Master of Information (MI) Co-op Option


The Master of Information (MI) Co-op is an option within the MI program for students to complete one or two terms of co-op work and gain professional experience in their relevant field of study. The MI Co-op is a partnership between students, employers,and the Faculty of Information.

 

This page is under review and the information below is not relevant for Fall 2024 incoming students. Updated information will be provided in Summer 2024.

 

Selection of MI Co-op students

MI Co-op students are selected based on their academic excellence, interpersonal skills, and their readiness to actively engage in professional roles. Faculty of Information co-op students come with high academic achievements from a variety of undergraduate programs and may already have some professional experience in the workforce. They are enrolled full time and have completed the majority of their core and required courses.

 MI Co-op overview

  • The MI Co-op option is open to all Master of Information students in their first year, upon completion of requirements and admission to Co-op by the Faculty of Information.
  • Students have to meet eligibility requirements in their Year 1 Fall and Winter terms to gain access to Symplicity, the in-house Co-op job portal, and be able to apply for and secure Co-op (paid) positions for academic credit. Please note that all Co-op positions on Symplicity are only accessible to Faculty of Information Co-op students.
  • Students are eligible to take on Co-op work terms in the Summer after their first year, and Fall and Winter of their second year. Summer Co-op work terms begin in May. 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 a work term.
  • Depending on their Co-op work opportunities and academic planning, students are eligible to complete one term of Co-op (four months) or two terms of Co-op (eight months).
  • Students can choose to work with one company for eight months, or locate two separate opportunities with a duration of four months each. Students who complete two Co-op terms will receive a “Co-op” designation on their transcripts.
  • All students completing a Co-op work term must enroll in the Co-op course (course code INF3902H or INF3903H). This course allows you to receive academic credit for your placement. Please scroll down for further information about the Co-op Course.
  • Please not that the Faculty of Information does not guarantee a Co-op placement.
MI Co-op Eligibility Requirements
Students must meet all requirements below for admission into the MI Co-op:
    • Register as a full-time student in the Master of Information program.
    • Enroll and complete INF3900H in a previous academic term, or participate in the Co-op Independent Modules.
    • Be on track to completing the Year 1 required courses of the selected concentration by the end of the Year 1 Winter term.
    • Complete Year 1 Fall Term with at least a GPA of 3.75. Students who think they won’t be able to meet the minimum 3.75 GPA, should email careers.ischool@utoronto.ca. Exceptions may be considered on a case-to-case basis.
    • Be on track to completing 3.5 – 4.0-credits by the end of Year 1 Winter Term.
      • Students on track to completing 3.5 credits by the end of Year 1 Winter Term will be considered for Summer Co-op only (one term of Co-op). Upon completion of the Summer Co-op (and an additional elective during the Summer Term), students may write to careers.ischool@utoronto.ca to be considered for an additional Co-op term in a following academic term.
      • Students on track to completing 4.0-credits by the end of the Year 1 Winter Term will be considered for two terms of Co-op (Summer and Fall Term).
If  students experience extenuating circumstances that might negatively impact their ability to meet all the above Co-op eligibility requirements, they may appeal to the Co-op team by writing to careers.ischool@utoronto.ca with a statement on how the circumstances might have prevented them from meeting the eligibility requirements.

Ineligible Categories

Students in the following categories cannot participate in the MI Co-op:

    • Enrolled in the Combined Degree Program (CDP)
    • Enrolled in the thesis option
    • Enrolled or on track to complete two terms of practicums
    • Participating in the TALint program
    • Participating in work-study in the actual Co-op term
    • Students in their first year of their Master’s degree. Co-op work terms begin in May after first year

How to apply to the MI Co-op

1. Declare interest in Co-op

Declare interest by completing the Fall 2023 Master of Information – concentration and program pathway selection survey. This survey will be sent to you by Student Services prior to the start of the academic year.

Students are encouraged to indicate interest in the Co-op pathway even if they are unsure about Co-op, as the survey does not obligate them to complete a Co-op term. For international students, completion of this survey will allow the Faculty to generate a Co-op Letter of Eligibility for the required Co-op Work Permit application.

2. Sign up and attend the Virtual Co-op Orientation Session

3. Select one of the following options: Enroll in INF3900HF OR Complete the Co-op Independent Modules

Students must complete either INF3900H for credit, or the Co-op Independent Module for admission into Co-op.

