Can I take less than 5 courses overseas?
Yes, you can decide to do fewer than five courses on exchange, as long as you remain a full time student by UW’s definition (ie. completing a minimum of 3 UW courses per term). However, please be aware, that doing less than the equivalent of five courses at UW does not impact your tuition. You will still pay for 5 courses.
How many courses/credits at a partner university constitute a UW "Full Term Load"?
The number of courses you will need to take per term at the partner university will vary according to how that university defines a "full term course load".
- For United Kingdom partners: Almost all of the UK partners define a "full term course load" as accumulating 60 credits over the term. Some of the universities also express the credits in terms of ECTS’S (European Transfer Credits) where 30 ECTS’S constitutes a "full term course load". A student studying within the British system should consider the credit values of the modules/courses she or he wants to take. Example: a student might choose to take four modules at 15 credits each to reach the required 60 credits OR take three modules at 20 credits each OR two modules at 30 credits each. Note: the smaller the number of modules taken, the greater the risk of losing transfer credits if the student is unsuccessful in a course. In any case, the British universities limit students to a maximum of four modules
- For Australian and New Zealand partners: These universities place a limit of four courses/modules permitted to be taken per term. For precise information on their credit systems, please consult the entries for those universities on the Arts International Destinations website.
- For Continental European partners: The Continental European universities use the European Transfer Credit System (ECTS). Within this system a “full term course load” is generally defined as representing 30 ECTSs. Since courses typically have a value of 6 ECTSs, a full term course load will be composed of five courses. Please note that there can be fluctuation in these course values. Lund University in Sweden, for example, considers a full term load to be four courses, each at 7.5 ECTSs. French and German universities quite frequently modify the ECTS values of courses, making some worth 4 ECTSs and others 7 ECTSs.
- For MICEFA and other French partners: A full load at the Paris universities under MICEFA is normally five courses. However please be aware that MICEFA uses 3 ECTSs as the typical credit value of one term, instead of the 6 ECTS’S normally used in other Paris universities. A full MICEFA term is therefore 15 ECTSs rather than 30 ECTSs.
- Bottom Line: Please consult carefully on the Arts International Destinations website regarding the credit systems used at the partner universities that interest you.
If I'm going to the UK/Australia/NZ, how do my Two/Three/Four courses transfer back as Five UW Credits?
In dealing with transfer credits from a partner university, the UW Faculty of Arts operates on the following principle: if the student on exchange successfully completes approved courses equivalent to a “Full Term Load” at the partner university, we will undertake to give the student the equivalent of a “Full Term Load” here (i.e. 2.5 credits). This is done by expanding one or more of the modules taken into two or possibly more credits. Expanding the value of such a module reflects the considerably greater amount of work done in that module in comparison to a single course at UW.
What is the difference between specified and unspecified course equivalents?
Regardless of whether a course transferred back to UW as specified or unspecified, it will have exactly the same credit value here (i.e. 0.5 units).
Specified Course Equivalents
You might choose to take a course overseas that has content that is close to the courses offered here at UW, which would allow a UW Undergraduate Advisor to give you a course equivalent that matches a specific UW course (ie. PSYCH 101). It means you are simply taking that specific UW course somewhere else. When your course equivalents are transferred back you will have a specific UW course equivalent applied.
Unspecified Course Equivalents
It often happens that courses or modules you wish to take overseas do not have content that corresponds to any courses offered here at UW, but is still relevant to your program and study. If this is the case and you are deemed eligible to take the course, when your course equivalents are transferred back you will have an unspecified UW course equivalent applied (ie. PSYCH 1XX).
Please be aware: On the transcript you will receive from the overseas partner university you will see the exact name of each of the courses you took there, even if some of those courses appear as unspecified courses with an -XX designation on your UW grade report or transcript. You will also see the exact numerical or alpha grade you received for that course. On your UW grade report or transcript you will see only “CR” for courses transferred back to UW.
How are courses transferred back to UW?
Courses are transferred back to UW on a Pass/Fail basis and will appear on your UW Transcript only with the indication “CR”. It is very important to be aware, that to obtain a “Pass” for a Transfer Credit, you must obtain a Minimum Grade Equivalent to 60% or C- at Waterloo.
Important: Please consult the entry for each overseas partner university to see the minimum grade that equates to a 60% or C- at UWaterloo. For example, a grade of 45% is equivalent at each of our UK partners. Please also be aware that since your overseas grades transfer back to UW on a “Pass/Fail” basis, they will have no effect on your UW Grade Point Average. In other words, the cumulative average you have before you go on an international exchange will be the same cumulative average when you come back to UW!