Best Engineering Co-Op Programs in Canada University 2021

Best Engineering Co-Op Programs in Canada University 2021

I’m going to be introducing the best engineering co-op programs in Canada. And telling you some of the pros and cons of each.

Important: Co-op and Express Entry

If you are planning to immigrate to Canada through studies and are looking to opt for a Co-op program be aware that

Co-op work experience does NOT count for immigration as a Canadian work experience in Express Entry!

It is especially important for those applicants who lack points in Express Entry. Prepare well in advance and calculate your score carefully.

Read more:

Step by Step Process of Express Entry System in Canada

Top University in Canada for Engineering 2021

If you’ve decided that you want to study in Canada, your first question is probably which university in Canada is the best for engineering?

Well, that’s a very valid question and I’m going to do my best to answer it. I’m going to be using McLean’s Canada 2021 top engineering school rankings which look a little something like this.

*1University of Toronto
*1University of Waterloo
3University of British Columbia
4McGill University
5University of Alberta.
6McMaster University
7Queen’s University
8University of Montreal
9University of Victoria
10University of Caligary

So tied for first we have the university of Toronto and the university of waterloo. In third, we have the university of British Columbia.

I’m not really sure how they measure these things because they don’t really tell you on the website. Maybe they take a survey from a bunch of students and see which university is most popular.

Because they don’t really tell you how they do it, I wouldn’t take these rankings too seriously. But they are a good guideline. I also personally think that rankings are not the most important thing that you should be considering when you’re looking to choose a university.

Best Universities With Engineering Co-op Programs

In this section, I’m going to be talking about all the different engineering programs and the claims that they make on their websites. Hopefully, this will give you an idea about the quality of the education or the internships that you might be doing

University of Waterloo Engineering Co-op

The University of Waterloo has arguably the best engineering co-op program in all of Canada. And this makes them the most competitive engineering program in all of Canada. 

How does the University of Waterloo Engineering Co-op Works?

With the University of Waterloo engineering coop program, you start off by taking either four months or eight months of studies which they call stream four or stream 8. Then at the end of your chosen stream, you begin a co-op.


The people at their co-op offices are extremely well connected and they are extremely helpful in getting you a job for your internships.

Waterloo has almost a 100% participation rate in all of its co-op programs.

Meaning that literally, every single student including the first years gets an internship; every single work term. And after your first work term, you usually go back to school for four months and then work for four months and then go to school for four months.

So you’re just switching back and forth between work and school after stream four or stream eight.

One reason that this is such a big deal is that these work terms can help you pay off your degree while you’re in school.

Another big reason is that the work is practical experience. And you’re not just going to be flipping burgers at McDonald’s.

I know I sound like a salesperson here for waterloo but they do have quite a bit going for them.


However all of the nice stuff being said there is a place where waterloo doesn’t shine very well. Waterloo is a notoriously depressed school and I’m sure you can say this for a lot of universities across Canada. But waterloo has it pretty bad.

It’s tough to say before going to a university like waterloo. If while you’re there you might feel some symptoms of depression. But if you’re going and you’re solely considering the program then waterloo is a very good choice.

University of Toronto Engineering Co-op

University of Toronto Engineering Co-op is also really good.

Some other fun facts about UOT. It has nine libraries. There are tons of places in residence for first years and generally speaking it’s a very well-rounded institution that does research in lots of areas.

How does the University of Toronto Engineering Co-op program Works?

University of Toronto Engineering Co-op program differs a little bit from waterloo. Because at UOT, you either take a 12 month or a 16 month co-op and you have to do it after your second or third year.

This means the first-year students are required to focus on their studies. But in your first two summers where you’re not working, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still look for a related job and try and get a job in an engineering field.

The jobs that you get during the first year of studies most likely will not be counted as a co-op on your engineering degree.

Difference Between the University of Toronto and Waterloo Engineering Co-op program 

Waterloo’s co-op program lets you experiment with multiple different companies by giving you five or six different work terms.

Meanwhile, at UOT, you have to get hired by one company. You have to stick with that company for 12 or 16 months, whether or not you’re actually enjoying the work that you’re doing.


University of Toronto’s biggest pro is that it’s located right in the heart of Toronto and there are tons of bars, restaurants, and businesses that you can go to and explore.

You’re also surrounded by some of the biggest corporations in Canada who often like to hire UOT students. So if you really want to get a taste of living in a big city then UOT could be a really good choice.


So what are some problems?

First, it’s expensive. UOT is going to be the most expensive university in the most expensive city. So your cost of living is going to be pretty high.

And secondly, if you don’t like living in a big city and you want to see some nice scenery. Canada has lots of very scenic places that in my opinion are much more beautiful than the unfortunate concrete jungle of Toronto.

And I’ve also heard some rumors that UOT engineering programs are the most difficult in the university. And I would obviously take this with a grain of salt because no matter where you go to an engineering school it’s gonna be difficult. And UOT is no exception.

University of British Columbia Engineering Co-op

How does the University of British Columbia Engineering co-op works?

University of British Columbia Engineering co-op program is a little bit of a mix between UOT and Waterloo.

At UBC, you have to apply to the co-op program in either your second or third year. And some other requirements are that you must be full time and you have to achieve a minimum cumulative average of at least 65 percent.

