CO-OP Option


The goal of CO-OP placements is to provide real-world experience within an organization working on issues of interest to the student. Ideally, the CO-OP placement provides an opportunity for students to further define their area of interest, and students can incorporate the knowledge they’ve gained into their major paper for the program.

Most of the CO-OP placements in this program take place in the National Capital Region, particularly within the federal government. However, placements with NGOs, private companies and international organizations overseas are also possible.

Graduate studies and work placements

Located in the heart of the nation’s capital, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) is close to many government departments and several non-governmental organizations and industry associations involved in public and international affairs. This situation is ideal for students seeking work experience as part of their graduate studies.

With the assistance of the CO-OP Office at the University of Ottawa—with the second largest co-op program in Ontario, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs offers the CO-OP option to a select number of students. The number of spaces available in the CO-OP option is not guaranteed and can vary from year to year, depending on the needs of prospective employers.

The CO-OP option allows students the opportunity to acquire practical work experience by completing two one-term work placements in a public, non-profit or private organization in the field of public and international affairs. Admission to CO-OP is on a competitive basis.

Students are paid during their work placements. Once they’ve completed their placement, students must write a CO-OP report. This report can be either an analysis of how the student employed the knowledge and skills acquired in their program during their work placement or present the major work done over the course of the placement. The student, work supervisor and CO-OP coordinator determine the c form the report will take.

The professor in the role of CO-OP coordinator at GSPIA will grade the report either a pass or fail, not a numeral grade.

**IMPORTANT: All CO-OP students must complete at least one full academic session after their last CO-OP placement (i.e., you cannot finish your program in a CO-OP placement).

Two options for CO-OP placements

Option one: Students complete their first work placement during the summer following their first year; the second placement takes place in the winter term of their second year.

Option two: Students complete two consecutive work placements (during the summer following their first year and the fall of their second year). This option helps accommodate longer placements, providing an opportunity for students to be involved in lengthier and more extensive projects at the host organization.

Standard course sequence for students enrolled in CO-OP

CO-OP OPTION 1 : two work placements of four months each (standard course)
Year Fall term Winter term Spring/Summer term
1 4 core courses 2 core courses + 2 elective courses First co-op placement and co-op report
2 2 elective courses + capstone Second co-op placement and co-op report Major research paper (API6999) written over the course of the year; must be completed before end of sixth term
CO-OP OPTION 2 : one work placement for 8 consecutive months (must be approved by the co-op office)
Year Fall term Winter term Spring/Summer term
1 4 core courses 2 core courses + 2 elective courses First co-op placement and co-op report
2 Second co-op placement and co-op report 2 elective courses + capstone Major research paper (API6999) written over the course of the year; must be completed before end of sixth term

 CO-OP application procedure

  1. Log into uoZone.
  2. In the Applications menu, click on CO-OP Navigator.

You don’t need to fill out any application forms. Simply indicate you would like to be considered for this program option by clicking on theSubmit button.
NOTE: You can apply between September 1 and September 30 only.

If you encounter any technical problems, please contact the CO-OP Office immediately to report them.

Only students’ admission averages are considered during the selection process for the CO-OP option. Students must have a minimum GPA of 7.0 to be considered for the CO-OP program. However, due to the competitive nature of this program, not all eligible students will be accepted into CO-OP. Students may require a GPA above 7.0 in order to be admitted into CO-OP, depending on the number of applicants, the number of positions and the academic record of students applying.

** Since a large number of GSPIA students in the CO-OP program have placements with the Government of Canada, students must be able to obtain a security clearance. This clearance is available only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Students can register for only one additional course during their CO-OP work term as long as this class is offered after work at 5:30 p.m. Part-time fees will be charged for this course even though the student will maintain a full-time status.

The major research paper (MRP) element is suspended during a CO-OP work term. Students wanting to register for the MRP while doing a CO-OP placement must submit an MRP registration agreement letter explaining the relationship between the work term and the MRP. The official form for the letter is available from the GSPIA secretariat. It must be completed and then signed by the MRP supervisor, the program coordinator and the student.

Please note that scholarship students, even during a co-op placement, will continue to receive the installment.

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