Student Handbook

Contents

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for a work term, students must:

  • First have attended all co-op education mandatory pre-requisite seminars scheduled in the semester prior to the work term;

  • Be registered as a full-time student (minimum 9 credits) in a program provincially approved for the co-op program at Douglas College the semester before your work term;

  • Have completed at least 18 program related credits at Douglas College prior to their first co-op work term;

  • Have demonstrated competency in numeracy, language, and computer literacy;

  • Have attained a minimum grade point average in course work at Douglas College of 2.33 for all programs.

Note: If you plan to transfer co-op course credits to another BC post-secondary institution,  then your grade point average must be higher.  Ask at the receiving institution's co-op office for details.

Application Procedure

Interested students should attend a mandatory orientation/information session.  Application forms for work term opportunities must be completed and submitted by the announced and posted deadline.

Orientation sessions are offered three times each year, usually during the first two weeks of the semester, check Information Sessions in the Information for Students tab to confirm dates and times.  

In addition to a co-op application form and personal information summary, you must complete other forms, and provide further information, including:;

  • a current resume;
  • appropriate documentation if you are a landed immigrant or an international student.

Students must reapply each time they wish to complete a work term, this includes students who have already completed a Co-op work term.

Check the co-op bulletin boards for Orientation Session Dates and Co-op Application Deadlines or contact the Co-op Office at 604-527-5100. 

Benefits of Co-operative Education

  • You can earn about $5,000 - $8,000 per work term which you can allocate toward tuition fees, loans, and other expenses. (The salary range is based upon one standard deviation for a normal distribution of students working 35 hours per week for 16 weeks). 
  • A co-op placement provides you with an opportunity to acquire valued knowledge and experience and to establish contacts with professionals in your chosen field.
  • It provides you with a learning environment to build confidence and self-esteem.
  • It prepares you for future career options and strategies.
  • It provides an opportunity for international students to gain Canadian work experience.
  • An SFU study shows that co-op graduates experience a higher employment rate than non-co-op graduates, and find employment sooner after graduation: 91% of co-op graduates are employed within 2 months versus 60% for non-co-op graduates.

If it is true that it is not just WHAT you know but WHO you know that counts, then co-op provides the opportunity to make contact with the WHOs.

Business Conduct for Co-op Students

You may be facing your first work term with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. We hope these suggestions will help you to handle many situations that arise during your work term. You will find advice on establishing effective work habits, communication techniques, and working relationships.

  • Presenting Yourself
  • Effective Work Habits
  • Establishing Collegial Relationships
    • Meeting and Greeting
    • Team Work
    • Social Functions
  • Ethics: Do the Right Thing
    • Maintain Confidentiality
    • Declare Conflicts of Interest
    • Stick to Business
    • Take the Moral High Ground
  • Effective Communication
    • Communicating in Person
    • E-mail and Internet
    • Telephone communication
  • Resolving Problems and Conflict
    • Potential Problems
    • Conflict
    • Responding to Criticism

Employer Expectations

Employers participated in co-op education because it gives them short-term, highly motivated, and skilled employees.  They also have the opportunity to "test drive" and screen future employees.  They may need assistance during peak business periods, relief for regular staff, or help in completing projects.  Employers expect co-op students to be conscientious, reliable, and professional.  They pay students regular rate salaries, and expect quality work.

Fees & Credit

Fees

Co-op fees for a work term are $703.30 per semester for domestic students and $1300.00 for international students.  
A co-op work term is a 9-credit course.  Check the Douglas College Calendar for the current fee structure.

Credit

Credit for co-op is granted when students have mastered all required criteria.  Students will be assigned a grade of MASTERY when all of the following are achieved:

  • Job search documentation and job interview result in a work placement
  • Work placement learning objectives are defined and fulfilled
  • Work placement project is satisfactory based on given criteria
  • Employer's evaluation is satisfactory based on given criteria
  • Faculty advisor's evaluation is satisfactory based on given criteria

Mandatory Pre-requisite seminars

In compliance with provincial regulations you must attend, and sign in at, all mandatory pre-requisite orientation session and seminars.

The following mandatory pre-requisite seminar is offered each semester:

  • Resume & Cover Letter Writing & Interview Skills

Students will not be accepted into the co-op program if they have not attended both mandatory pre-requisite seminars.  Contact the Co-op Office at 604-527-5100 or co-op@douglascollege.ca for upcoming workshop dates.

Program Requirements

To remain enrolled in the co-op program, students are required to attend all mandatory pre-requisite seminars scheduled by the Co-op Education Office, to undertake an academic semester (with a minimum of 9 course credits) after their first work term and before the second work term, and to finish with an academic semester (with a minimum of 9 course credits). 

Students must also receive satisfactory work term evaluations from both the employer and their faculty advisor, continue to attend Douglas College full time during academic semesters, and maintain the minimum GPA required for their program.

Nine co-operative education credits will be awarded for each completed work term. Upon successful completion of two work terms, students will be eligible for a co-op designation on their diploma or associate degree and three work terms for a co-op designation on their degree.

Remuneration

A student's rate of pay while on a work term is established in accordance with the organization's regular pay scale and the current employment market.  Job requirements and level of responsibility also influence the salary paid.  While the co-op placement will aid you financially, the reason you choose co-op should be for the experiential learning component of your academic program.

