Co-operative education (co-op)

Co-op is a new work-integrated learning option for Durham College (DC) students. Co-op offers students full-time paid work experiences, with each work term lasting 12 to 16 weeks.

Co-op allows students to combine classroom learning and real-world experience through paid work terms that alternate with academic terms. It is an excellent way for students to build their professional network, explore career paths and apply in-class teachings to real-work situations.

Interested students apply during their first year of study. Entrance into the co-op option is competitive. Co-op students pay an additional administrative fee per work term.  This fee goes to support the dedicated services provided to co-op students.

Applied research

Through the Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE), our research and innovation hub, 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 is the last one in 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 requires students to spend time in a work environment connected to their chosen field in order to observe and document how professionals perform their job responsibilities. Students will also participate in performing work under supervision. Practicums can also include job shadowing, observing and connecting practices in the field with theories and methods studied in the classroom, 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.