Frequently Asked Questions

Approved Co-op Students

How does co-op affect OSAP and returning student scholarships/bursaries?
While on a co-op work term, you are considered a full-time student. Students who participate in co-op over the Fall and/or Winter terms will have their OSAP deferred during that term, just as if they were registered in a full-time course load. Notification of deferral must be given to Student Awards and Financial Aid by the student. Because students earn wages during their co-op work terms and are not paying full tuition payments during this time, this will affect the amount of OSAP funding they are entitled to.  Please contact Student Awards and Financial Aid for more information about OSAP entitlements while on co-op. Students who are entitled to returning student bursaries and scholarships will be entitled to those funds upon their return back to in-class studies.
Am I covered by the LUSU Health and Dental Plan while on a co-op?
If you require Health and Dental coverage while out on your co-op work terms, you will need to purchase or “opt-in” through LUSU. This is due to you being out on consecutive work terms, and are not directly billed for this coverage when registered for the Fall terms. If you have registered for Fall academic courses and begin your co-op in the winter or spring, you are still covered by this insurance, if you choose the “opt-in” option in the Fall. If you have any questions concerning the Health and Dental coverage please feel free to contact LUSU directly. http://www.lusu.ca/healthplan/

Can my co-op hours count towards my Professional Engineering licensing?   
Yes. Your co-op hours can count towards up to 12 months of the required 48 months of work experience for licensing.  Please refer to the Pre -graduate Experience Record Guide - Professional Engineers Ontario.
Will co-op delay my graduation? 
This would depend on the program you are in, and how the work term sequence is laid out. In most co-op option program at Lakehead, your degree program may be extended by an additional 4-8 months. This extension is offset by the year of career-related experience you gain. You will still be ahead of your peers who did not choose the co-op options with career opportunities and possibilities. You may have already been offered a position before you graduate!
Can I take courses while I’m doing a co-op work term?
Co-op work terms are considered full time employment, and so you may only take a course during your co-op work term with special permission from your faculty advisor.
How long are work terms?
Work terms are 4 months long. Students must complete a minimum of 420 hours of co-op per term (i.e. 35 hours a week for 12 weeks). Some programs require you to complete consecutive terms (i.e. 4, 8, 12, 16).
Do I arrange my own employment?
Yes. Students are responsible for finding their own co-op jobs. The Student Success Centre can assist with job searching, which will include the Co-op Job Bank, emailed jobs from Employer Relations & Co-op Advisor, co-op prep course, resume review, mock interviews, career fairs, employer recruitment sessions, etc. The job description must be sent to the Employer Relations & Co-op Advisor (coop@lakeheadu.ca) for approval before you can accept a job offer. This is done to ensure that the position meets the standards of the co-operative education program and faculty.
What if I do not like my co-op job?
If you have accepted an offer of employment, you are expected to complete the work term with that employer. If this is not done, you will be dismissed from the Co-op Program, and the notation "Failure" will be made on your transcript for the program. If there are circumstances that prevent you from completing the work term (i.e. Illness), please speak to the Employer Relations & Co-op Advisor. Approval must be granted by the Employer Relations & Co-op Advisor, as well as the appropriate Faculty, before terminating employment. If you do not receive approval before resigning from the position, you will be dismissed from the Co-op Program. While working, if there are any issues or concerns that you have, please contact the Employer Relations & Co-op Advisor to address them.
Do I earn credit for work terms?
You get Co-op credit but you don't receive academic credit for Co-op. Co-op work terms are evaluated on a pass/fail basis and are extra to your degree. The completion of a Co-op Work Term is recorded on your official university transcript which can be shown to potential employers. You receive the real "credit" for Co-op when you receive the Co-op designation with your degree.
If I wish to do more than one work term, do I have to remain working for the same employer?
No, you do not have to work for the same employer. However, if you decide to switch employers, you will be required to pay the full co-op participation fee for the first work term. The co-op fee reduces to a half fee for consecutive work terms with the same employer, so when you change employers you will have to pay the full fee again.For current information regarding the Co-op Program Participation Fee, please visit: Schedule of Fees for Services (including Co-op, and Course Related Fees) 2020-2021
Are all Co-op jobs paid positions?
Generally, yes. Students are expected to be flexible concerning co-op wages and should approach the work term as a learning experience and an opportunity for growth, rather than looking at it solely as an opportunity for financial gain. Approved co-op positions and co-op work terms can be paid or unpaid, or otherwise. This depends on employers' preferences, the career field and on the job market supply and demand conditions that exist.
Is employment guaranteed?
Although Lakehead co-op students have great success in securing co-op employment, this is not a guarantee.  Students are encouraged to be active job seekers and visit or check out the Career Zone for job search assistance (resume and cover letter critique, interview preparation, etc.) in order to increase their chances of securing co-op employment. Approved co-op students are also given useful training on job searching, networking, interview skills and resume writing.
    How do I apply to co-op?
    Applications are submitted online through the mySuccess portal (mysuccess.lakeheadu.ca) during the designated application periods for each work term start (Summer, Winter and Fall). You will be required to fill out an agreement form, enter your program details, and indicate how many work terms you intend to complete. Your application is then reviewed by the Student Success Centre where it is either declined or moved forward to faculty for approval. Approvals are completed by your faculty.
    When can I go on a co-op Work Term?
    Most undergrad students are eligible for work terms summer after 2nd or 3rd year and masters students are eligible summers after 1st year. However, it’s different for every program and you will need to check the academic calendar to be sure. Co-op work term sequences are determined by faculty and will be integrated into your program. Co-op terms can begin in September, January, and May.
    What additional requirements are there for International Students?
    International students are required to apply for and obtain a Co-op Work Permit before they start their co-op. To be eligible for a co-op work permit you must have:
    • You must have a valid study permit;
    • Your intended employment must be an essential part of your program of study in Canada;
    • Your employment must be part of your academic, vocational or professional training program offered by a designated learning institution, certified by a letter from a responsible academic official of the institution;
    • Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50% (percent) of the total program of study 

