What these words mean?

You'll likely come across some unfamiliar terms when reading university documents.

WatIAM user ID

This is the username that the University of Waterloo has assigned you. It will be used to access the university's online systems. Your user ID will usually incorporate your first initial and at least the beginning of your last name.


This is the university's online classroom system. Professors will post course content and grades here, and will often ask that students submit assignments, participate in quizzes, and post discussion topics through LEARN.

  • LEARN - smARTSpace
    • SmARTSpace on LEARN is your site for Arts-specific academic information. News and important updates from your academic advisor will appear on LEARN and Portal from smARTSpace.
    • For AFM students, "My SAF Community" will be used instead of "smARTSpace".


This is the university's student information system. You can view your fees and academic standing, as well as your final grades after they are submitted at the end of each term. You may also view your personal information. Quest is also used for course selection. You'll complete winter course selection in September on Quest.


This is a mobile-friendly app designed to make our students' lives easier. It streamlines information from many sources into one space. You can customize the information you would like to see in your Portal to best meet your needs.


The area(s) of primary academic focus you select in either an Honours or a General plan. Most students will declare their major at the end of their first year.


A group of 8 courses outside the major with a specific focus.


A course not specifically required for a degree but counting towards it, to be chosen freely by the student either from within a specified group of courses or more broadly from courses offered anywhere across the University of Waterloo.


Didn't find the term(s) you're looking for? Check out this Glossary of Terms for undergraduate students.