The Co-op Independent Module is a non- credit series of required workshops that students must complete in order to meet the admission requirements for Co-op. Workshops will be facilitated by the Career Services Team and will take place in person in September and October at the Faculty of Information. The workshops are:

  • Resume and Cover Letter
  • Interview Skills
  • Job Search Strategies
  • Personal Branding and Networking

Students who take INF3900 are not required to do a Co-op. But INF3900 is a requirement to do Co-op for students who do not participate in The Co-op Independent Module.

4. Confirmation of admission into the MI Co-op upon completion of all eligibility requirements listed above 

5. Access to Symplicity and securing a Co-op position

Once admitted into the MI co-op, students will gain access to the in-house Co-op job board on Symplicity. Students can start applying for roles.

In addition, students have the option of searching and securing their own Co-op positions through personal contacts, past employers, and individual networking.

All such placements must be approved by Career Services. Students must notify the careers office at careers.ischool@utoronto.ca in advance of accepting the position to ensure its validity as a Co-op placement. Once requested for review, Career Services 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. Once approved, Career Services will also contact the employer to ensure that they are willing to take an active part in the Co-op partnership.

      • Simply submit the job description and offer contract to your Experiential Learning Record in Symplicity. We can then assess whether this offer aligns with co-op requirements.
      • Students who find and secure their own Co-op positions must still meet all Co-op eligibility requirements.

6. MI Co-op Course

All students completing a co-op work term must be enrolled in the Co-op Course (course code INF3902H or INF3903H). This course allows you to receive academic credit for your placement. There are required academic 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 Co-op work term on Quercus.

The Faculty of Information Student Service team automatically registers students who have secured a Co-op work term to the Co-op courses, INF3902H and INF3903H. Students do not enroll in 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: There is the possibility of failing the Co-op course should students not meet the requirements of their placement.

MI Co-op Completion Timeline

A typical timeline for students interested in doing 2 terms of Co-op as part of their MI degree requirements
Summer prior to Fall Entry Year 1 Fall Year 1 Winter Year 1 Summer Year 2 Fall Year 2 Winter Year 2 Summer
Declare interest by completing the Fall 2023 Master of Information – concentration and program pathway selection survey

 

This survey will be sent to you by Student Services prior to the start of the academic year.

 

Meet eligibility requirements.

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

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

 

Continue to meet eligibility requirements.

Check Symplicity and apply consistently for co-op positions. Attend interviews. Schedule advising appointments if needed.

Secure co-op approval from Career Services.

Co-op term

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

 

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

Work Integrated Learning Combinations

MI students are eligible to take up to two terms of work-integrated learning opportunities for academic credit (up to 1.0 credits) in the following combinations:

Each work-integrated learning opportunity needs to be taken in separate terms. For instance, students cannot be enrolled in Co-op and practicum in the same term. Students can be enrolled in Co-op for one term, and practicum in a subsequent term, but not enrolled concurrently. Students who complete only one term of Co-op are eligible to complete one practicum in another term.

Finances

A typical timeline for students interested in doing two 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 for each of the two work terms (totaling $1,200).

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.

Takingcourses while enrolled in Co-op

Students are eligible to take up to one 0.5-credit regular course while enrolled in a full-time Co-op position (i.e. while enrolled in either INF3902H or INF3903H).

Students who wish to take a second regular course alongside a Co-op placement, should note the following:

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 for International Students

    • Summer (prior to arrival in September): apply for study permit with the offer of admission.
    • 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 for International Experience (CIE) at isa.cie@utoronto.ca or checking their information page on getting a Canadian work permit.

CO-OP WORK PERMIT APPLICATION for International Students

Please be advised that the application process can be quite lengthy, sometimes taking upwards of four to five 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, contact the Co-op team at careers.ischool@utoronto.ca to request the letter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. How long are the co-op roles?

The minimum requirement is 12 weeks, 30 hrs/week per co-op term. Co-op roles must be paid roles.

Q. I found my own co-op. What do I do?

If you secure a co-op position that was not posted on the Symplicity job board, it must be reviewed and approved by the Co-op Team to ensure it meets the program requirements before you can start the co-op. Submit the requirements listed below.

Co-op Review & Approval Requirements

    • Student Name
    • Academic concentration
    • Organization name
    • Job title and job description: insert the text of the posting or attach the file. Don’t provide the job link as job links expire and we need an actual record of the job description. If it was a Symplicity posting, please indicate so.  
    • Job offer: provide the offer file/email (please do not redact any details in the offer, especially not the pay)
    • Start and end date
    • Paid position: Yes or no?

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:

    • Faculty of Information (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 Office.

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 Office 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. 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.)