Photo: Marc Lombardo at the Kakuma refugee camp in north west Kenya on his placement through WUSC with the Kenya Education Equity Project (KEEP) in 2014-2015.
Same as regular co-op. In addition, students wishing to be considered for the IDS Co-op program will be expected to participate in an interview if their application is selected by the Admissions Committee.
The IDS Co-op Program is a 5-Year program, with students doing an 8-12 month work term in their 4th year of 5. Students often choose to take summer courses, however this is not required and it is possible to complete the course requirements within the 5-years.
IDS Co-op students do ONE work placement during their 4th year of study. During this year, students undertake primary research and when they return to UTSC for their 5thand final year, they complete a major research paper based on data collected during the placement period.
Students in IDS co-op usually receive a living allowance or stipend during their work placement. The IDS work placement is not meant to be an opportunity to make money. The living allowance is determined by the partner organization and there is not guarantee of a minimum living allowance. If a student chooses to do their work placement with an organization that does not have funding, the student will have to cover the cost of living themselves.
Placements vary depending on the students’ area of interest along with their skills and background and placements available in a given year. Due to the nature of working in international development, funding for organizations is not guaranteed. This means that an organization that can host a student one year may not have the capacity in the following year. The program tries to ensure that a wide variety of placements are available each year. If a student has a specific sector or region of interest, students are encouraged to work with the co-op office to discover new opportunities in the area of interest.
Yes. You will be competing against other co-op students in your program and likely co-op students from other universities. The IDS Work Prep course is very important for students to actively participate in, in order to learn effective resume & cover letter skills and to prepare students for interviews, and the work place.
Students sometimes find placements through their own networks and through volunteer opportunities they have undertaken. Please note that for placements with new organizations, the process for approving a placement is significantly longer as the program must ensure the safety and viability of a placement. If a student does discover an opportunity that could be considered a co-op placement, they need to book an appointment with the IDS coordinator and bring details about the placement opportunity as early as possible.
IDS Co-op Orientation takes place each September for all incoming IDS Coop students. This is a great opportunity to meet fellow co-op students, learn about the program, and have the opportunity to meet senior students, faculty, and staff.
In addition to the academic course requirements for the IDS Co-op program, students are required to complete two additional non-credit courses. These courses are taken in the first and third year of the program with the aim of providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully navigate the placement experience. For students who gain entry in second year, they will complete the first year course in their second year. Both of these courses are non-credit courses taken over-and-above a full course load in the first year.
During the first year of study, students must successfully complete a non-credit IDS Co-op Placement Course -COPB30. This course will include resume, cover letters, and interview workshops, along with networking sessions, speaker panels, and work-term expectations. This course must be completed prior to COPB31 - the third year course.
Following the successful completion of the Year 1 course (COPB30), students are required to participate in COPB31, a second non-credit co-op course commencing at the end of the year in which they complete 10.0 credits, and continuing through the following year - usually third year (the pre-placement year). This course will include presentations, group exercises and individual assignments designed to prepare students for the placement experience. There are mandatory sessions on cross-cultural understanding, health and safety issues on placement, researching for the IDSD01Y3 thesis, and other key topics. A weekend retreat with the fifth years (who have returned from placement) provides the opportunity for sharing of first-hand experience. Students must successfully complete this course in order to be eligible for placement.
IDS students are expected to be actively involved in IDS related extra-curricular activities. This can involve volunteering with a local NGO, a community organization, or a related club or group on-campus.