Co-operative Education Programme

The University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Co-operative Education Programme is a work integrated learning programme where students apply in-class learning to real life professional experiences within the field of study across private, public, and community-based sectors. This programme prepares students for both academic and career success beyond university. UCA’s Co-op Programme has been developed in partnership with the University of Victoria, Canada.

The programme is mandatory for UCA undergraduate students. It is an innovative immersion initiative that creates opportunities for students to experience the working world, domestically and internationally, via structured job placements in three consecutive summers during your five-year university education. Learning takes place throughout the process, from seeking employment, to learning valuable interpersonal skills and on the job training, as well as participating in field studies and jointly conducting student development evaluations.

The major characteristics of the Co-operative education programme include:

  • A sequence of work and academic periods
  • Monetary compensation for the work done, which maintains both employer and student engagement
  • An evaluation of the student’s and employer’s performance over the course of the work term; and
  • Faculty engagement in the cooperative education program. In the cooperative education programme, the work of the student is supervised by an employer and monitored by the academic institution.

The work-integrated learning model allows the application of theoretical classroom knowledge in a professional environment and involves UCA faculty in programme implementation to ensure educational continuity.

"My internship was at the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education (NUGSE) in Astana. I worked very closely with the NUGSE team, who had a great international and pluralistic spirit. My experience was very meaningful. I learnt how to do research, organise large-scale events and provide constructive feedback. Most importantly, I now know I want to continue my studies after graduating from UCA."

Karlygash Kussainova
Karaganda, Kazakhstan
Computer Science, Naryn Campus
Class of 2021

In Summer 2018, UCA staff met with various employers and attracted 145 placement options across 16 cities in 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Students have an opportunity to apply for placements in fields such as communications and marketing, monitoring and evaluation, business, finance, information technology, geographic information systems, project management, research, human resources, and education.

Co-op Programme Partners


  • Bank CenterCredit
  • Nazarbayev University, Astana


  • Association of IT Developers
  • Bai Tushum Bank
  • Career Ambassador Foundation
  • El Group Consulting
  • First Microcredit Company
  • Good Neighbors
  • International Development Law Organization
  • Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank
  • Next TV Company
  • Radio Liberty
  • Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan
  • SOS Children’s Villages International


  • Aga Khan Agency for Habitat
  • Aga Khan Education Services
  • Aga Khan Foundation Tajikistan
  • Amesha Spenta
  • Atlas Hotel
  • Babilon-M
  • British Embassy
  • Center for Journalistic Investigation
  • Freie Univeritaet Berlin
  • Mission East
  • Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation
  • Oxfam
  • Pamir Energy
  • Save the Children
  • Serena Hotel Dushanbe
  • TCell
  • The First MicroFinance Bank
  • United States Agency for International Development (Read with Me, Tajikistan Health and Nutritiion Activity , Tajikistan Agriculture and Water Activity (TAWA) projects)
  • University Wageningen


  • Accelerate Prosperity
  • Aga Khan Development Network
  • Aga Khan Foundation
  • Aga Khan Rural Support Programme
  • Aga Khan University
  • Habib Bank
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature
  • Rural Support Programmes Network
  • Serena Hotel
  • uExcel


  • Aga Khan Foundation
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