PhD Co-op (Optional)

Apply your research skills to the work world. Learn about Arts Co-op.

Co-operative education is an optional program that allows you to gain work experience as you work on your doctoral degree. You will have access to various resources to help support your job search and build career skills.

Research on co-op programs has shown that students typically return to their studies after co-op terms highly motivated and increasingly successful in their studies (marks, completion rates, etc.).


What is Co-op?

The Arts Co-op Program offers students enriched educational experiences for personal and professional growth. Co-op is a high-impact educational program that allows you to alternate dissertation-writing terms with work terms, during which you gain meaningful paid work experience. We work with a diverse range of community partners and sectors to provide transformative workplace learning for co-op students.

The Arts PhD Co-op Program allows you to explore different career options, while gaining paid, professional work experience and a network of contacts. Some students are able to secure work terms that are relevant to their dissertation research, while others choose to pursue work experience that diversify their expertise and give them range. Students complete three work terms of 4 months each over the two to three years after achieving candidacy.

To read more about previous & current PhD Co-op students’ experiences, please refer to our ‘success stories’ on Jon Newell (English), Pavlina Pajot (English), and Henry John (History).


Why PhD Co-op in History?

Program goals:

  • to extend secure graduate funding into the fifth and possibly sixth years of the PhD program
  • to give graduate students well-paid, relevant work experience divided across their dissertation years (PhD co-op positions pay $20-$30/hour depending on the employer—a 14-week work term at 37.5 hours/week at $25 is $13,125)
  • to reduce the financial and academic strain often faced by students who run out of money after year four and must work nearly full-time, often substantially delaying completion of their degrees
  • to provide insight and experience into alt-ac careers for graduate students who may choose not to work in academia after graduation.

The History PhD Co-op Program gives you the opportunity to:

  • explore various career options and gain substantial, “alt-ac career” experience to put on your resume
  • enrich academic learning with workplace experience
  • develop your professional skills and network
  • apply to positions that require students to be in a co-op program (such as federal government jobs and some positions in the cultural industries)
  • finance your degree with relevant, paid work


Applying to Arts Co-op

Visit the Arts Co-op website for information about the application process and information session dates.

The application window for PhD Co-op is open once per year, and usually closes in the first week of October.

You are eligible to apply to the UBC History PhD Co-op Program if you have achieved candidacy (or are expecting to achieve candidacy by the time you begin your co-op term, typically in January of your third year in the PhD program). You also must have two years of PhD study left, in which to schedule three, 4-month work terms. You cannot enrol in the Co-op Program without advancing to candidacy first: that is, Co-op students must be ABD (all but dissertation).

SSHRC-holders and international students are both eligible to apply and go through the same application process.


Types of Work

Employers hire UBC History PhD co-op students based on their specialized skills and potential career interests. UBC History PhD students can expect to work in areas such as:

  • Academic Administration
  • Applied Research
  • Communications
  • Curriculum Development
  • Instruction and Training
  • Project Management
  • Public History
  • Writing and Editing

Co-op Coordinators work closely with employers locally, nationally, and internationally, to develop challenging, career-related positions for co-op students in the non-profit, government (federal/ provincial/municipal), and private sectors.