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At many Canadian universities, you have the option to choose either the Project or Thesis program. Typically you get accepted into the program, and finalizing your option happens at a later stage, which gives you more time to figure out the most suitable option for you.

As far as future prospects go, thesis and project students are equally competitive in the job market and in further education (e.g., MD, PhD programs).

Also, at many universities you get your Masters’ degree with the CO-OP program.


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So what are these options? Let’s start by taking a look at the CO-OP program.

What is the Co-OP Program?

Co-operative (CO-OP) placement during your Masters in Canada allows you to apply concepts learned in class during paid work terms and helps you find a job more easily after graduation.

You can pursue CO-OP with a variety of employers, depending on your program. They can include private businesses, educational institutions, Crown corporations, federal, provincial and municipal governments as well as high-tech companies.

By completing CO-OP, chances are high that you will find employment more easily. It’s much easier to find full-time employment when you’ve acquired experience and skills through CO-OP placements. In fact, many students find a full-time position even before they’ve graduated.

In many universities, CO-OP programs are accredited by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE).

Top 5 reasons to join a CO-OP program

  1. Gain valuable paid work experience in your field of study
  2. Develop professional skills and gain a better understanding of the workplace
  3. Discover what career fits you through different job opportunities
  4. Meet key people in the job market, who will facilitate your placement after graduation
  5. Travel and meet interesting people

How is CO-OP different from an Internship?

In co-operative placement, the program is approved and implemented by a university and study sessions alternate with paid work terms. An internship, however, is a work placement that is not necessarily connected with or overseen by an educational institution.

Eligibility to work as a CO-OP student

International students who wish to participate in a CO-OP (or internship) program must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit. To be eligible for a work permit, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have a valid study permit.
  • Your intended employment must be an essential part of your program of study in Canada.
  • Your employment must be part of your academic, vocational or professional training program offered by a designated learning institution, certified by a letter from a responsible academic official of the institution.
  • Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50% (percent) of the total program of study.

You will not be eligible to work during your studies if:

  • You study English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL), or
  • You participate in general interest or preparatory courses.

What is Masters’ Program with Project?

People who choose the project option are often more focused on a professional career and certification in the field. This option is usually completed more quickly and includes a paid co-op placement.

What is Masters’ Program with Thesis?

People who choose the thesis option are often more interested in research and a more self-directed program of study. The thesis option allows you to look at a topic in more detail than you could otherwise, so it usually takes more time to complete. The thesis is usually applied – meaning that it will probably involve observational research in field sites in the community or in work places.


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You may also want to check out our article on 99 Computer Science and Engineering Master’s Degree in Canada

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