Biology Co-op offers a wide variety of placement opportunities for students, ranging from positions relating to cell biology and genetics to ecology and environmental biology. Your work experience takes the form of four four-month work placements at a variety of organizations in Canada and potentially internationally. You must complete all four work terms in order to receive a co-op designation on your transcript. Your first work term placement starts in the Winter of third year.

If you wish to apply to the Biology Co-op program, you must apply for third-year standing or currently be third-year standing in the Biology undergraduate program.

Department site:

Work Term Schedule


Schedule A:

Year Fall Winter Summer
2 Study APPLY    -
3 Study & Co-op workshops Work Work
4 Study Study Work
5 Work Study & graduate    -

Schedule B:*

Year Fall Winter Summer
1 Study Study    -
2 Study Study    -
3 Study Work Work
4 Work Study Work
5 Study Study    -

*This schedule is intended to accomodate students who wish to complete an 8-month honours thesis in their final year of study.


Schedule - 3rd Year Internship:

Year Fall Winter Summer
2 Study Study    -
3 APPLY Study & Co-op workshops Work
4 Work Work Work
5 Study Study & graduate    -

Schedule - 3rd Year Fall Start (3 work terms):*

Year Fall Winter Summer
2 Study Study    -
3 Study APPLY Co-op workshops
4 Work Work Work
5 Study Study & graduate    -

* Please note: students following this timeline will not be eligible for the Co-op designation.

The above schedules are highly recommended by the Co-op Program in order for students to complete their program within the shortest time frame. Alternate schedule is available in consultation with your Co-op Coordinator.

Sample Jobs and Companies

Research Assistant - BC Cancer Agency

  • Screening for functional shRNA sequences, generation of shRNA expressing cell lines and ES cells, in vitro generation of insulin producing cells, as well as phenotypic analyes.
  • Assist in developing novel tools for shRNA expression by cloning or testing the new technique.

Junior Environmental Co-op Student – Golder and Associates

  • Students will be trained to undertake Phase I environmental site assessments, including data review, site reconnaissance, and report writing;
  • Support Phase II environmental site assessments, including drilling supervision, borehole logging, and sample collection; and
  • Support site remedial activities, including supervision and post-completion monitoring; and undertake geological, hydrogeological, and contaminant data compilation, interpretation, and reporting.

Summer Student - Defence Research and Development Canada

  • Conduct nucleic acid amplification techniques and nucleic acid sequence analysis for the molecular identification of DNA from bacterial sources.
  • Undertake the writing of project report(s) and make a presentation of the work completed.

Application Requirements

  • Have a minimum average of around B-
  • Be a full-time UBC (Vancouver) student in good academic standing in mathematics, english and the sciences
  • Good communication skills, a responsible, mature attitude
  • Demonstrated leadership, teamwork and time management
  • Demonstrated interest in their chosen field
  • Be flexible and willing to accept a work placement outside the Lower Mainland
  • For those students seeking a field related position, they should be in the process of obtaining a valid drivers license
  • If entering your 3rd year, students should register for a 3rd year level lab in term 1 of their 3rd year (BIOL 326, 337, 340, 341, 342, 351, 352, 363, 404, 409, 437, 444).
  • If you are already in 3rd year, you need to have completed or be currently registered in a 3rd or 4th year level lab (BIOL 326, 337, 340, 341, 342, 351, 352, 363, 404, 409, 437, 444).