Economics Experiential Learning: Co-op program
Gain a competitive edge!
After graduation, the challenge of finding a job at the same time as thousands of other new graduates begins. Co-op alumni tend to find jobs faster than other students and at higher salaries. How? With the help of Concordia's Institute for Co-operative Education, they have already sharpened their job search; résumé and cover letter writing; networking; and interview skills while studying. They also have between 4 and 12 months of relevant paid work experience to put on their résumé! This also allows Co-op students to orient their career in the right direction by letting them sample different types of jobs or employers before they graduate.
Joining the Co-op program is a career building opportunity.
An Economics degree trains you to analyze problems and find an original solution instead of following recipes. You will gain various technical skills (data collection, econometric and statistical analysis, etc...) very valuable in the workplace or to pursue graduate studies.
A picture is often worth a thousand words!
By studying Economics, you will learn that wages should grow when labour demand grows relatively faster than labour supply: The recent surge in the number of Business School graduates in Québec may explain why Economics graduates are now getting a better pay. In the job market nowadays, you are not quite unique if you have a Business degree. Economists, on the other hand, are in short supply.
Co-op students must complete three (3) four-months long paid work terms. Paid work experience means that employers will expect a high level of productivity and professionalism from any student.
Note, however, that the Co-op program is not a placement agency. Work term placements are obtained on a competitive basis. Students can apply for jobs posted with the Institute for Co-operative Education but are also encouraged to arrange their own.
In the past, Economics Co-op students have worked for employers such as Agriculture and Agri-Food, Bank of Canada, Bank Laurentian, Bank of Montreal, Black and Decker, Bombardier, Canadian Pacific Railways, Canadian Space Agency, Environment Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Hydro Quebec, Industry Canada, Pfizer Pharmaceutical, Pratt and Whitney, Revenue Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotia McLeod, Statistics Canada, TD Bank, Transport Canada, Pratt & Whitney, and Mercer.
Economics Co-op students have participated in market research, analyzed Canadian export trends, build forecast models and more. Read our students' testimonials of their work terms and see what they have to say.
C.Edge (Career Edge) is a different program than Co-op, and allows students to complete one work term instead of three. With C.Edge, you can enjoy the same benefits as the Co-op program in terms of career preparation and access to interesting internship opportunities, but with more flexibility.
Students may apply to C.Edge in the Winter (deadline to apply is April 1st, 2020) through the Institute for Co-operative Education: please consult the BA C.Edge tab on this page for more information.
Co-op students must either be enrolled in Specialization or Honours in Economics. Both Specialization and Honours are more intensive than a Major in Economics, requiring 20 Economics courses (60 credits), instead of 14 courses (42 credits) for a Major.
- Honours: Normal route to graduate work in Economics. Core courses are ECON 325, 326, 401, 403, 421, and 422.
- Specialization: More flexibility in selecting advanced courses. Of the core courses, Specialization students must only take ECON 325 and ECON 421 or 423.
In addition, Co-op students must participate in four webinars designed to enhance their job search skills, their cover letter and résumé writing skills, and their interview skills. A work term preparation course must also be attended prior to the first work term.
It is also important to note that the Co-op program is an intensive program designed to be completed within three (3) years, similarly to the regular Economics program. Students are thus required to be enrolled full-time in any semester other than their work term semesters. Normally, for new students, the first work term takes place during the fourth semester of enrolment, then alternate study and work terms. It is possible to have two consecutive work terms, but the study/work term sequence must end with a study term.
To learn more about the Co-op experience, visit the Institute for Co-operative Education.
Consult these sections of the Undergraduate Calendar for more information more about the Co-op requirements:
New students can apply to the Economics Co-op program at the time of applying to Concordia by checking the Co-op box on their application. It becomes difficult to design a feasible Co-op work/study sequence if you have already completed more than 30 out of 90 credits or 60 out of 120 credits: current students should therefore apply to Co-op as soon as possible.
Current Concordia students can apply by clicking on the apply button at the top of this page. We are looking for motivated and dedicated students with solid academic records: Students who demonstrate good technical abilities (math, statistics) and a keen interest for economics will be preferred. The ability to communicate in both French and English is also an asset.
The C.Edge (Career Edge) program is an option that students can consider instead of Co-op:
- C.Edge only has one work term rather than three.
- Students can be full-time or part-time, in any of the three degree programs (Major, Specialization, or Honours) offered by the Department.
- To be eligible for C.Edge, students must have a 2.5 CGPA and have completed at least 45 credits (excluding ECP credits) before the work term begins.
- The admission process only happens in the Winter semester. Students must apply to C.Edge by April 1, 2020.
For more information, please consult the Institute for Co-Operative Education's C.Edge webpage.
The Department of Economics is the only one offering the Co-op option to its MA students. As a member of the MA Co-op program, you must remember the following characteristics of the program:
- MA students must complete a single work term;
- MA student do not have to register for a minimum number of credits in a study term, including summer;
- Leaves of absence are not permitted without the permission of the Co-op Academic Director.
Please refer to the New admits to Co-op tab on this page for more information about the Economics Co-op program.
