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MA in Economics: Co-op program

Gain a competitive edge through experiential learning!

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 8 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 into the workforce before they graduate.

Joining the Co-op program is a career building opportunity.

Applications for May 2024 are now closed. Completed forms sent by August 31, 2024 will be considered for entry for September 2024. Forms sent after that date will be considered for January 2025 entry.

The Department of Economics is the only Arts and Science unit 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:

  1. MA students must complete a single internship, from 4 to 8 months;
  2. MA student do not have to register for a minimum number of credits in a study term, including summer; 
  3. Leaves of absence are not permitted without the permission of the Co-op Academic Director.

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 of your courses, as Co-op is not a placement agency. 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.

If you need guidance for your job search following graduation, please consult with Career Counselling and Educational Transitions.

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 (Fall 2021 entrants must do 27 credits of course work and an 18-credit MA thesis). 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.

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 12 credits out of the 24 (or 27 for Fall 2021 entrants) you need for your MA: 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. 

Students in the Co-op program must pay additional fees. Please consult Co-op fees section on the Institute for Co-operative Education’s webpage. These fees cover the program’s administration cost and the career development services received from Co-op.     

We monitor every Co-op student's academic performance during their program to ensure that students who go on internship 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 internship search or do not actively seek a 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 internship 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- or 27-credit course work requirement and when they enter Co-op because few MA classes are offered during the summer term.

The more frequent sequence is for students to enter Co-op in the second term of studies. For a student admitted to the MA in the Fall term, it would mean completing the Career fundamentals webinar series during the Winter term, then begin their job search in the Summer. Students will then work in the Fall, then return to complete their studies in the Winter or Summer term, depending on the length of their internship.

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 scheduled internship.

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: The Director 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 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 an internship; 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.

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 require that you do.

The Co-op program is not a placement agency. We help you develop skills to find your own job once you graduate. Being part of Co-op 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. 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 internship. 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 internship, 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 an internship 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 this report is mandatory.

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 internship. It's important to consult with the Academic Director first! It might not be a good idea if you are struggling academically, or if you need a bit more time to adapt to working full-time.

A Distinguished Co-Op Alumna: Nichola Dyer

Nichola Dyer, an Economics Co-Op alumna from 1985, works as a program manager at the World Bank, where she has worked for the past 25 years.

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