you will be told whether you are eligible to do one Co-op term or two Co-op terms.

DURING CO-OP

Since Co-op is a course offering (course code INF3902H or INF3903H), there are required deliverables for students to complete and submit during the placement. The full details of these requirements will be outlined in the course syllabus once students start their work term in May. As well, when students successfully secure a Co-op placement, the Faculty will automatically register students to the Co-op courses, INF3902H and INF3903H. Students do not enroll into either course themselves.

Coursework deliverables may include, but are not limited to:

      • Development and approval of a learning agenda
      • Mid-term assignment
      • Poster
      • Final report

Note: Students may be hired up to 16 weeks, however, the final report will be due on/before Week 12.

It is also important to note that there is the possibility of failing the course should students not meet the requirements of their placement.


Eligibility Requirements


REQUIREMENTS

The following requirements apply to students seeking Co-op positions during the 2022 Co-op term (Summer 2022; Fall 2022; Winter 2023).

Those interested need to meet the all following requirements BEFORE the 2022 Co-op term:

    • Registered as a full-time student in the Master of Information program.
    • Complete the 2022 Co-op Program — Declaration of Interest Form.
    • Enrol and complete INF3900H in a previous academic term, or participate in the Individualized Co-op Preparation Plan (ICPP).
    • On track to completing the Year 1 required courses of the selected concentration by the end of Year 1 Winter term.
    • Completed Year 1 Fall Term with at least a GPA of 3.75.*
      • * Due to the negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, the Faculty has lowered the GPA requirement from 3.85 to 3.75 for Year 1 students.
      • If you think you won’t be able to meet the minimum 3.75 GPA, please email us to let us know if you are interested in pursuing Co-op. Exceptions may be considered on a case-to-case basis.
    • On track to completing 3.5** – 4.0-credits by the end of Year 1 Winter Term.
      • Students that are on track to completing 4.0-credits by the end of Year 1 Winter Term will be considered for 2 terms of Co-op (Summer and Fall Term).
      • ** For students that are on track to completing 3.5 credits by the end of Year 1 Winter Term, you will be only be considered for Summer Co-op (i.e. 1 term of Co-op).
        • Upon the completion of Summer Co-op (and an additional elective during the Summer Term), students may write to the Careers Co-op Office to be considered for an additional Co-op term in a following academic term.
      • ** Alternatively, for students that are on track to completing 3.5 credits only by the end of Year 1 Winter Term, you may wish to use Summer Term to complete additional credits and request to be considered for the Fall or Winter Co-op Term.

INELIGIBLE CATEGORIES

Students that are:

    • Enrolled in the thesis option
    • Enrolled or on track to completing 2 terms of practicums
    • Participating in the TALint program
    • Participating in work-study in the actual Co-op term

Students in the Combined Degree Program (CDP) might be able to fit in a Summer term Co-op in Year 1 Summer, but not a Fall or Winter term Co-op.

Students that complete only 1 term of Co-op are eligible to complete 1 practicum in another term.


How to Apply


DECLARATION OF INTEREST

Submitting the 2022 Co-op Program — Declaration of Interest Form is the first item of action for enrolling in the MI Co-op program. The form enables the Faculty to automatically consider students for Co-op eligibility, track progress, and keep students updated on the next steps through the academic year.

Students are encouraged to submit the form even if they are unsure about Co-op, as the form does not obligate them to complete a Co-op term.

During the Fall term, Careers Officer will send out to students the form and the link for submission through email. The deadlines for submission are set in September. Students are expected to check for deadlines which will be announced each year.


ENROLL IN INF3900HF OR FOLLOW THE ICPP PATHWAY

Students must complete either INF3900H, a creditable coursework, or the Individualized Co-op Preparation Plan (ICPP):

How to Apply: INF3900H or ICPP Pathway
Complete INF3900H Individualized Co-op Prepartion Plan
Course for professional development offered during the Fall term.

Students receive academic credit for their work.

If you take INF3900, it does not mean that you have to do a Co-op. But INF3900 is a requirement to do Co-op if you don’t participate in ICPP.

Must consult with the Careers Office before taking the ICPP pathway.

