Waterloo facts

A model of a 21st-century university

  • The University of Waterloo has 42,000 full and part-time students cumulatively between undergraduate and graduate programs (Fall 2020)
  • More than 9,000 degrees granted in 2020
  • 52,000+ enrolments in 2019/20
  • 1000-acre main campus, 100+ buildings with six faculties
  • 1957: University of Waterloo opens with 74 students, with engineering and co-operative education as cornerstones


#1for computer science, engineering and mathematicsMaclean's 2021
#1for experiential learning amongst comprehensive universitiesMaclean’s 2021
#3best overall University in CanadaMaclean's 2021

Nobel Prize in Physics

Donna Strickland

Donna Strickland

On October 2, 2018, Physics and Astronomy professor Donna Strickland was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, making her the third woman in history to receive the prestigious honour.

Dr. Strickland was recognized for her breakthrough work on chirped pulse amplification in lasers, allowing for the development technology used for eye-laser surgery, within laser printers, and scanners sold in retail stores.

Strickland conducted her Nobel-winning research while a PhD student under French laser physicist Gérard Mourou in 1989 while attending the University of Rochester in New York.


Academic strength

Waterloo's international community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and partners understand that shared success makes us all stronger.

  • 22% undergraduate and 40% graduate students are international (2019/20)
  • 10,067 donors in 39 countries donated $46M to Waterloo in 2019/20
  • 22,440+ work terms in 60+ countries with 7,182 active employers 2019/20
  • 4,500+ international student experiences (2019/20)
  • 61 international delegations with 259 delegates total (including ambassadors, university presidents and government minister) (2019/20)
220,000+alumni in 151 countries2020
243active agreements2020
155student exchange partnerships2019

Experience-rich education

World-class scholarship deepens with work-based learning in the world's leading co-operative education program.

  • Students graduate with up to 2 years of paid work experience
  • Students earned between $8,400 to $18,000+ on Canadian work terms, with an average earning of $12,700 per work term (2019/20)
  • 96% of co-op grads employed six months after graduation worked in positions related to skills they acquired at Waterloo compared to 79% of Ontario graduates
25,000+co-op students enrolled (73% of all undergraduates) with 7,100+ active co-op employers2019/20
#1in Canada for experiential learningMaclean's 2020
#1In Canada for employer-student connectionsQS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020

Strong startup culture

Risk takers with bold ideas make Waterloo a celebrated source of talent and new ventures.

  • Velocity is the most productive incubator by private investment in Canada, with a one-year company survival rate of 92% for Velocity startups (2019)
  • $2.3 billion in revenue and 7,500 jobs generated by Waterloo entrepreneurship programs in the last decade (Deloitte Canada, 2019)
  • 400+ companies received support from Velocity since 2008
$12.9 billionraised by 474 University of Waterloo entrepreneursPitchbook 2020
5,000+jobs created by Velocity companiesSince 2008
#3in Canada for "Zero Hunger" United Nations SDGTimes Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2021

World-changing research

Changing the world begins with a passion for discovery, broad research intensity and focus on frontier disciplines.

  • Creator-owned intellectual property (IP) rights policy
  • 30+ senate-approved research centres and institutes with world-leading expertise in:
    • Artificial intelligence
    • Automotive
    • Cybersecurity and privacy
    • Energy
    • Global governance
    • Nanotechnology
    • Population health
    • Quantum information
    • Water
  • 1 Nobel Laureate
  • Canada Excellence Research Chair and 2 Canada Excellence Research Chair Laureates
  • 5 Killam Prize winners
  • 74 Canada Research Chair
$64+ milliondirect industry or government match funding2019/20
$247.7 millionin research funding from public and private sources2019/20
26%of Waterloo’s research funding is a result of corporate collaborations2019/20

Overcoming the status quo

We are committed to addressing the deep structural challenges to equity for marginalized communities in higher education and in society.

Through the efforts of The President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART) we are working to build an equitable institution where all faculty, students and staff can learn, grow and thrive; where they feel valued, empowered, represented and safe.

  • There are over 80 people working through PART and its related groups to address anti-racism, anti-oppression and help build inclusivity at the University.
  • Approximately 60, mostly BIPOC community members volunteered to serve as members of the PART Community Collaborative, offering continued consultation on recommendations to advance anti-racism on campus.
  • Over 175 hours of consultation was conducted with BIPOC faculty, students and staff, as well as administrative leaders from Canada and representatives from campus associations to inform the initiation of PART.
  • 33 deliverables have been identified through consultations for consideration and action by the 5 PART Working Groups and 4 PART Implementation Teams.

6 Faculties

12 faculty-based schools

CalculatorAccounting and FinanceArts

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SkyscraperArchitecture Engineering

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GovernmentBalsillie School of International AffairsArts

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LaptopDavid Cheriton School of Computer ScienceMath

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Startup cultureEnvironment, Enterprise and Development Environment

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EarthEnvironment, Resources and SustainabilityEnvironment

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Privacy EyeOptometry & Vision ScienceScience

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Mortar and pestlePharmacyScience

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Health carePublic Health and Health Systems Applied Health Sciences

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OutreachSocial WorkRenison

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Intellectual propertyStratford School of Interaction Design and BusinessArts

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4 affiliated and federated institutions

Conrad Grebel University College

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Renison University College

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St. Jerome’s University

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St. Paul’s University College

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