School of Design Field Education Frequently Asked Questions

Main Content

Are you a current or future employer with questions related to field placement, internship and co-op opportunities at George Brown College’s School of Design? We’re here to help! 

See our list of frequently asked questions and answers below. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please contact Phuong Diep, School of Design Business Developer at

What is the difference between field placement, co-op and internship? 

Co-ops, field placements and internships are all opportunities that provide students with valuable work experience in their relevant field of study. However, there are a few differences that may or may not be important to know if you are an employer tapping into government tax credits or external funding opportunities.

Co-op integrates academic study terms with paid work terms throughout a student’s registered years in a program. Our students must secure full-time and paid work opportunities during a set academic time period with some exceptions*. At GBC’s School of Design, co-op is a mandatory requirement for students registered in any Honours Bachelor’s Degree program including Brand Design and Digital Experience Design

Field placement provides students with part-time/short-term work experience in a setting relevant to their field of study. These work hours are not a requirement for professional certification, but students may be eligible to enrol in a Field Placement Course during their final year of study. At GBC’s School of Design, field placement is offered to students enrolled in Advanced Diploma programs such as Game-Art, Graphic Design and Interaction Design if they maintain a 3.3 or higher GPA and a B+ in their professional practice course. 

Internships offer students supervised, structured, paid or unpaid, for academic credit or practice placement. They may be offered to students during the academic year of study, or upon graduation. 

* A student may choose to defer their co-op to the following year, or a student may have already accumulated prior work experience. In this case, students must independently apply for Work-Integrated Learning Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (WIL PLAR) to have their work experience approved for their graduating co-op credit. 

Based on definitions outlined by Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada) for program design. 

Do I need to pay design interns and/or co-op students?

Co-op students must be paid for their work term. 

Field placements and internships can be paid or unpaid*. 

We highly encourage paying design interns in support of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Learn more at Pay Design Interns - a database created by Dr. Ana Rita Morais, Associate Dean for the School of Design at George Brown College. 

* Students may accept a placement or internship opportunity outside their program’s official work term, but it must be paid. For example, Alex who is enrolled in the Interaction Design program decides to take an internship in the summer of 2023, before their program’s official work term in the winter of 2024. Alex can accept this internship opportunity so long as it is paid. After the internship ends, Alex can apply for WIL PLAR to have this work experience approved for course credit. 

How much should I pay design interns and/or co-op students?

Students must be paid at least the Ontario Minimum Wage of $15.50 per hour. However, whenever possible, we encourage employers to offer paid opportunities that align with the Ontario Living Wage Network standard for the Greater Toronto Area which is $23.15 (as of June 2023). 

Can I hire students outside of their specified time of hire or required hours?

Field placements and co-ops are offered during specific terms to help students balance their academic studies while also giving them enough time to commit to their employer and work responsibilities. 

For example: 

  1. Full-time, mandatory co-op opportunities open from May-Aug for our Honours Bachelor’s Degree students since many have no, or limited, coursework in the summer.
  2. Part-time, optional field placement opportunities open from Jan-Apr for our Advanced Diploma students with a lower hourly requirement (120 hours with exceptions*) since students have an active course load in the winter term. 

If you are interested in hiring a student(s) outside of their program’s scheduled work term, please contact us to learn more about how you can get your posting up. 

* We do not limit students who want to apply for positions that offer greater work hours than the amount required for course credit. For example, James is registered in the Graphic Design program and is only required to complete 120 hours to earn an elective field placement credit. The employer is seeking a candidate who can work approx. 16 hours per week, which is a total of 240 hours during the academic/work term. 120 hours will be accepted for course credit while the remaining will be treated as regular employment hours. 

Can I hire students for remote positions? 

Yes, you can hire students for remote positions!

What is a tax credit? And why are some programs not eligible?

Ontario businesses hiring students enrolled in post-secondary co-operative education programs may be eligible for refundable tax credits. Corporations can claim 25% of eligible expenditures (30% for small businesses) at a maximum credit of $3,000 for each work placement position. 

We will issue a letter of certification (by request) for your supporting documentation. 

Please note: Tax credits are not available across all programs due to the qualifying parameters set out by the government. At this moment, employers can only claim tax credits for students hired from the Web Development Postgraduate program at the School of Design. 

For more information on eligibility requirements and how to claim your tax credit, please see the Ontario Government Co-operative Education Tax Credit page.

What happens after a student’s work term ends?

At the end of the work term, our Field Education Coordinator will reach out to send you an Employer Evaluation form. You will be asked to rate the student’s competency in areas such as interview skills, participation, behaviour / attitude, technical skills, and so forth. This evaluation is worth 50% of the student’s mark for their Field Education course. 

My studio/agency wants to do more with the School of Design! Who do I talk to? 

We’re open to collaborative opportunities that can help provide students with valuable industry-related experience! Do you want to discuss putting together a capstone project, organizing a design jam, hosting a special talk/lecture, setting up a bursary / scholarship or something else? Let’s chat! 

You can reach out to Phuong Diep, School of Design Business Developer,