There are several options that students have to participate in various professional development workshops. That includes taking 3–6 iSkills workshops for resume writing, developing professional narrative, interview skills and others. Taking workshops through the central Career Centre, as advertised on CLNx.

If you participate in ICPP, it does not mean that you have to do a Co-op. But ICPP is a requirement to do Co-op if you don’t take INF3900.

Students do not receive academic credit for ICPP.


NOT MEETING CO-OP ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Everyone experiences extenuating circumstances that might have negatively impacted their ability to meet all the above Co-op eligibility requirements. Students may appeal to the Co-op team by writing to coop.ischool@utoronto.ca with a statement on how the circumstances might have prevented you meeting the eligibility requirements.

Other than Co-op, our Master of Information students are also eligible to complete work-integrated learning opportunities such as practicums.

    • Students that complete only 1 term of Co-op are eligible to complete 1 practicum in another term.
    • Students that do not complete any Co-op terms are eligible to complete 2 practicums over the course of their degree duration.

Finances

A typical timeline for students interested in doing 2 terms of Co-op as part of their MI degree requirements.
CO-OP PROGRAM COST / FEES WAGES
Standard fee across University of Toronto Co-op programs: $600.00 CAD + HST for each of the two work terms (totalling $1,200 + HST).

For students completing Fall term or Winter term Co-op – please note that full-time tuition will be charged for those terms.

$23–33 CAD per hour or higher is suggested to employers.

Students on Co-op terms continue being a full-time registered student at the University. Therefore, domestic students are eligible to continue applying for OSAP or other Canadian provincial government student aid. For students that do not wish to apply for Canadian financial aid while on Co-op, please inform the respective funding agencies that you continue being registered as a full-time student so that you can remain on interest-free status.

Students can request for a confirmation of enrollment letter by completing the request form and emailing it to the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) at graduate.information@utoronto.ca. The letter could take 3-5 business days to be produced by SGS.


International Students

Q. As an international student, is Co-op an essential step in finding employment in Canada?

Receiving a University of Toronto degree in the Master of Information program is a globally-recognized credential. However, Co-op certainly provides a very targeted and specific corridor to entering the Canadian work environment and gaining domestic experience.  Please also consider that Co-op is one type of work-integrated learning opportunity; students not enrolled in Co-op will have other avenues for gaining experience (e.g. practicum).

International students interested in Co-op need to have a valid Co-op work permit to work in their Co-op position(s).


TIMELINE

    • Summer (prior to arrival in September): apply for study permit with the offer of admissions.
    • Year 1 Fall Term: receive the MI Co-op confirmation letter from the Faculty – start the online application process for the Co-op work permit.
    • Study / work permit inquiries can only be answered by licensed Immigration Advisors. The Faculty is limited in their ability to answer these queries. Please connect with one of the University’s licensed immigration advisors by contacting the Centre of International Experience (CIE) at isa.cie@utoronto.ca or view their information page on getting a Canadian work permit.

CO-OP WORK PERMIT APPLICATION

Please be advised that the application process can be quite lengthy, sometimes taking upwards of 4 to 5 months for processing. We strongly recommend beginning the process as soon as possible to avoid any potential delays. Review the links below for additional information about how to begin your application. You should not start the work placement until you have the Co-op work permit.

Please also note that the Co-op work permit can only be used to complete the work associated with your degree requirement. The duration of that requirement is specified by your academic department. It is illegal for you to use the Co-op work permit longer than that, or to use it for jobs that will not satisfy your degree requirement.

Should you have any questions, there is additional support available via the university’s Centre for International Experience. Please connect with an Immigration Advisor at isa.cie@utoronto.ca as only licensed immigration advisors are able to answer study/work permit application questions.

Note: If you need a Co-op eligibility letter for your permit application, urgently contact Co-op team at coop.ischool@utoronto.ca to request the letter. Provide your student number and type “Request Co-op Eligibility Letter” in the email subject line to ensure your request is promptly received.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. How many placements are available?

Historically, approximately 300 job postings have been made available each year. The postings may vary by concentration and are subject to change on a yearly basis.

There are two categories of job postings:

    • iSchool postings, where the iSchool has an established relationship with the organization.
    • Public postings gathered from a variety of sources and whose organizations may not relate to the iSchool.

