Scheduling of Work Terms

The Accreditation Guide and Application stipulates that co-op work terms occur in different seasons of the year. How does this apply to programs with summer-only work terms?

The requirement is to ensure students have exposure to real differences in demand, priorities and the nature of the work environment at different times of the year. Any exceptions must clearly show that the type of work is strictly seasonal in nature.  The applicant may call upon provincial or regional employment data to illustrate that opportunities for graduates within these fields are restricted due to seasonal conditions. Golf-course management and specialized construction programs are two examples where work may not be available year-round. Exceptions related to limited resources or scheduling challenges are not considered.

How does this work for programs with two or more work terms?

Programs that are more than two years in length must meet the 30% minimum outlined above and work terms must be scheduled during more than one season. 

For two-year college programs?

Two-year programs that meet the 25% minimum requirement have only one work term so the seasonal requirement does not apply.

Is it possible to have both eight-month and four-month work terms in one program?

Yes, the total amount of time spent on work terms in this scenario is equivalent to three fourth-month work terms and it meets the 30% minimum for four-year university program, along with the requirement for work terms to be in more than one season.

Does a two-year post-graduate university program with four academic terms and two co-op work terms meet accreditation criteria if the second work term is completed after the final academic term?

Yes, the first work term meets the 25% minimum for programs of two years or less. The program will not be penalized for having a second co-op term at the end because the program meets accreditation criteria based on the first work term and therefore the timing of the second is irrelevant.

Is it possible for a co-op program to end on a work term?

College and university co-op and co-op internship programs ending with a work term are not eligible for accreditation. Accredited programs must begin and end with an academic term in order to allow for integration between co-op and academic terms, analysis of the work experience and to prepare for graduate employment.

Are there any exceptions to this rule?

Accreditation allows for individual student special circumstances such as health issues. An exception is also allowed when a program’s number of work terms exceeds the minimum requirement. The ratio of work terms to academic terms is 30%, so co-op programs with eight (8) academic terms require three (3) work terms. In such a circumstance, programs having a fourth work term may end on the final work term since it is not required for accreditation.