Connecting Environmental Studies (ES) to work outside the classroom
You can enhance your ES skills and knowledge through the Social Sciences Co-operative Education Program (Co-op). Co-op provides students with an opportunity to combine academic studies with four 4-month periods of paid employment in the public, private or non-profit sectors. We offer ES students learning opportunities in a wide range of areas from ecological restoration to research and from public outreach and education to project management.
Since 2008, ES Co-op Students have worked and learned with:
- Parks Canada restoring ecosystems by removing invasive species, planting native species, monitoring progress, and educating the public
- BC Ministry of Health coordinating a Ministry climate action team to manage the environmental impact from the health services sector
- Cycling Advocacy Network helping cyclists in New Zealand to advocate for a better cycling facilities and incentives, as well as recruiting more cycling advocates and organizing public events
- Raincoast Education Society developing and delivering interpretive programs about the ecology and cultures of the west coast of Vancouver Island (in Tofino, BC)
- BC Environmental Assessment Office researching, writing documents, and liaising with stakeholders to help assess potential environmental, economic, social, health and heritage impacts of major development proposals
- National Defence and the Canadian Forces researching and analysing waste streams to recommend ways that the organization can become more efficient and effective in its usage and disposal of material
Why ES Co-op?
Challenging learning experiences - Co-op terms complement theoretical concepts with practical experience. Co-op terms can also give you the chance to learn things not covered in classes.
Orientation to career possibilities - It is extremely useful to try different jobs before making career decisions. You may be surprised to discover what you like or don't like!
A special degree - Completing four co-op terms earns you a co-op designation. This makes a statement not only about your education experience but also about your hard-working ethos.
Better job opportunities - With relevant work experience, you can benefit from employment references, a network of contacts, and a portfolio of professional accomplishments. Many find permanent work through co-op experiences.
More workplace skills & confidence – As a co-op student, you can become savvy in job search activities. You also increase workplace confidence and dealing with practical problems.
Great services & resources – The Social Sciences Co-op team provides support and instruction in planning and securing work. Our information system, Mycoop.ca, displays the many co-op positions available and includes an easy-to-use, professional resume-building tool.
Income & full-time status - Students normally receive competitive wages during co-op terms...what other course pays you to learn?! During co-op placements, you can enjoy the benefits of being a full-time student.
Admission & program requirements
Entry into the Environmental Studies Co-op Program is open to full-time students (those taking 6 or more units per term) who are proceeding to an ES major. Students normally require a minimum cumulative GPA of 5.0.
Students typically apply to Co-op in their second year of studies but are also eligible to apply in their third year. Applications are available in the Social Sciences Co-op office (in SSM A204) in August-September for the Fall admissions period (deadline is usually September 15) and in December-January for the Spring admissions period (deadline is usually January 15).
Before competing for co-op placements, students attend seminars to learn about co-op program processes, as well as to increase proficiency in competing for positions and work place learning. Coordinators also provide support and feedback.