Responsibilities of Partners

The co-op partnership means that employers, students and Douglas College work together for enrichment of experience in the classroom and the workplace.  In joining this partnership, each participant acknowledges the requirements of co-operative education.

  • Student Responsibilities
  • Employer Responsibilities
  • Douglas College Co-op Office Responsibilities

Work Activities Performed by Co-op Students

Co-op students have been employed in the following areas:

  • Accounting
  • Administration
  • Audit & Review
  • Computer Support
  • Data Analysis
  • Data Collection / Compilation
  • Data Entry / Word Processing
  • Field Work
  • Financial Analysis
  • Public Relations
  • Research & Writing
  • Planning & Programming
  • Policy Analysis
  • Project Work
  • Staff Support
  • Supervisory
  • Technical
  • Trades
  • Web Design

Work Term Report

Purpose of the Work Term Report

Students in the Co-op program at Douglas College may be required to submit a written, descriptive work report for work terms, or they may be required to complete a project such as handbook, user or procedures manual or the like. The preparation of work reports is expected to benefit co-op students in a number of ways.

  • It will facilitate an understanding of the employer's organization and work environment.
  • It will enhance the student's integration of practical experience and theoretical concepts.
  • It will aid the development of the student's written communication skills.
  • It will showcase the student's research, analytical, and writing skills to the employer.
  • It will assist in the development of learning objectives for subsequent work terms.

Who Will Read Your Report?

Reports should communicate ideas effectively to those responsible for evaluating it, as well as to employers who might benefit from its contents.

Due Date of Report

The work term report must be presented to the Co-operative Education Department on the date agreed upon by you and your faculty advisor.  Failure to meet the deadline for a work term report my result in the work term being recorded as NCG (no credit granted).

Work Term Report Guidelines

  • Description of Your Report
  • How to Write the Report
  • Setting Up the Report

Evaluation of the Work Term Report

  • The report will be evaluated by the faculty advisor. Provision is made for an employer to evaluate a report at the faculty advisor's discretion.
  • Work reports are graded excellent (64-80 points), satisfactory (40-63 points) or unsatisfactory (0-39 points).

FAQ's

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why choose co-op?

In a word - experience! As a Douglas College co-op student you can gain 4 to 16 months of paid work experience, directly related to your field of study. A co-op work term will provide a learning environment for you to acquire valuable knowledge and experience and to build your confidence and self-esteem, thus preparing you for career options upon graduation. Co-op students also have the benefit of establishing contacts with professionals within their industry, which can increase employment opportunities after graduation. Your earnings in a co-op work placement can help you to meet the costs of your education.

Am I eligible for a co-op work term?

First, you must attend a mandatory orientation session, submit a completed co-op application package and attend the mandatory pre-requisite seminars. Co-op students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credits in the semester prior to the co-op work term and maintain an acceptable grade point average (GPA).  The minimum GPA is 2.33 for all programs.

You must also have completed a minimum of 18 credits in your program of study, including approved courses in numeracy, computer literacy and language literacy. In addition to academic performance, students will be selected on the basis of maturity, motivation, adaptability, and prior work experience.

Am I guaranteed a co-op work term, and what if I already have a position related to my studies?

Co-op is an educational program, not a job finding service. While no guarantees are possible, the Co-op Office personnel will do their utmost to assist you in securing a suitable work placement. A great deal will depend on current employment market demands, your particular skills and experience, your ability to "sell" yourself in a job interview with a prospective co-op employer, and your persistence in applying for jobs. If you already have a job related to your studies and choose to use it for co-op credits, then discuss the possibility with your employer and have him/her contact the Co-op Office for further information.

How much can I expect to be paid?

Your rate of pay is established by the employer, occasionally in consultation with the Co-op Office. We recommend that employers pay students in accordance with their organization's regular pay scale, bearing in mind the job duties and level of responsibility. In the Business Management programs, wages normally range between $13 - $18 per hour. Wages, benefits, and working conditions vary considerably among employers.

Are there credits and tuition fees for co-op?

Yes. To recognize the educational value of the co-op experience, nine credits are awarded for each work term successfully completed. Co-op credits cannot be used to meet regular academic course requirements necessary to complete your program, but may be taken into consideration for a co-op designation from other colleges or universities. The cost of a work term is as stated in the fee schedule for nine credits. Payment is made only when a work term placement is secured.

What is expected of students?

Students accepted into the Co-op program are required to attend a mandatory orientation session and all the mandatory pre-requisite seminars and complete any assignments, to play an active role in the job search process, to complete projects or reports, and to conduct themselves appropriately on the job as representatives of the College.

How will I be evaluated?

On-the-job performance is monitored and evaluated by both the employer and the co-op faculty advisor. Evaluation criteria include your contribution to the employer, your ability to communicate, negotiate, and deliver performance objectives, and your state of development in terms of employer-valued abilities. A formal work term project is also required for each placement. Co-op work terms are graded as "Mastery" (pass) or "No Credit Granted" (fail).

When and how can I apply?

Attend the co-op orientation session offered in the Fall, Winter, and Summer semesters. Submit a complete application package by the specified due date (given to you at the Information Session). A complete application package will include the following:

  • Application Form which includes your Personal Information Summary and current semester timetable
  • Documentation if you are a landed immigrant or an international student (International students are required to meet with a member of the Co-op department to review the application process for a Co-op Work Permit).

Please note: Once a student is accepted into the Co-op Program, the student is required to send the department a current unofficial transcript.

Useful resources