    You will not be eligible to work during your studies if:

    • You study English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL);
    • You participate in general interest or preparatory courses

    As an international student, you are required to: 

    • Meet the required academic average as outlined in the Academic Calendar, please be advised this is subject to change;
    • Complete the application form found on mysuccess.lakeheadu.ca
    • Have a valid study permit that extends through your anticipated work term(s);
    • Apply for a Co-op Work Permit through Citizenship and Immigration Canada by completing the application package
    Please note that there is no Citizenship and Immigration Canada fee for the Co-op Work Permit The Co-op Work Permit Application must be completed as soon as possible after being approved for co-op work terms. Once you are an approved co-op student, the Co-op Coordinator will issue you a formal letter to attach with your application to CIC.
    What are the deadlines to apply?

    For a Summer Work Term Start: Opens October 1- Closes October 31

    For a Fall Work Term Start: Opens March 1- Closes April 30

    For a Winter Work Term Start: Opens August 1- Closes September 30

     Is there an application fee for co-op?
    Yes, the application fee is $30 and is applied to your student account after the application deadline. 
     Is there a participation fee for co-op?
     Yes. Once you secure a co-op position, you are required to pay a co-op participation fee for each work term you participate in co-op.  When a co-op student is employed with the same employer for two or more consecutive work terms, the consecutive work terms will be equivalent to 50% of the Co-op Program Participation Fee. The fees for the 2020-2021 academic year are $677.01 for the first work term with the same employer and $338.48 for consecutive work terms with same employer. For a breakdown of the co-op participation fee, please visit: Schedule of Fees for Services (including Co-op, and Course Related Fees) 2020-2021
     What employers hire co-op students?
     Refer to: Who Hires Co-op?
     Are international co-op work terms available?
      Please email coop@lakeheadu.ca for more information about international co-op programs available.
     Why do I pay fees for a Co-op work term?
     As Co-operative Education is an academic program where your Co-op work term is noted on your University transcript, a tuition fee is charged for each work term. By having the work term be included in your transcript, it is not only valuable experience and boosts your resume, but it signals to employers that your work experience included a quality position with a quality employer affiliated with the University. You are also assessed a fee to cover the cost of co-op related activities and services offered by the Student Success Centre.
    What are the average co-op salaries for students?
    The average across all programs is about $18/hour, depending on your year level.
    Do co-op positions have to be approved?
    Yes. All co-op positions must be approved before you can accept a job offer. This is done to ensure that the position meets the standards of the co-operative education program and your faculty. It is important to note co-op positions are approved by faculty advisors. 
    Will I have to move to my co-op position?
    Students do have the option to pursue co-op opportunities outside of Thunder Bay and Orillia. As a co-op student, you must be flexible to co-op opportunities and willing to accept positions throughout Ontario and Canada. If you do have to relocate for your position, all moving expenses are your responsibility. You may also qualify for some assistance through the Canada Revenue Agency for moving expenses. Also, some employers help with moving expenses, depending on the company.
    What can I do to increase my chances of securing a co-op placement?
    • Ensure that you understand the eligibility criteria for co-op
    • Attend programming put on by the Career Zone to help with resume, cover letter, interview skills, job search skills, networking, etc. 
