What is Co-op?

The School of Humanities & Social Science Co-op Program (SHSS Co-op) is a credit-bearing program jointly organized with the Development and Alumni Office. It partners with employers and alumni mentors to offer transformative work and personal development opportunities that will equip students with the skills, knowledge and experience needed to be competitive in the job market after graduation.

What are the benefits of Co-op?

The Co-op program enables you to explore your career interests while financing your degree and gaining credits towards your graduation. Co-op students:

  • Can apply their classroom learning to the workplace through a full-time, six-month paid work placement with a co-op partner employer
  • Can help finance their degree with relevant, paid work while exploring their career interests
  • Have access to exclusive professional development activities, such as interview and workplace etiquette workshops
  • Will be paired with an alumni mentor to guide them on their career planning and support them throughout their co-op placement
  • Can build a strong work portfolio and develop a network of professional contacts before they graduate
  • Increase their chances of landing a meaningful job upon graduation

How are HKUST alumni involved in the Co-op Program?

The SHSS Co-op program is the first credit-bearing program at HKUST that engages our graduates in a systematic way. Alumni volunteers, including members of the Standing Committee of the HKUST Convocation, support our students throughout the Co-op journey by:

  • Reviewing and offering constructive feedback for students' CVs and cover letters
  • Hosting mock interviews to help students prepare for specific job interviews
  • Leading training workshops to help students stand out in the job search process and make a smooth transition into the workplace
  • Mentoring students to support their personal and professional development

Who are Co-op employers?

Our partner employers are referred by HKUST alumni, and offer a diverse range of work placement opportunities for ideal for Global China Studies and Quantitative Social Analysis students to apply what they learned in the classroom. Co-op employers work with our students to set learning objectives for each work placement, and offer constructive feedback and guidance to help our students achieve their learning objectives. 

What is the commitment for the Co-op Program?

Students who are accepted into the Co-op program must commit to:

  • Attend two pre-employment training sessions
  • Apply diligently to co-op job opportunities and attend interviews
  • Accept the job offer and complete the entire work term
  • Connect with their assigned alum mentor at least twice throughout the co-op program (students are free to connect with their mentors via Zoom / phone / WhatsApp / etc.)
  • Take study leave in the semester (Feb-May 2022) to complete the co-op work term
  • Participate in a site visit conducted by co-op staff during their co-op work term
  • Submit two work term reports for evaluation (Initial Report and Final Report)
  • Submit an evaluation form on their work placement experience

Pre-Employment training sessions

Students who are accepted into the Co-op program must commit to joining at least two pre-employment training sessions. These training sessions may cover (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • CV and cover letter writing
  • How to prepare for and stand out in job interviews
  • Workplace etiquette

Finding work in the Co-op Program

Landing a co-op position is a competitive process and only students who successfully secure and complete a co-op work placement will receive credit for the program. Co-op program staff will work closely with each student to determine the most suitable placement opportunities for him/her to apply for with regards to his/her experience, interests, and career goals. After students submit their job application(s), employers will shortlist students for an interview. We will provide training and support throughout the process, and students are expected to work hard to secure their co-op position, just like in the real job market.


To apply for the SHSS Co-op Program, students must:

  • Be enrolled at HKUST as a full-time student in the Global China Studies or Quantitative Social Analysis program at the time of application;
  • Have completed at least 2 semesters of coursework by January 2022; and
  • Have at least 1 more semester of coursework to complete after the co-op program

Both Local and International students are eligible to apply.

How to Apply

Interested applicants should fill out the online application form by the extended deadline of 11:59 pm on 8 October 2021. You will be asked to submit your latest CV, transcript and reference letters (if available), along with answers to the questions below. Please have your responses and documents ready before clicking on the online application form.

Questions Requiring Written Responses

  1. Why do you want to join the SHSS Co-op Program? Be specific about the kinds of work experiences you are seeking, and what you want to gain from participating in the program (max 250 words)
  2. If you are accepted into the program, you will need to compete for co-op jobs. What makes you stand out to co-op employers? (max 250 characters)
  3. Provide details for up to 5 work / volunteer/ extracurricular experiences
  4. Provide details for other personal projects or information you wish to share with us

Question Requiring a Video Response

Choose ONE question from the list below and submit a video of yourself answering the question:

  1. Describe a time when you were struggling with something and thinking of giving up. How did you overcome the situation and continue with your task?
  2. Describe a time when you were having difficulties communicating with another person (for example in the workplace, during a class project, etc). How did you resolve the situation and complete your task?
  3. Describe a time when you had to think outside the box to solve a problem. What were your ideas and what was the outcome?
  4. Describe a time where you took the initiative in a work or volunteer position. What were your actions and what was the outcome?

NOTE: Please begin your video by stating the question you are answering. Describe one specific example and provide details such as the situation, actions you took, and the outcome. Do not add any images / text / filters to your video. Dress as you would for a face-to-face interview. Please keep your video to under 2 minutes long.

Selection Process

As co-op participants compete for a work placement, just like in a real world job search, we want to recruit well-rounded students who will be great ambassadors of SHSS and HKUST. We will evaluate the application packages and invite select candidates to attend an interview. During the selection process, we look for candidates who:

  • Have strong written and oral communication skills
  • Are team players with good organizational skills and a problem solving mind-set
  • Demonstrate professionalism, maturity, adaptability, and enthusiasm for learning / trying new things

Application packages are evaluated on:

  • Correctness of language and grammar
  • Logic of responses and whether all the points are addressed
  • Coherency of writing / speaking
  • Professionalism and maturity

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an interview. 

Is the Co-op Program a credit-bearing program?

Yes - students who successfully land a co-op work placement will be enrolled into the SHSS 1050 Co-op course. Students in this course will be awarded a Pass / Fail at the end of their work placement. Students who successfully complete all the Co-op program requirements will receive 3 credits for this course.

Inquiries: Please contact shsscooppgm@ust.hk

Know more about the Co-op timeline here.