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Register Your Co-op

Information Box Group

I’ve secured a co-op position. Now what?

Congratulations for securing your co-op work term! Before you can begin working, there are three steps that you must complete. It is the responsibility of the student to complete the following steps. Until you do so, your co-op experience is not registered with McMaster University and you are not able to begin working in your co-op.

Mandatory Work Term Reflections

Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL), requires that all academically recognized co-op work terms have a mandatory reflection completed to meet accreditation requirements. Students have two reflections that take place during each 4-month co-op work term. All reflections are administered through a student’s OSCARplus account and connected to their work term record. 

Mid-Point Check-In 

The mid-point check-in is sent to students about halfway through the 4-month work term. This is an opportunity to reflect on how the co-op work term is going so far, and to connect with your Career Educator to discuss anything that has come up on work term that you could use support and guidance navigating. 

Final Work Term Reflection 

You are required to complete one final work term reflection for each applicable 4-month term of your co-op (e.g. if you do a 12-month co-op, that will span three terms and you will need to complete three reflections).

The completion of the reflection is required for a final grade of COM in the co-op course to be added to your Mosaic transcript. ECCS will send a reminder email about completing the reflection to your student account one month before the end of your work term.

Important Deadline for Current Students: Have a previous work experience you need to register as a co-op? The deadline is June 30, 2023.  

Effective Fall 2023, students who secure a co-op job will be required to register the work term by completing and submitting a co-op confirmation form prior to the start date specified in their offer of employment (or employment contract).   

In the past, students were allowed to register their co-op work terms retroactively. However, going forward, we will no longer allow backdating of co-op work terms.  

If you’re a current student and have work experience that you haven’t registered for co-op credit, you can register it by filling out and submitting a co-op confirmation form by June 30, 2023. You can register now by following the link. It’s important to note that if you’re already working with our team to backdate your co-op request, you don’t need to take any additional action. Register Now.   


Our policy regarding co-op work term registration remains the same; co-op work experiences should be registered prior to the start of your employment. However, our practice of allowing retroactive registration of co-op via a petition process will conclude on June 30, 2023.  


A co-op experience is intentionally designed to integrate with a student’s academic program, to support skill development and learning that is tied to career decision-making, and to complement a student’s experience in coursework. If a student delays the registration of the work term or chooses not to register the work term at all, the following risks and consequences become relevant.  

When a student takes a break from academic courses in order to pursue employment that is not registered as a co-op experience, their status as a full-time McMaster University student changes, and this can impact things like OSAP and access to on-campus resources/supports.  

If a student encounters an issue during a work experience that is not registered as co-op that impacts their health, safety and/or general well-being, McMaster has limited ability to intervene and/or support the student in any official capacity.   

A work experience that is not registered as co-op is not guided by the guidelines/expectations of Co-operative Education & Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada which can impact the experience of the student in terms of supervision/mentorship provided on the job, alignment of job duties/skill development with program of study, as well as compensation and minimum number of weeks/hours needed to qualify for co-op credit.   

An employer has zero obligation to report any incidents to the university related to student employees if the student’s employment is not registered as a co-op work term.   

In cases of international work experiences, there are steps in the university’s co-op approval process to ensure students have the appropriate insurance coverage, work visas and pre-departure information for the safety and security purposes. When an international work experience isn’t registered as co-op, some or all of these pieces can get missed by the student and put them at risk while travelling and working abroad.  

Accepting a position with intent to register it after the start date can result in an experience being completed and then declined for co-op credit if CEWIL Canada guidelines are not met (something that is assessed by ECCS staff when approving co-op work terms).  

A registered co-op incorporates critical touch-points with ECCS staff throughout the co-op experience to support the student in all aspects of the experience, including: overall assessment of the student’s experience, ensuring student health, safety and wellbeing throughout the experience, and advocacy on behalf of the student if issues arise on the job or with the employer.   

Fees related to co-op enrollment and registered work terms support the annual operation of the program including pre-employment and professional development programming, one-on-one appointments with our team, events and workshops, networking opportunities, curated job board of employment opportunities, and resources that directly support students in securing and succeeding on a work term. We maintain some of the lowest co-op fees in the country in order to maximize participation from a diverse population of students.  

Here’s more details on Undergraduate co-op fees and Graduate co-op fees 

Complete and submit a co-op confirmation form by June 30, 2023 to initiate this approval. ECCS staff will review and approve past experiences that meet co-op eligibility criteria (note: this applies to current students only; alumni are not eligible to register a past co-op experience).   

Eligibility to register a work term requires a student to be enrolled in the co-op program and have successfully completed ENGINEER 1EE0O. Once approved, applicable co-op fees will be applied to student accounts and the student’s Mosaic record will be updated to reflect registered co-op work terms.   

Any requests for backdating co-op work terms that are received after June 30, 2023 will be reviewed under the guidelines of extenuating circumstances and decisions to approve these will happen on a limited case-by-case basis.

If you are already working with our team on a backdated co-op request, no further action is needed.