    • Check your Lakehead University student email frequently for important information sent from the Employer Relations & Co-op Advisor
    • Be as open as possible to each type of position and location
    • Have a positive, open flow of communication with the co-op coordinator
    • Be prepared, develop professional marketing material to sell yourself (cover letter, résumé, interview skills)
    • Engage in an active job search the term before co-op, apply for positions posted through the co-op job bank and conduct an independent job search by using personal initiatives and networks
    • Ask questions, if you are unsure about something or need clarification, speak to your faculty advisor or the Employer Relations & Co-op Advisor.
    What is a Co-op designation?
    The Co-op designation is an achievement that tells employers you are sufficiently prepared to enter the workplace with limited orientation. You are seen to be a proven commodity in the eyes of potential employers at graduation, significantly reducing the risk that comes with hiring an entry-level employee. The amount of co-op required for co-op designation is different for each program. Most undergraduate programs require 16 months (4 terms), with the exception of the Business faculty that requires only 12 months (3 terms). For masters students, the requirement for co-op designation is 8 months (2 terms). The Co-op Designation goes on both your degree parchment and transcripts.
    What happens if I don't complete the required Co-op work terms?
    Not completing the required work terms means you don't receive your Co-op designation. Receiving the designation does demonstrate to employers that you've taken the time to go beyond a degree. Our office encourages all Co-op students to obtain their designation.
    Can I finish my degree on a Co-op work term?
    No. Student’s degree programs must begin and end on an academic term. They may register in additional work terms beyond their program requirement as long as they have reached the co-op designation minimum (with the exception of international students on a co-op work permit).  This can be discussed in more detail with the Co-op Coordinator.
    Who do I contact about the Co-op Program?
    If you have any questions about the co-op program, you can contact the Employer Relations & Co-op Advisor at coop@lakeheadu.ca.

    Future Co-op Students

    Is Co-op a placement program? 
    No. Students are not placed in predetermined co-op employment. The Co-op Coordinator works closely with the students to help with job search and employability skills, and connecting students with potential co-op employers. It is the responsibility of the student to actively search and apply for co-op opportunities and secure co-op employment.  
    • Co-op jobs are posted and co-op students are responsible for applying and submitting their résumé to jobs that are of interest
    • Résumés of eligible students are sent to co-op employers and the employers select the students they wish to interview
    • Employers conduct the interviews and make their selection as to whom they will extend an offer
    • The offer is presented to the student and the student can accept or decline
    • Once a student accepts a position they are no longer permitted to apply and interview for available positions
    • Students are also encouraged to seek and apply for outside positions related to their field and network with any contacts they may have
        
     
    Is employment guaranteed? 
    Although Lakehead co-op students have great success in securing co-op employment, this is not a guarantee.  Students are encouraged to be active job seekers and visit or check out the Career Zone for job search assistance (resume and cover letter critique, interview preparation, etc.) in order to increase their chances of securing co-op employment. Approved co-op students are also given useful training on job searching, networking, interview skills and resume writing. 
    What are the deadlines to apply? 
    For a Summer Work Term Start: Opens October 1- Closes October 31
    For a Fall Work Term Start: Opens March 1- Closes April 30
    For a Winter Work Term Start: Opens August 1- Closes September 30
     
