Frequently asked questions


Admissions Process

At the School of Architecture, there are two stages for admission: 

Stage 1: Apply via OUAC by the application deadline. Completing an Admissions Information Form (AIF) is not required for Architecture. 

Stage 2: Based on grade averages, a number of applicants will advance to the second stage of the admissions process.  

In early-March, applicants advancing to stage 2 will receive an email containing instructions for signing into the Architecture Admissions Online Platform where you will upload your portfolio, complete a short answer "About You" survey, and indicate your interview preferences. You will also complete an English Precis test. These steps must be completed by March 31, 2024. 

Stage 2 applicants are invited to participate in an in-person interview at the School of Architecture in Cambridge during our interview period, April 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 2024. If coming to Cambridge presents undue hardship or is logistically not possible, we offer a virtual interview instead. The interviews are considered equally whether they are conducted in person or virtually. In either case, our goal is to provide you with the best opportunity to demonstrate the full range of your creative and intellectual interests and abilities.  

The School of Architecture receives a high number of applications. For consideration to proceed to the second stage of the admissions process, an overall average of low-mid 80’s and at least a grade of 75% (usually 80%) in English and at least low 70’s in Physics and the two required mathematics courses is required. If offered admission, a final term mark of at least 70% in the required courses and 75% in English is needed to maintain the offer of admission. It is also recommended that students take visual arts, history and other cultural studies courses. The course grade minimums and average of applicants invited to attend stage two of the admissions process varies and is determined by the strength of the applicant pool each year. 

Admissions requirements are outlined on Waterloo's Undergraduate Programs website.

What scholarships are available?

Is it possible to get my entrance scholarship upgraded? For example, in term 1, I had an average of 90-94% and was given the scholarship for that grade, but say I bump my mark up to 96% by the end of the year--does that upgrade my scholarship amount?

If you bring your admissions average into the next level with your final marks we will adjust the scholarship amount accordingly.

As a student from Alberta, am I able to apply to the Waterloo Entrance Bursary?

Can you transfer your IB HL credits for second year's open elective (in any discipline 0.5 unit) since there are no electives in first year?

One 0.5 credit will be considered; please visit this page for more information.

Are credits transferable from AP courses?

One 0.5 credit will be considered; please visit this page for more information.

Student life in Cambridge

Do all of the classes take place in Cambridge?

The School of Architecture is a beautiful historic building in the city of Cambridge, about 30 km (usually a 45-minute drive) from Waterloo's main campus. The campus in Cambridge is complete with studios, labs, exhibition galleries, and a world-class design library. All Architecture classes and electives take place in Cambridge with the exception of the 4A term in Rome, Italy. Students do not travel to Waterloo for classes. 

Where do the architecture students stay for residence?

Given the distance between Cambridge and the main campus in Waterloo, we strongly advise that you live in Cambridge and not in a main campus residence. We do not have a student residence in Cambridge, so all students live in private residences. The University supports students in finding accommodations.

Discord Server

The Architecture Housing Connect Discord Server provides an online platform for students to connect and plan for housing arrangements in Cambridge. The server has dedicated space for incoming first-year students to interact and get to know each other. It also has designated channels for all students to discuss housing needs, available sublets, and rooms for rent.

If you have received an offer of admission you will receive an invitation to join the server in May. 


The School of Architecture and Off-Campus Housing departments are working closely with to ensure a smooth experience for students seeking accommodations in Cambridge.

The School of Architecture is listed as “Cambridge Campus” on the places4students platform.

Off-Campus Housing

For additional housing support, we recommend that you check out the Off-Campus Housing office for a list of “additional Off-Campus housing options”. 

Does architecture have a student union?

The Waterloo Architecture Students Association (WASA) is the undergraduate student union elected to represent all undergraduate architecture students. They tackle every issue from tuition policy to campus safety. WASA hosts many exciting events for students every term, as well as run a number of small and student-focused services on campus.

What kind of extracurricular & social activities are available in Cambridge?

Architecture students are a close-knit community who create their own activities based on student interest. Historically there have been ski trips, a rock climbing club, volleyball and other sports and social activities.

Is it safe to walk home at night?

There is a taxi service available to current students to ensure your safety.

Are there opportunities for students to be involved in events in the larger Cambridge community?

There are many opportunities for architecture students to become involved in activities within Cambridge. BRIDGE Centre for Architecture + Design is an initiative committed to engaging the Waterloo School of Architecture, local community and broader network through Art, Design and Architecture.

Questions about first year

What will my class schedule be and do I get to pick my own first year classes?

Students are automatically enrolled into their first year classes in mid July. Students take all classes together as a cohort with the same schedule.  Each semester will include a Design Studio and courses in Visual and Digital Media, Environment and Technology, Cultural History and Landscape and Environment.

What supplies and books will I need?

What type of laptop is recommended for the Architecture program?

A laptop is mandatory for the Architecture program - recommended laptop specifications can be found here.

Will the Fall 2023 semester be online?

At the current time it is we plan to deliver all first-year courses including lectures, studio and tutorials in person for Fall 2023. Please visit the coronavirus website for up to date information.

Questions about co-op

Is there a database where we can find job opportunities?

What happens if we don't find a co-op job in time?

Students need 5 work terms but have 6 scheduled; so, worst-case scenario, if you are unable to find a co-op job for one term, there will be no penalty. To help you find a co-op job, you will have a co-op advisor assigned to you. We also have an entire building with staff dedicated to helping our co-op students find jobs, prepare resumes, and improve your interview skills. You may need to take the initiative to ask for help though. 

How much money is usually earned during a co-op term?

Do co-op applications require references?

This will be company-specific although it's always good to have references available upon request.

Is it possible to take co-op work with the same company if a previous term with them goes well?

Yes, as long as you and the employer agree to it, that's fine (make sure you continue to learn new things though!)

Is there an exchange program opportunity for Waterloo Engineering?

BAS questions

How do electives work? What are open electives and what are non-open electives? How many electives do you get?

There are 6 electives throughout the program. The electives do fall into categories of Architecture and non-Architecture. Of the 6 electives, 2 are open electives, 2 architecture electives and 2 Arch 500 series (upper year electives). The electives spaces start in the 2B semester (the 4th semester). 

How long is the BAS program?

The BAS program is 5 years – it is 8 academic semesters, 6 co-op work terms and one summer term off between 1st and 2nd year. 

How do you qualify for the masters after completing the BAS?

Students qualify for the Master of Architecture (MArch) by maintaining a minimum 75% average in the BAS program. Waterloo Architecture has a commitment to completion, that we will accept all of our Waterloo Architecture BAS grads that meet the MArch requirement.