Co‑operative Education

  • Do you want to gain on-the-job experience during your degree?
  • Do you want to secure summer jobs in your field of study?
  • Do you want to have experience in the workplace before you graduate?

Students in the DalChem Co-op program combine practical training with academic study. The program is primarily geared towards training students for future careers in chemistry. It is organized around the 20-credit BSc degree, Major or Honours in Chemistry, but with a more defined set of classes and at least three supervised work terms in industrial or government laboratories. The minimum time required to complete this program is 52 months.

The DalChem Co-op program is quite flexible in many aspects, and students can arrange the program around an Honours degree, a Majors degree, and combined degrees. Chemistry Co-op degrees require three or four successful work-terms, at least one of which must be in a fall or winter term. Aside from Scie 2800.00, which is a non-credit class given by staff in the Science Co-op Office, and work-terms, the class and credit requirements for Chemistry Co-op degrees are identical to those normally required for Chemistry Majors and Honours degrees. Topics of discussion in Scie 2800.00 include preparing a resume, writing a letter of application, work-place etiquette etc.

Cooperative education permits students to integrate academic study and practical experience, allowing theory and practice to enrich each other. It enables students to better appreciate practical problems and gives them valuable information on which to base career decisions. The supervised work-terms enhance the students’ appreciation of the academic work done during their study-terms, will improves their presentation and reporting skills. At the same time, CO-OP students earn salaries during their work-terms (including many summer jobs) which helps them pay for some of the costs of the academic study. Some companies use CO-OP work-terms as evaluation tools for subsequent hiring for long-term employment. 

The thrust of this degree program is to equip students with excellent laboratory skills and provide experience of employment in a chemistry environment. Depending on which elective classes are chosen, students also gain computer skills, or experience in biological laboratory techniques, physics/engineering work, electronics or the earth sciences. With Chemistry being the Central Science, the Science on whose foundations most other scientific endeavours rest, this training will equip students for work in a wide range of activities. These include production and plant management, product and process development, basic research in many areas including medicine, agriculture, manufacturing, environmental analysis and regulation, database development and management, marketing, and customer service. Chemists work for large and small industries, for consulting companies, patent offices, legal offices and teaching institutions, for government laboratories or as self-employed consultants, and the CO-OP program provides experience in many of these environments.

General details of the program can be found in the Dalhousie University Calendar under the heading "Co-operative Education in Science". Interested students are urged to read, and become familiar with, this material.

DALCHEM CO-OP Program Outline

This program normally leads to a 20-credit, major B.Sc. (co-operative education) degree in Chemistry, which is accredited by the Canadian Society for Chemistry. Various program options are possible and students must have their programs approved in advance by the Program Coordinator; desired changes during the program must also be approved.

All students should use their electives to meet their interests and the regular class distribution requirements for B.Sc. degrees, as listed in the Dalhousie University Calendar. For example, a student with biological interests could take more Biology, Biochemistry or Microbiology classes. These should have laboratory components and will equip students to work at the interfaces of Chemistry and Biology/Medicine. Students with more physical/engineering interests should consider classes in Physics, Engineering or Computer Science. Students with an interest in business could take classes in Commerce or Economics.

The Calendar contains an entry entitled "Co-operative Education in Science". This outlines general regulations for such degrees, all of which are also applicable to the DALCHEM CO-OP program. (See http://sciencecoop.dal.ca).

Good standing in the program requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.70.

For more information, contact the DalChem Co-op Coordinator, Dr. Robert White: Email Robert.White@dal.ca Phone 494-6403.