Co-operative Education is a model of education designed to develop skills and knowledge and to improve self-understanding by integrating classroom study with planned and supervised professional, paid work experience.

Co-operative Education is based on the principle that well-educated individuals develop most effectively through an educational pattern, which incorporates work experience.

Vancouver Island University currently offers several programs, which incorporate the Co-operative Education model:

Admission Requirements

Admission and graduation requirements for Co-operative Education programs are determined by individual academic departments. Please consult with the Co-op office or program areas for further information.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Co-operative Education allows students to apply for credit for their first work term on the basis of prior relevant work experience. Students should discuss any potential prior learning assessment with the Co-op Coordinator. Prior learning assessment for work term credit will be subject to the following guidelines.

  • A formal written application for prior learning assessment is required prior to undertaking the first scheduled work term.
  • Work term credit obtained through prior learning assessment is limited to a maximum of one work term.
  • Assessment of work term credit will be carried out by the Co-operative Education department, based on the following:
    • a minimum of one year of continuous, directly relevant work experience;
    • written confirmation of employment and evaluation of performance from the employer;
    • written job description and/or comprehensive outline of the prior work experience;
    • a work term report and/or class presentation as specified by the individual program.

General Regulations for Work Term Placement

In order to successfully complete the Co-operative Education work term, students will be required to fulfill their agreement with employers, which includes receiving satisfactory performance evaluations. Students must also submit a satisfactory work term report/project and/or class presentation by the deadline specified by the individual program.

To be eligible for the work term, students must maintain academic requirements, as well as successfully complete the required Co-operative Education preparation course.

All work terms must be approved prior to the student’s acceptance of an offer of employment.

Acceptance into the academic program and the Co-operative Education model is not a guarantee of a Co-operative Education work term placement.

Students registered for work terms are considered to be enrolled in a full-time course of studies and may not take additional college-level credit courses, without the permission of the appropriate program coordinator.

The Co-op work term fee is due during the second month of each work term. International students pay a differential rate; payment for international students is due on April 1.

More Information

For further information, please contact the Centre for Experiential Learning.