What is Placement?

landscape with water

Where do placements take place?

The majority of students secure work terms with Canadian partners such as Canadian development agencies (NGOs), research institutes or private sector consulting firms. The partner will usually place the student with one of their local partners in a developing country, which can range from rural to urban settings and any number of projects. The location and duration of the work terms will vary according to each student’s disciplinary and regional preferences, their experience and abilities, the availability of positions, and the practicability and safety of development work.

When do you go on placement?

During the fourth year of studies, the student embarks on an 8 – 12 month work placement. The process of obtaining a placement occurs in the third year of studies, and can take place anywhere in the 16 months from May after the third year of studies to the August before the fifth and final year of studies.

What are the requirements?

In order to be eligible for a co-op placement, a student must be admitted to the IDS Co-op Specialist program at the University of Toronto at Scarborough, have a minimum of two years residence in the program, have completed 14.5 full academic credits, including 12 IDS credits, and maintain a 2.5 GPA.

How are the Placements Funded? 

The IDS Co-op Program has continually supported students with the following costs: airfare, medical insurance, visa costs, and all required vaccinations.  IDS Placement Partners are asked to provide students with a living allowance to allow them to live safely and comfortably during the placement period.  


A final aspect of the placement process is the role of research. As an academic experience foremost, the IDS Co-op Program challenges students to learn about the world of research alongside their development work. This means the student is responsible for conducting primary research in their placement country that will contribute to the writing of a thesis in their last year of studies. Students are also responsible for bi monthly placement updates, a detailed examination of their placement upon return, and participation in pre-departure orientation and a debriefing seminar.  Students complete a research design for development fieldwork course in the year prior to placement to prepare them for this. Students are assigned a faculty advisor to guide and mentor throughout the placement period.  

IDS Global Map

The IDS Cooperative Programs have been sending students on placement for 35+ years - the map above denoting all of the countries to which students have worked.