Students are encouraged and expected to apply to a significant number of offerings across both iSchool and Public postings to successfully secure a Co-op placement. Students also often obtain Co-op placements through their own independent searches and networking efforts.

Q. Where will I complete my Co-op term?

The Faculty of Information has established partnerships with organizations in the GTA and beyond. Students can pursue Co-op experiences anywhere in the world!

Q. I’ve secured an international opportunity, will I be able to continue?

As of September 28, 2020, the University of Toronto has extended the annulment of all University activities to international locations for all students until April 30, 2021. University activities abroad on or after May 1, 2021 are scheduled to continue at this time. But please keep in mind that conditions created by the pandemic may change at any time. If students can postpone their travel or undertake their activity remotely, please arrange to do so. If they are unable to change plans, their international plans must unfortunately be cancelled.

We are making this decision early so that students can make alternate plans for their January semester. The Faculty acknowledges the importance of students’ academic pursuits, and the University is committed to maintaining academic continuity. Our academic unit will work with students to help them build an alternate plan for January.

Please view the University of Toronto’s COVID-19 Updates and Information page for students

Students can, of course, continue with their international placements if they will be working remotely. As well, international students who are returning to their home countries are exempt from this restriction. In any situation, we strongly advise that students carefully consider their health and safety, follow the quarantine regulations in their home countries.

For any concerns and questions regarding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact our Careers Officer.

Q. How should I balance required courses with Co-op?

Required courses for MI concentrations are offered at least once per year. It is the responsibility of the students to ensure that they have completed their graduation requirements. So we recommend that students take required courses before beginning the Co-op term(s) because not all required courses are guaranteed to be available in the winter term when students come back from Co-op. One way to manage course-load is to take courses while completing a Co-op work term. You can book an appointment with your academic advisor to ensure that you are on the right track to completing degree requirements.

Q. Is it possible to change the term sequencing?

Students wishing to complete a term sequence different from the above are encouraged to contact the Careers Office to explore other options. Winter term opportunities may be offered based on availability and demand.

Q. What happens if I find a placement in fall term before I am accepted into the Co-op program?

Sometimes students manage to secure a Co-op placement during the fall term, prior to being accepted into the Co-op option. Students are expected to discuss this with the Careers Officer to discuss eligibility.  It is important to note that there is no correlation between securing an early offer and Co-op acceptance. However, it is possible to parlay an early offer into a Co-op opportunity where the opportunity meets the Faculty’s criteria.

Q. Can I choose not to take on a second 4-month placement after my first 4-month placement?

Yes (as long as you have yet to sign a contract/offer with your second 4-month placement). Students can opt out of placement(s) for various reasons such as being unable to secure a first/second placement, decision that coursework/in-Faculty term is more relevant or that one term placement adequately fulfills interest/skill development.

Students will receive course credit for any work term successfully completed. The Careers team is available to work with students to create and/or revise their career strategy at any time.

If you have already signed a contract for a second 4-month placement, and feel unable to complete contractual obligations, please connect with the Careers team immediately.

Q. If I secure an 8-month placement, am I able to end my contract at the conclusion of a 4-month term, to pursue another placement?

No. As an ambassador for the Faculty in the workplace, we hold firm that students honour all signed contracts. The contract is made between not only the student and the employer but also the university. We want our partner-employers to be confident that when they have a commitment from our students and the Faculty, that the contract will be honoured.

However, if students were to meet with extenuating circumstances beyond their control, and feel unable to complete their contractual obligations, please connect with our Careers team immediately to review options.

Q. When should I expect to secure my placement?

We encourage students to begin looking for opportunities as early as possible. Many organizations begin to promote their summer Co-op positions in late-November and throughout the winter months.  However, most students normally secure their placements in the spring; up to 50% of all summer placement offers are made in April. The estimated timeline for the hiring process is shown in the table above under DEGREE COMPLETION TIMELINE section.

Q. Why is there an ancillary charge levied for Co-op work terms?

The $600.00 CAD + HST fee levied during each of students’ two work terms (totaling $1,200+HST) is the standard Co-op fee across University of Toronto Co-op programs. The Co-op Ancillary Fee supports the operations of the Co-op program. This includes student advising, employer outreach and engagement, resource and program development, poster printing for annual showcase, as well as infrastructure and system supports to name a few examples.

