Arts Co-op Program

Arts Co-op is a program that partners with employers to offer work opportunities that will help you excel academically and professionally, and prepare you for your future career. As an Arts Co-op student, you’ll have the opportunity to alternate challenging, practical, and paid work experience with your academic terms.

“In co-op, you can see a variety of jobs and try different things without committing to a career. Co-op gives you the opportunity to learn a variety of transferable skills that will help you get jobs in the future.” – Stephanie Reczka, BA 2011, Major Anthropology, Minor Music
Work Terms: Canadian Cancer Society, Langley Centennial Museum


Read more about Arts Co-op on their official website.

Benefits of Co-op

There are many benefits to joining co-op, including:

  • Clarify career goals and explore the wide variety of options available with a BA while still an undergraduate student
  • Increase your chance of landing a meaningful job after graduation by building 12-months of work experience and network of professional contacts before you graduate
  • Help finance your degree with relevant, paid work
  • Gain job search skills through extensive and specialized pre-employment training, including resume/cover letter writing, interview, and workplace success strategies
  • Receive continuous support from co-op career educators throughout the program, including personalized, one-on-one job search and career coaching
  • Access one-on-one mentorship, student leadership, and professional development opportunities with senior co-op students and alumni

Take control of your career development! Students who graduate from the Arts Co-op Program tend to be more satisfied with their undergraduate degree and experience at UBC, and have more options available to them upon graduation; many co-op students end up with job offers from their co-op employers. Watch alumni and current students of the UBC Arts Co-op Program describe what they gained from their co-op experience:

Arts Co-op students work in a wide range of positions within the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Employers hire co-op students based on their skill-set and career interests; your major is only one of many factors. So the choice is really up to you, your interests, and current skill set! Co-op students can expect a range of work over 3 work terms, such as:

  • Arts Administration
  • Business & Development Analysis
  • Communications & Social Media
  • Curatorial Assistance
  • Data Analysis
  • Digital Media Production
  • Editing & Writing
  • Educational Programming
  • Environmental Assessment
  • Event Coordination
  • Financial & Investment Analysis
  • Fundraising
  • Gallery & Museum Tours
  • GIS
  • Graphic Design
  • Language Translation
  • Marketing
  • Office Administration
  • Policy Analysis
  • Program Administration
  • Project Management
  • Proposal Writing
  • Public Relations
  • Research Services
  • Social Service Delivery
  • Survey Design & Analysis
  • Technical Writing
  • Web Design

Finding Co-op Work in the Program

Co-op is different from a “placement program,” so there are no guarantees. Given the training and support, students in our program have a high success rate of obtaining co-op jobs. Job descriptions/postings are added daily to a password-protected website, and each student is responsible for reviewing and applying for jobs that are of particular interest to them. From the application packages submitted to employers, employers select the students they wish to interview and, based on the interviews,make offers through the Co-op staff to the student. You can expect to apply to 20-30 jobs and go for multiple interviews to obtain your first co-op position.

Typical Co-op Wage Structure

The average Arts Co-op wage is between $12-16 per hour, but varies greatly depending on the sector:

  • Non-profit organizations – $10.85 (current min. wage) – $14.00
  • Private business – $10.85 – $16.00 (wages can be higher in the high-tech sector, but are not the average)
  • Government – $12 – $20 (senior co-op students will earn more than junior co-op students)

Wages are based on current labour market realities, and are determined by the employer.

Fees Associated with Co-op (fees are subject to change based on Senate guidelines)

Currently, there is a one-time program administration and training fee of $242.25 due when you join the program. In addition, for every work term you complete, you are registered in a Co-op Course (ASTU) and pay the course tuition fee, which is currently $745; registration in the ASTU course maintains your full-time student status with the university and is mandatory. You will receive 3-credits per co-op (ASTU) course; however, ASTU courses DO NOT count towards your academic degree requirements. Therefore, Co-op students complete 129 credits in order to receive a degree with a co-op designation which consists of 120 academic credits, plus 9 non-academic co-op credits.

Typical Academic/Co-op Work Schedule

Each student is in charge of determining their work/academic plan. However, there are guidelines you need to follow:

  • Complete 3 required co-op work terms; there are options for additional work terms with special permission.
  • Complete at least one work term during the fall or winter terms; you cannot work during summer only.
  • Complete no more than 2 consecutive work terms.
  • End your degree on an academic term.
  • Complete a co-op work term within the first year of being in the Co-op Program – summer or fall of 2018.
  • Whenever possible, complete one co-op work term before going on exchange.


To apply for Arts Co-op in September for the 2017/2018 academic year, you must:

  • Be a registered full-time student in a BA, BMus, BFA, BIE, or BMS degree program
  • Have completed at least 27 credits at the time of application AND, as of May 2018, have at least 30 credits remaining to complete.
  • Have a cumulative average of at least 72%. If you are close, but fall short of the minimum GPA, we encourage you to still apply, but include an explanation related to your grades in your application.

Learn more about Anthropology Co-op Graduates here.