As soon as possible! As one Chinese saying goes, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago”. You need to complete two terms of study before going on your work term. If you wait too long, it will be too late.
You cannot be admitted to Co-op if you are near completion, as Co-op is not a placement agency. If you need guidance for your job search following graduation, please consult with Career and Placement Services (CAPS).
Students are required to do two study terms as a member of the Institute for Co-operative education before going on their work term. This requirement is to allow enough time to complete the Career Fundamentals webinar series, the Work Term Preparation seminar, your résumé, cover letters, and to participate in the job search process within Co-op.
International students can join Co-op. However, you should bear in mind that your internship search might be a bit harder than that of other students, because international students might not be eligible for some of the jobs offered by Canadian government agencies (a major employer of MA Co-op students). In addition, it might be more difficult to find a job around Montreal if you do not speak French fluently.
A Co-op student is subject to the same academic requirements as a regular MA student: 24 credits of course work and a 21-credit MA paper. The Co-op requirements are on top of those.
It is important to note that the Co-op Academic Director monitors all Co-op students’ performance at the end of each semester. Students whose academic performance is not satisfactory may be withdrawn from Co-op before the next semester’s DNE date (to avoid any further Co-op fees being charged).
MA students may be withdrawn from the Co-op program if their academic performance is not satisfactory after one term of studies. In this case, Co-op fees paid for that one term cover the cost of the Career Fundamentals webinars.
We monitor every Co-op student's academic performance during their program to ensure that students who go on work terms have a solid understanding of Economics: employers expect our students to be equipped with tools to conduct actual research/analysis.
Co-op students must also invest themselves into their internship search. Students who do not prepare adequately for the work term search or do not actively seek a work term placement will be withdrawn from Co-op. The Co-op program aims at giving you all the tools required for a successful internship search: it is up to you to use them to secure an internship.
Some students believe that Co-op is not for them if they want to pursue a PhD after their MA. We disagree! Work experience gives a practical perspective of economic issues and a chance to get your hands dirty with data. You might even get ideas for your thesis from this experience! Not all MA Co-op students look for a job after they graduate; some continue on to Ph.D. studies, but none regret their Co-op experience (from a recent survey of Co-op graduates).
More than 45% of Co-op graduates said that their work term experience helped them when they wrote their MA paper; about 78% of those said that this experience was at least as useful as their course work. Doing some applied work cannot hurt!
There is no typical path in the MA program; it all depends on how fast students complete the required 24-credit course work requirement and when they enter Co-op because few MA classes are offered during the summer term.
The best-case scenario is for students to enter Co-op in the Fall semester when their MA studies begin. These students would complete the Career Fundamentals webinar series in late fall, attend the Work Term Preparation seminar in early winter, and begin their job search for the next semester. Students will then work either in the Summer or Fall semester, then return in the Winter semester to complete their studies.
All new Co-op students are invited to meet with the Economics Co-op Academic Director to prepare their Co-op sequence. It is at that meeting that the order of study and work terms will be determined.
According to a recent survey of our MA Co-op graduates, 100% agreed that:
- Going through Co-op had a positive impact on their career;
- They would choose to join Co-op again;
- They would recommend joining Co-op to a friend.
Comments from a survey of MA Co-op graduates
“I made valuable connections with researchers that I still have today. I gained access to a dataset, which I used to complete my MA thesis and I gained worked experience. I also went on to pursue a PhD and the subject of my PhD thesis was related to an idea I got while doing my second MA Co-op work term. Overall, it was a very positive experience!”
“It has definitely helped guide me towards the type of job that I would rather do, as well as given me opportunities that would otherwise be much harder to come by.”
“I think there is much value on all sides for the co-op program to be successful, as for most people, the end-goal of education is to enter the labour force and the co-op program is a bridge to that goal.”
“I have been able to expand my network. My previous supervisor, despite having left [a government agency], helped me find a job elsewhere. Because he strongly vouched for me, I had the opportunity to work at [another government agency].”
“It was a great opportunity to see if working in public service was a good fit for me.”
“It gave me a great opportunity to show employers what I was capable of doing.”
“I'm grateful for the opportunities that were offered by the co-op program and hope that students see the value in such programs.”
You have been invited to join the Institute for Co-operative Education's program? Congratulations! If you are a new student at Concordia, read your admission letter carefully; it contains information on the steps required to accept this offer. If you are a current student, please read the email you have received for the next steps.
You will be invited to meet with the Co-Op Academic Director to confirm your work/study sequence. You need to become actively involved in the program two semesters prior to the first scheduled work term.
Do not hesitate to contact us for any questions or concerns: the Economics Co-Op Academic Director, the Co-Op Coordinator, and the Economics Internships and EL Coordinator are all there to support you. Welcome aboard!
The Academic Director serves as your academic advisor throughout your Co-op journey: They can help you plan your studies at Concordia, help you avoid common mistakes, and assist you in resolving any registration issue quickly. Meeting with the Academic Director right after admission into Co-op is very important, especially if you were admitted after you have already completed some courses at Concordia.