    Is there a participation fee for co-op? 
    Yes. Once you secure a co-op position, you are required to pay a co-op participation fee for each work term you participate in co-op.  When a co-op student is employed with the same employer for two or more consecutive work terms, the consecutive work terms will be equivalent to 50% of the Co-op Program Participation Fee. The fees for the 2020-2021 academic year are $677.01 for the first work term with the same employer and $338.48 for consecutive work terms with the same employer. For a breakdown of the co-op participation fee, please visit: Schedule of Fees for Services (including Co-op, and Course Related Fees) 2020-2021 
    Can my co-op hours count towards my Professional Engineering licensing? 
    Yes. Your co-op hours can count towards up to 12 months of the required 48 months of work experience for licensing.  Please refer to the Pre -graduate Experience Record Guide - Professional Engineers Ontario. 
    How does co-op affect OSAP and returning student scholarships/bursaries? 
    While on a co-op work term, you are considered a full-time student. Students who participate in co-op over the Fall and/or Winter terms will have their OSAP deferred during that term, just as if they were registered in a full-time course load. Notification of deferral must be given to Student Awards and Financial Aid by the student. Because students earn wages during their co-op work terms and are not paying full tuition payments during this time, this will affect the amount of OSAP funding they are entitled to.  Please contact Student Awards and Financial Aid for more information about OSAP entitlements while on co-op. Students who are entitled to returning student bursaries and scholarships will be entitled to those funds upon their return back to in-class studies. 
    Am I covered by the LUSU Health and Dental Plan while on a co-op? 
    If you require Health and Dental coverage while out on your co-op work terms, you will need to purchase or “opt-in” through LUSU. This is due to you being out on consecutive work terms, and are not directly billed for this coverage when registered for the Fall terms. If you have registered for Fall academic courses and begin your co-op in the winter or spring, you are still covered by this insurance, if you choose the “opt-in” option in the Fall.If you have any questions concerning the Health and Dental coverage please feel free to contact LUSU directly. http://www.lusu.ca/healthplan/ 
    What are the average co-op salaries for students? 
    The average across all programs is about $18/hour, depending on your year level. 
    Do co-op positions have to be approved? 
    Yes. All co-op positions must be approved before you can accept a job offer. This is done to ensure that the position meets the standards of the co-operative education program and your faculty. It is important to note co-op positions are approved by faculty advisors.  
    Will I have to move to my co-op position? 
    Students do have the option to pursue co-op opportunities outside of Thunder Bay and Orillia. As a co-op student, you must be flexible to co-op opportunities and willing to accept positions throughout Ontario and Canada. If you do have to relocate for your position, all moving expenses are your responsibility. You may also qualify for some assistance through Canada Revenue Agency for moving expenses. Also, some employers help with moving expenses, depending on the company. 
    When can I go on a Co-op Work Term? 
    Most undergrad students are eligible for work terms summer after 2nd or 3rd year, and masters students are eligible summers after 1st year. However, it’s different for every program and you will need to check the academic calendar to be sure. Co-op work term sequences are determined by faculty and will be integrated into your program. Co-op terms can begin in September, January, and May. 
    Will co-op delay my graduation? 
    This would depend on the program you are in, and how the work term sequence is laid out. In most co-op option program at Lakehead, your degree program may be extended by an additional 4-8 months. This extension is offset by the year of career-related experience you gain. You will still be ahead of your peers who did not choose the co-op options with career opportunities and possibilities. You may have already been offered a position before you graduate! 
    Can I take courses during the summer or when on a work term, so I can graduate sooner? 
    Co-op work terms are considered full time employment, and so you may only take a course during your co-op work term with special permission from your faculty advisor. 
     Who can participate in a co-op? 
    Only students who are registered in a co-op program can participate in co-op opportunities. See our co-op website for a full listing of co-op programs available at Lakehead. 
     What programs have a co-op option? 
     Refer to: Lakehead Programs with Co-op Option 
     What are the benefits of a co-op? 
    There are many benefits to doing co-op:
    • Gain a well-rounded education, enriched by the practical application of classroom learning;
    • Develop new skills and knowledge;
    • Gain a broader understanding of career options, often in a variety of employment settings;
    • Experience personal growth and professional development;
    • Build your resume and job search skills;
    • Establish professional relationships and develop a network of contacts upon graduation; 
    • Offset cost to your education;
    • Opportunity to gain beneficial Canadian work experience 
     
