How Co-op Works


Co-operative Education is a learning partnership between you, the university and the employer. You can alternate periods of experience in appropriate fields of business, industry, government, non-profits, and academic studies. Students complete 12-16 months of work experience. The Co-op program offers an alternating and internship models for work term sequencing. Alternating co-op work terms consist of a 4 month + 8 month, 8 month + 4 month where in between work terms, students are enrolled in academic studies. A work term is considered 13-16 weeks of paid employment (minimum 35 hrs/wk) related to your degree within a 4 month semester.The Co-op Internship is a 12-16 months consecutitive work experience typically with a single employer that begins after third year of study.  While completing the work experience, students complete required learning assignments and are monitored and evaluated by the Co-op Office and their employer. Monitoring and evaluation will assist the student with learning and understanding of self and the world of work. 

Securing a co-op work term is competitive and takes effort. Co-op students are not "placed" into jobs. Students apply, interview and compete for jobs like a real-world process. As such, the Co-op Office does not gurantee work terms. The Co-op Office will do its best to assist students in their job search by helping with preparing applications and interviews. The Co-op Office also advertises a number of co-op jobs from across Canada.

As with many Co-op Education programs in Canada,  co-op students complete various professional development training, work terms, and a final assignment. At StFX, students complete three professional development seminars, 12-16 months of work experience, and COOP 405 (3 credits)

Students enrolled in Biology, Business, Computer Science, Health, Human Nutrition, and Math are eligible to apply.  


Co-op students are expected to:

  • Complete all seminar and work term assignments with quality and before the posted deadlines
  • Conform to all the conditions and rules that apply to employees in the organization
  • Exercise ethical workplace conduct
  • Set learning goals which will assist with enhancing academic, professional, and personal skills
  • Maintain employer confidentiality
  • Accept feedback, suggestions for improvement in a positive manner
  • Complete all co-op assignments and participate in work-site evaluations
  • Advise the employer and Co-op office of any concerns or problems with your work assignment or environment as soon as an issue arises.
  • Keep in contact with the Co-op Office. 

Work Term Schedule

Students complete 12-16 months of co-op experience. The Co-op office works within a three semester model. Work terms can run January to April (Winter), May to August (Summer), and September to December (Fall). Students can complete two work terms in the same semester; however, a work term must be in another semester. For example, a student can complete two summer work terms and one work term in the fall or winter semester. The Co-op office will work with the student and academic advising to determine work term sequencing options that fit into the student's academic goals.  Co-op students also have the option to continue their work term with their co-op employer.  After all the work terms are completed, students return to STFX to continue full time with their academic studies. 

Co-op Fees

The total Co-op Education program fee is $3300. Co-op Education programs across Canada will setup their fees differently. At StFX our primary reason for setting up fees as a "pay as you go" system was to spread co-op fees over a period of time as student complete the various program components. Students should not assign a dollar value as it relates to seminars and work terms.  Each professional development seminar fee is $600 ($1800) and each work term fee is $500 ($1500). There are no fees for COOP 405 or the fourth work term. Co-op fees help to offset the costs of running the program. 

Salaries and Wages

The wages listed in the table represent a historical compliation of salary and wage information reported by students and employers. Salaries and wages are subject to change based on the labour market and industry. The rates are presented in Canadian dollars per week before deducations.  Wages can be dependent on the number of work terms completed, course work completed, location, and employer.  In Nova Scotia, eligible organizations can apply for CEI funding which has a minimum wage of $15/hr for 35 hrs/wk. Over the last couple of years, per hour wage from across Canada ranged from $12.00 to $30.00/hr. 


Salary Range (Weekly)

Min 35 hrs/wk





Computer Science




Human Nutrition




Admission Requirements  

Students from Biology, Business, Computer Science, Health, Human Nutrition, or Math  are eligible to apply. A minimum overall first year average of 65% is required for students joining the program in their second year. A minimum overall average of 70% in the second and subsequent years is required for students who join and remain in the program.