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Finding an Employer and Preparing for a Placement


Students enrolled in the co-op program need to complete three full-time work terms over and above the regular requirements for an Honours or Major in Political Science. These paid job placements ordinarily occur during two Spring semesters and one Fall or Winter semester, with the student completing the degree on an academic term.

Locating a placement
The search for placements involves a job competition. Though ultimate responsibility for locating a position rests with students, they will receive assistance from the Co-operative Education coordinator who maintains regular contact with the Department of Political Science. The coordinator assists students by developing work term opportunities, communicating the availability of job competitions and counselling students so that they may obtain a placement.

At the start of each job competition the Division of Co-operative Education will normally provide students and the designated faculty member with a detailed description of each position available. Work placements cannot be guaranteed, though every effort is made to ensure that appropriate employment is made available. Typically the coordinator allows a cohort to choose whether they wish to follow a continuous job placements model (interview, job offer and accept/decline on a first come first served basis) or alternatively a designated "match day" (the coordinator holds all job offers and issues them on a single day). The "match day" tends to be most students' preference. Students apply for each work term opportunity separately with a cover letter and their resume. The Co-operative Education coordinator will supply the employer with a transcript if requested.

With the express permission of the coordinator, students may identify and initiate contact with a potential employer outside of the placement competition, though the designated faculty member must ultimately approve all positions. Such jobs must be confirmed from the employer as soon as possible.

Considering a job offer
All job offers will be made to students by the Co-operative Education coordinator. Students typically have 24 hours to accept or decline a job offer and they are expected to accept a reasonable offer. If a student feels that the offer is unreasonable, such that the student wishes to decline it, this must be discussed immediately with the coordinator who will inform the designated faculty member.

Though students may not always be offered their preferred placement they are expected to accept a good offer regardless of the employer. Due to the limited number of placement opportunities, students who attend an interview and then decide that they would not want to work for that organization can withdraw from the competition before a job offer is made. However if a student declines a job offer that has been made by an employer then the coordinator will be under no further responsibility to assist that student in their job search.

Scheduling the placement
Students are reminded that they are required to complete at least one of their placements in either the Fall or Winter semester. They are also encouraged to complete at least one placement outside of the St. John's area; in such cases permission may be granted for the scheduling of two work terms in back-to-back semesters with different organizations. Normal prerequisites for the work term courses apply.

The dates for starting and finishing each work term are shown in the University Diary. This usually indicates that students begin their work placements before the start of the semester. For instance, at the end of August, the Fall work term begins about two weeks before the start of Fall classes in early September.

Approximate date Schedule for co-op students
Mid- to late-August Start of Fall work term
Early December Final date for submission of Fall work reports
Mid-December End of Fall work term
Early January Start of Winter work term
Early to mid-April Final date for submission of Winter work reports
Mid- to late April End of Winter work term; start of Spring work term
Early August Final date for submission of Spring work reports
Mid-August End of Spring work term

Note: There is some flexibility associated with the start and end dates of a work term.

Remuneration for work placements is determined by employers based on their internal wage structures. Salaries tend to increase as students progress through the program and assume more responsibility. Students must not expect any such income to make them completely self-supporting.