In addition, you need strong written and verbal skills, co-op motivation, willingness to relocate, commit to a broad range of related positions. Anyway, so you get the idea.

It’s a little bit more restrictive than the other co-op programs from the other universities.

And if you’re accepted into this program, you’re gonna have to participate in some mandatory co-op workshops beginning in late October.

This isn’t such a bad thing because honestly a lot of students could use some help fixing their resumes and cover letters.


If you do get into UBC co-op, their co-op office will probably help you out a little bit more than UOT but a little bit less than Waterloo.

And some pros about going to UBC is that their campus is absolutely stunning.

And generally speaking, British Columbia is a beautiful province and a great place to explore. So if you like scenery UBC is a great place to go.

Their Vancouver campus is a short distance from downtown. So depending on how willing you are to take transportation, you can go down there and explore a little bit and see all of the sites that there are to see.

Some other pros that UBC really likes to brag about is how diverse of a school they are. In my experience, most engineering schools in Canada are extremely diverse and you get tons of people from all different parts of the world.

And one of the most important points so far I think is that UBC offers one of the cheapest Engineering Coop programs


The only part that kind of bothers me is why isn’t Coop offered to all UBC students regardless of their ability to meet the requirements.

McGill University Engineering Co-op Program

McGill University is located in the city of Montreal in the province of Quebec. And they’re right in the middle of the city, very similar to UOT.

Now the thing about Quebec is that it’s probably the coldest province on this list. And I’m sure that if you’re coming to Canada, you’re well aware of how cold it will be. But when it’s cold in Quebec, it’s extremely cold that place is freezing.

Now one place where McGill really fails and the part that I think is the most important to an engineering degree is their co-op program. They only offer co-ops to mining and materials engineers which is about 10 of the engineering programs that they offer at the school.

How does McGill University Engineering Co-op Program work?

If you do happen to be in one of the two engineering programs (mining and material) you can do either 4, 8, 12, or 16 months of a work term. By the end of the degree you should have at least 12 months of work experience and you can get the co-op designation on your degree.


McGill has some pretty high admission averages which means that a lot of smart students do end up going to that school. And I’m sure that they end up doing very well.

Another thing to consider that isn’t really a pro or con is that the further you go away from Montreal, the less and less that people start to speak English. And everybody starts to speak French.

So if you want to do any tourism around Montreal, you’re probably going to have to pick up on just a little bit of French to get by.

University of Alberta Engineering Co-op Program

On number five, we have the University of Alberta. This university is located next to the city of Edmonton in the province of Alberta. And the cost of living there will generally be a little bit higher than a place like Ontario.

Some other fun facts, Edmonton has a hockey team just like Toronto and they also have the biggest mall in Canada. Not sure why that matters but there you go.

How does the University of Alberta Engineering Co-op Program work?

If you choose to participate in the University of Alberta’s engineering co-op program, they expect you to do 5 four-month work terms with satisfactory performance and term paper evaluations.

So this means that they expect you to work a full 20 months before graduating.


The location is pretty good and you can get to Edmonton just by walking or by taking a short bus ride.

The way that the university of Alberta sets up its engineering co-op program is very similar to waterloo and they are also very well connected with their co-op advisors.

T+heir co-op advisors know tons of companies, so they will probably be very helpful in getting you a job.


You don’t have much flexibility and you can’t do 8 or 12 months but you are alternating between work and study which some people really like.

Otherwise, I’ve only heard good things about the University of Alberta.

McMaster University Engineering Co-op Program

On the sixth position, we have McMaster university. Personally, I do like the McMaster campus it’s located in Hamilton which is about a 45-minute car ride from Toronto.

But there isn’t really that much that you can do at the university. And usually, if you want to go out and have some fun or go to a bar or something you have to take a 10 to a 20-minute bus ride to get downtown.

However, their scenery is very nice and they’re located right next to some very natural wildlife and the botanical gardens which are also very cool to check out.

How does the McMaster University Engineering Co-op program work?

The way that McMaster has structured their engineering co-op program as the same thing as McGill except they offer it for all of their engineering programs. And essentially you can take either four months 8 months, 12 months or 16 months work terms or a combination of all of them.


The options are super customizable and that is the reason that many chose McMaster. They like the ability to customize but some of you might not like this unstructured format very much. Because it’s up to you whether or not you want to work.

I do like McMaster’s facilities and the variety of programs that they offer.


My last comment is that if you don’t really like scenery very much and you really want to be near a big city then maybe don’t go to McMaster. It is kind of in the middle of nowhere.

Queen’s Engineering Co-op Program

Last but not least we have queen’s engineering co-op program which naturally structures their things after UOT.

How does the Queen’s Engineering Co-op Program work?

UOT and queens are very similar just located in two very different places. In this case, they offer you a 12 or 16 month co-op after your second or third year identical to UOT


If you want to go to a party school then queens is definitely a good place to go.

I’ve heard that they like to have lots of parties but it’s also kind of in the middle of nowhere which I think is part of the reason; why they party so much.

They are one of the top universities in the countries and from what I’ve heard. They do a really good job administering their engineering co-op programs.


Regardless of how your particular university sets up its co-op program, you are gonna have to find the jobs yourself and apply yourself and everything is gonna be on you.

Sure, you might get a little more help here and there or you might have some more connected advisors but ultimately it’s up to you; What do you want to do with your engineering co-op program in Canada.

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