     
    What is a co-op work term? 
    A work term is a four-month period of full-time paid employment in a position relating to an area within a major. When enrolled in a work term, you maintain full-time student status. A co-op work term position ensures a meaningful experience that complements your education and broadens your skills. The primary objective is to provide you with a planned, supervised work experience that will enhance your academic learning and enhance employment marketability upon graduation. 
    When do work terms take place? 
    There are three work term periods: fall (Sept.-Dec.), winter (Jan.-April), and summer (May-Aug.). Hiring for these generally takes place one to four months in advance. The winter (Jan.-April) recruiting cycle is for work terms starting in May, the summer (May-Aug.) recruiting cycle is for work terms starting in September, and the fall (Sept.-Dec.) recruiting cycle is for work terms starting in January. 
    Is there an application fee for co-op? 
    Yes, the application fee is $30 and is applied to your student account after the application deadline. 
    Are international co-op work terms available? 
    Please email coop@lakeheadu.ca for more information about international co-op programs available. 
    Why do I pay fees for a Co-op work term? 
    As Co-operative Education is an academic program where your Co-op work term is noted on your University transcript, a tuition fee is charged for each work term. By having the work term be included in your transcript, it is not only valuable experience and boosts your resume, but it signals to employers that your work experience included a quality position with a quality employer affiliated with the University. You have also assessed a fee to cover the cost of co-op related activities and services offered by the Student Success Centre. 
    How long are work terms? 
    Work terms are 4 months long. Students must complete a minimum of 420 hours of co-op per term (i.e. 35 hours a week for 12 weeks). Some programs require you to complete consecutive terms (i.e. 4, 8, 12, 16). 
    How do I apply to co-op? 
    Applications are submitted online through the mySuccess portal (mysuccess.lakeheadu.ca) during the designated application periods for each work term start (Summer, Winter and Fall). You will be required to fill out an agreement form, enter your program details, and indicate how many work terms you intend to complete. Your application is then reviewed by the Student Success Centre where it is either declined or moved forward to faculty for approval. Approvals are completed by your faculty. 
    Are there eligibility requirements? 
    Yes. These eligibility requirements are different for every program. Please refer to the academic calendar to ensure you understand the eligibility requirement of your program. 
    Do I earn credit for work terms? 
    You get Co-op credit but you don't receive academic credit for Co-op. Co-op work terms are evaluated on a pass/fail basis and are extra to your degree. The completion of a Co-op Work Term is recorded on your official university transcript which can be shown to potential employers. You receive the real "credit" for Co-op when you receive the Co-op designation with your degree. 
    What additional requirements are there for International Students? 
    International students are required to apply for and obtain a Co-op Work Permit before they start their co-op. To be eligible for a co-op work permit you must have:
    • You must have a valid study permit;
    • Your intended employment must be an essential part of your program of study in Canada;
    • Your employment must be part of your academic, vocational or professional training program offered by a designated learning institution, certified by a letter from a responsible academic official of the institution;
    • Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50% (percent) of the total program of study 

    You will not be eligible to work during your studies if:
    • You study English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL);
    • You participate in general interest or preparatory courses


    As an International student, you are required to: 
    • Meet the required academic average as outlined in the Academic Calendar, please be advised this is subject to change;
    • Complete the application form found on mysuccess.lakeheadu.ca
    • Have a valid study permit that extends through your anticipated work term(s);
    • Apply for a Co-op Work Permit through Citizenship and Immigration Canada by completing the application package

    Please note that there is no Citizenship and Immigration Canada fee for the Co-op Work Permit The Co-op Work Permit Application must be completed as soon as possible after being approved for co-op work terms. Once you are an approved co-op student, the Co-op Coordinator will issue you a formal letter to attach with your application to CIC.
     
    Can I finish my degree on a Co-op work term? 
    No. Student’s degree programs must begin and end on an academic term. They may register in additional work terms beyond their program requirement as long as they have reached the co-op designation minimum (with the exception of international students on a co-op work permit).  This can be discussed in more detail with the Employer Relations & Co-op Advisor. 
    Who do I contact about the Co-op Program? 
    If you have any questions about the co-op program, you please email the Employer Relations & Co-op Advisor at coop@lakeheadu.ca