The fee is not specifically allocated for job board access and is applied each term once students are registered in the Co-op course(s), not in advance. Any student who chooses not to enroll into the Co-op option will not incur the Ancillary Fee.

The Summer Co-op fee is paid directly to the Faculty of Information and instructions on how to do this will be given in the early Spring of each year. The Fall Co-op fee is added to the fall session tuition invoice and is paid along with regular tuition.

Q. Why do I pay Fall tuition during my Co-op placement?

All Co-op students need to be enrolled full-time to be eligible for the Co-op option. Co-op placements are courses completed in the workplace, supervised by both an employer and the Faculty instructor with specific learning objectives.

Students receive 0.5 Credit (CR / FCE) during each of two work terms and can complete an additional 0.5 Credit (CR / FCE) in another course, if desired.

Q. I am counting on Co-op to help me pay for my MI education. What if I don’t get in?

The Co-op option is not an employment option but a pedagogical strategy. Co-operative education emphasizes workplace learning and should not be relied upon to finance education.

Please keep in mind that Co-op placement prevents students from having a summer job – many of which may be better paid than a Co-op placement. Also, many students already work part time during the fall term.  Co-op income may be only marginally greater than part time work income, given the added $600 Co-op fee added per work term.

The Careers Officer is available to provide students with assistance when pursuing on-campus or off-campus work opportunities to support their financial needs. If students are concerned about finances during their studies at the Faculty of Information, our Student Services staff members are also able to assist and refer them to appropriate resources throughout the institution and beyond. Students should contact inquire.ischool@utoronto.ca to learn more about how to best prepare financially.

Q. How much compensation will I receive while on my placement?

Co-op pay wage will be influenced by several factors, some of which may include organization, sector, public or private, and students’ level of experience. The suggested wage for MI Co-op students is $23–33 CAD per hour or higher.

Students are encouraged to focus on the learning experience rather than the rate of pay. Students who try to negotiate a rate of pay above and beyond what is listed above risk their offer being revoked by the employer.

Q. If I am in the TALint program, can I still participate in the Co-op option?

TALint positions and Co-op work terms can take place during the same period, and the TALint program yields similar experiential learning outcomes as MI Co-op. The Faculty encourages that students pursue either a TALint position or Co-op.

Q. Can I be enrolled in two concentrations and be in Co-op at the same time?

Co-op placement is intended to allow students to apply in a professional context the knowledge gained in one concentration. While there is no administrative rule against pursuing two concentrations in addition to Co-op, it is not recommended. Students wishing to pursue this route are encouraged to speak with their academic advisor to create a manageable academic plan.

Q. When and how will I find out whether I am accepted to Co-op or not?

Faculty decisions regarding student eligibility will be communicated in late January to early February through email.

Q. If I’m accepted into Co-op, what occurs during the Winter term?

An orientation session will be held for the new Co-op cohort in January. During this period, the Careers Officer will support students throughout the Co-op job search process.

Q. Will Co-op placements be affected by the pandemic?

Work-integrated-learning opportunities have been and will likely continue to be affected. In response to the pandemic, the Co-op placement requirement was reduced to 8 weeks (280 hours) from 12 weeks (360 hours). The Faculty has also allowed remote-only Co-op placements.

Due to the restrictions to in-person interaction, the Faculty has implemented a process for approving in-person placement activities. Please contact the Careers Office if students may have any questions: careers.ischool@utoronto.ca or coop.ischool@utoronto.ca.

The Careers office is also working hard to identify opportunities that allow employers to host students remotely, and many students have already found success in working from home. Unfortunately, however, some opportunities have been cancelled or postponed as a result of the pandemic. In response, the university has created more opportunities for Co-op students, many of whom are working on pandemic-related initiatives.

Q. What other things should I consider with the Co-op option?

The Co-op program eliminates 1-3 elective courses from students’ program pathway. This may prove to be a ‘miss’ for some students. Students are also away from the Faculty (and campus) and miss important networking/industry event opportunities and workshops. When considering for the Co-op option, students should think about whether there are other areas that they prefer to focus on during their academic career and whether their goals can be achieved through other channels (e.g. practicum, part-time job, volunteering, work-study, job-shadowing, etc.)