Co-operative education (co-op)

Co-op is a model of education that integrates a student’s academic learning with workplace learning in fields relevant to the student’s academic and personal goals. Similar to an academic course, work terms are a mandatory component of some programs. Services are available and supports are dedicated to co-op student success.

Co-op provides students in identified programs with the opportunity to gain paid work experience and apply in-class learning while exploring their chosen field through a planned sequence of academic semesters and at least one work term (this varies by program). Programs with co-op options require prospective students to first apply to the regular program and once they become DC students, they may apply to transfer to the co-op option of their program during their first year of study. Enrolment in co-op is limited and the processes for securing a work term with an employer are competitive. There is an administrative fee for students in co-op.

DC’s Co-operative Education office works to connect students with participating employers as part of the college’s formal co-op program.

Applied research

The Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE), our research and innovation hub at DC, provides research and development solutions through funding opportunities, faculty expertise, state-of-the-art research facilities and student learning experiences. In partnership with industry and community agencies, we conduct projects that model or simulate solutions, develop and test prototypes, adopt new technologies and knowledge, and develop and evaluate new or improved products and processes.

Research projects carried out by students and faculty experts are administered by ORSIE. Students are the primary vehicle for the college’s transfer of knowledge to business and industry partners through applied research projects, work placements and as skilled and knowledgeable graduates.

Field placement

The most common form of experiential learning is field placement. While typically unpaid, field placements offer students a vital opportunity to gain practical on-the-job experience, make industry connections and apply the theories and concepts learned in the classroom. Field placements range in length and number, anywhere from several weeks to a full semester; some require students to complete a certain number of hours in the field.

Capstone project

In many of our programs, a capstone course part of the final semester in the students’ program of study. A capstone project is a multifaceted assignment that challenges students to apply all of the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired through their studies to exploring and/or solving a chosen real-world problem or project. Depending on the program,
capstone projects can be either a requirement for graduation or an elective.


A practicum is a supervised on-site work experience that provides students with real-world opportunities to practice and demonstrate the skills and knowledge they’ve developed in their classes and labs. Practicums can also include job shadowing to observe and connect practices in the field with the theories and methods studied in class, as well as recording data and completing related course assignments. Practicums are not paid, but they do count towards course credits.

Volunteer work

A number of programs not only encourage but require students to conduct volunteer work as a means to connect with community and industry, test their skills in their chosen field and gain real-work experience.