Co-op placements

Advancing industry for the digital economy.

Co-op placements are a collaborative partnership between DSA and industry that embeds employability and prepares multi-professional designers for a rewarding career in user experience design.

All DSA programs offer co-op industry placements at leading companies. Co-operative education (co-op) is an approach to education that goes beyond skills and training where students undertake industry placements offering an opportunity to apply the theory and learning from the classroom to the professional practice of design in the studio.

DSAs co-op program accelerated my learning in preparation for an industry placement. The preboarding and onboarding learning sessions were invaluable for my interview with the senior management team at Appsynth and helped me get a sense of the company culture. I was placed in a great team on fee-paid work from the get go and was delighted to extend my placement for five months.

Tin Siridej. Co-op track student, industry placement with Appsynth.

How it works

Students undertake one month of co-op industry placement after the final examination of the course at week 12 to apply the knowledge and skills of what they’ve learnt to the workplace. The placement can be extended to three months or beyond. It’s up to the co-op partner. Students receive preboarding and onboarding briefings before the co-op placement to familiarise themselves with the industry partner’s culture and what is expected of them.

Most students will sit an informal interview with the co-op partner to establish what role they would be best suited to within the organisation. For example this could be in research, information architecture or user interface branding.

As part of the co-op placement the student will be peer to peer evaluated in a formative assessment. Every co-op is annually evaluated to ensure an enriching experience for the student on placement, and the co-op is satisfied with the quality of student placed as part of their team.

Why it works

DSA bridges the University-Industry gap by accelerating employability pathways beyond undergraduate level. Getting designers, technologists, engineers and social scientists where they want to go in their user experience design career.

We believe that expertise and leadership in people-centered design thinking can be an agent of change for industry in South-East Asia. This is best achieved with the experience of professional practice. Employers want experience, not qualifications.

Co-op programs also help companies scale quicker and reduce recruitment lag. DSA expects all of its co-op students to be at a level of professional competency where they can be placed on fee paid work in the company from the get go. We have a remarkable 100% success rate of this.


Co-op placement FAQs

What is a co-op placement?

A one month period of the program after the final examination where you go to work in a leading company to apply knowledge and skills from the classroom to the studio. The placement can be extended to three months or beyond if the industry partner and co-op student agree terms.

What is the difference between a placement and an internship?

Typically a placement is more rigorous than an internship. You will be expected to work as part of a team of working professionals on fee paid work from the get go– working for from clients and customers of the company without hands on mentoring.

Do I have to pass the final examination to qualify for the co-op placement?

Yes. DSA will consider a co-op placement where the examination recommendation is a referral provided there is a clear account of what the student will be expected to do, and by when, to retrieve the situation. Where the examination recommendation is a fail it is not fair on the student or industry partner to undertake the co-op placement.

Do I have to do a co-op placement?

Yes. All DSA students must undertake a co-op placement to graduate from the User Experience Design program.

Is my co-op performance evaluated as part of my overall assessment?

Yes. You and the co-op will undertake a peer to peer evaluation. This is to ensure both parties have a learning and working agreement and helps DSA develop the program for future co-ops.

Do I get paid on the placement?

Yes. Compensation for your work will be arranged between the co-op and you.

Do I pay tuition fees during the co-op?

No. Tuition fees are only for the 12 weeks you study.

Am I still required to study every week when on co-op?

No. You are effectively a full-time employee of the co-op partner and do not have any additional study hours apart from the peer to peer evaluation.

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