It varies from one student to the next, depending on your degree requirements: ESL courses, a double Major, exemptions, transfer credits, how many credits you've taken per semester, etc. will have an impact on your sequence. This is why it's important to meet with the Economics Academic Director to confirm your sequence, so you know how to plan out your course registration for each term. A default sequence for students admitted into Co-op straight from cégep goes like this for Fall (September) admissions:
Winter (January) admissions:
If you were admitted to Co-op after your second semester at Concordia, your sequence might look like this:
Note that, in some cases, you might have to complete two work terms in a row to follow Co-op’s rules. These work terms could be with the same employer or with different employers.
C.Edge students normally apply to the program in the first year of studies. It is only possible to apply during the Winter semester (February - April) The application process is managed through the Institute for Co-operative Education. A sequence may look like this, if the Institute schedules your internship in the Summer semester:
They indicate the stages that must be completed before you get the “green light” to search for a job placement:
You must complete the career fundamentals webinars two semesters prior to your first scheduled work term. You will be notified by the Co-op Institute when it is time to do so. There are four webinars to complete:
- Résumé Skills
- Cover Letter Skills
- Job Search Skills
- Interview Skills
You will then have to attend the work term preparation seminar given by your Co-op Coordinator at the beginning of the semester prior to your first work term. In this seminar, you will learn all the details about the job search/matching process within Co-op. The Co-op Coordinator is the resources person for any matter related to your job search and your work term. The Coordinator will also review your résumé with you.
Next comes the job search. Once you have completed the first two stages, you can begin submitting your résumé to employers and prepare for interviews.
There are two successive job search phases within Co-op:
- The rank-match phase: During this first phase, employers rank students that they have interviewed and students rank potential employers. Students and employers are then paired together based on their respective ranking.
- The continuous placement phase: During this second phase, job offers are posted as they arrive and employers can hire students at any time.
It can be modified, but the Academic Director must approve any change because the sequence must follow certain rules. For example, a sequence cannot end with a work term; it has to end with a study term. If you are not sure of what your sequence is or will be, just ask the Director.
If you currently enrolled in a Major, you will automatically be transferred to the Specialization in Economics once you accept your admission offer. C.Edge students can remain in the Major. If you already are a Specialization or Honours student, you will remain in the same program. MA students are all enrolled in the course-based program, and therefore no transfer is necessary.
The first work term is often the hardest to get. After, it gets easier as you gain experience. To be succesful in landing an internship, you must be truly implicated in the process. Success takes more than just luck. This means that you have to apply to many jobs, to attend all your interviews, and to check your emails daily. Being ready to travel to another city is a way to expand opportunities; It may be required if you do not speak French because jobs around Montreal often necessitate that you do.
The Co-op and C.Edge programs are not placement agencies. We help you develop skills to find your own job once you graduate. Being part of Co-op or C.Edge does not guarantee that you will find an internship, although most students do.
The Institut for Co-operative Education has a designated web platform called COMPASS that allows students to deal with all matters related to Co-op and C.Edge. The Co-op staff also communicate with students through this platform. You will learn more about COMPASS during the work term preparation seminar.
Looking for internships outside the COMPASS platform is possible and certainly encouraged. However, the internship needs to be approved by the Co-op Institute. You will also need to complete the career fundamentals webinars and the work term preparation seminar beforehand. Networking is a good way to find a job, but we want you to learn how to hunt for jobs on your own too.
You are expected to learn by doing, but also to reflect on what you have learned throughout your work term. As such, we expect that all Co-op students be active in participating in all facets of the program: Career Fundamentals, job search, events organized by the Institute, etc.
At the beginning of your work term, you and your employers will set goals to achieve during the internship. There will be a mid-point evaluation and a final evaluation by your employer. By going out there as a member of Economics' Co-op program, you will be an ambassador of Concordia and our department: your conduct throughout your Co-op experience must therefore be professional and responsible.
At the end of your internship, you will have to submit a work term report to the Academic Director who will grade it. This report will describe your tasks during the internship and how these tasks relate to your academic training. You will be asked to reflect on the goals that you set for yourself initially and whether or not you were able to achieve them. Writing a work term report is mandatory after each work term.
Co-op students are expected to perform well academically. Your academic performance will be monitored by the Academic Director at the end of each semester: A Co-op student must maintain a GPA above 2.70.
If your GPA falls under 2.70, the Co-op Academic Director will contact you to schedule a meeting, so you can talk about strategies to remedy the situation. If your academic performance does not improve after your next internship, you might have to withdraw from Co-op.
As a Co-op student, you will be allowed to register to classes one day earlier than other students: take full advantage of this chance by finding out what your registration date will be...and always register for the full year.
Looking at finishing your degree a bit earlier? You are allowed to take one evening class during your work term. It's important to consult with the Academic Director first! It might not be a good idea if you are struggling academically, or if it's your first work term and you might need a bit more time to adapt to working full-time.
Some Co-op students also choose to transfer from Co-op to C.Edge. Work terms that you may already have completed will be considered as completed within the C.Edge program.