The Co-operative Education Program is a major asset for MPPA students. Our students have an amazing track record of securing stellar co-op work positions within government, nonprofits and the private sector. Through two potential work terms, students gain hands-on experience working in a range of placement positions. Students that know the direction they want to take can target positions that help them realize these goals. Other students use the work terms to diversify their understanding of work opportunities or deepen their understanding of key policy issues.
How Co-op Works
The Co-operative Education Program is administered by the Co-op and Career Services Office at Carleton University. Most co-op positions are in the federal public service. Some students have obtained positions with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, the private sector, and the non-governmental / non-profit sector. The work terms provide a number of benefits. During the job search term, students develop job-search and interview skills. The work terms themselves provide career-related experience in policy development, analysis and evaluation and in public administration more generally. They offer an immediate understanding of particular policy or management issues that can support students’ subsequent academic work in concentration and elective courses. Moreover, they generate a range of professional contacts that can lead to ongoing employment.
Although most students secure their work terms through the positions posted on the Co-op Services job portal, students are encouraged to self-develop job opportunities as well. Co-op Services provides sessions both to guide students through the job search process and to assist them once on the job. Online modules cover resume writing and interview skills and career counsellors are available for one-on-one sessions. The co-op coordinator visits the work site during the term to discuss how the work is progressing from the point of view of both the student and the employer.
Co-operative Education With The MPPA Program
After having satisfactorily completed, or received advance completion credit for, the six first-year core courses, students who choose to take the Co-operative Education Program within the MPPA are able to apply for two work terms to be undertaken during their MPPA program. (If you are completing one or both of the prerequisite courses in the first year of the program, you must complete five of the six first-year core courses before going out on co-op). Students who satisfactorily complete the two work terms receive a Co-op designation on their transcript.
At the end of the work term, students submit a work term report to the faculty advisor who is the School’s Co-op Liaison. This report outlines their work term role and responsibilities, identifies challenges and accomplishments, analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of their work experience, and relates that experience to their previous academic work. Also at the end of the work term, the employer evaluates the student’s performance, and discusses this evaluation with the student.
Sophie Mondejar, MPPA Student
“For my Co-op work term(s), I’ve had the pleasure of working at the Learning Branch, within Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The Learning Branch aims to support students in overcoming barriers to education, accessing opportunities to improve their educational attainment, and acquiring the necessary skills to help them successfully transition to the labour market. As a Junior Policy Analyst, I’ve helped support ministerial and senior management engagement on issues relating to post-secondary education in Canada. Over the past few months, I’ve been able to work on a variety of files that have enabled me to further develop my research, critical thinking, and policy analysis skills.
Carleton’s MPPA has greatly prepared me for a career in the public service. Through my in-class experiences, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the types of challenges governments face and the techniques of policy analysis. In turn, my Co-op experience has helped me apply the knowledge I’ve gained in class within a real-world setting. The opportunity to connect theory with practice has greatly contributed to my overall learning as a student and has significantly added value to my degree.
When I first entered the MPPA, I didn’t have any government experience whatsoever. However, with the support of the SPPA and my Learning Branch colleagues, I’ve been able to smoothly transition into the work of a public servant. My Co-op placement has allowed me to learn, network, and develop – both as a student and young professional. The Co-op experience is definitely a huge advantage and I could not recommend it enough!
Dong Ngo, MPPA Student
“For my fall 2021 co-op, I had the opportunity to work in the Priorities and Planning branch at the Privy Council Office. Through my co-op, I saw firsthand how interconnected the federal government is in terms of policy creation. My team at PCO worked with colleagues from different departments and different branches at PCO to create policy products geared towards helping the government frame its legislative agenda. Through my experience at PCO, I will return to full time studies in the winter with a stronger perspective of the policy making process and how the machinery of governments operates.”
Annie Yeo, MPPA Alumni
“During my time in the co-op program I was a junior policy analyst for the Labour Program at Employment and Social Development Canada. Since completing the co-op program, I have continued my position after graduation.
Both my work terms and graduate work have prepared me for the position I hold today. I conduct research, analyze my department’s program policies and write briefing notes for my minister. I’m very proud to contribute to the policy process for Canada’s Labour program.”