Transfer students

If you are looking for instructions on how to transfer to the Faculty of Arts after attending another post-secondary institution, please visit our external transfer page.

Transferred from another university or college

Step 1: Review your transfer credits

After you receive your Offer of Admission, you'll receive an email outlining any transfer credits you've been granted from your previous studies.

You may see a mix of specified and unspecified transfer credits.

  • Specified transfer credits look like a regular course number (e.g., ECON 101).
  • Unspecified transfer credits don't have a specific course number (e.g., PSYCH 1XX, ENGL 2XX).

Transfer credits can help you satisfy University of Waterloo course prerequisites and year-level enrolment requirements. 

  • Prerequisites: If you have specified transfer credits you can use these to satisfy Waterloo course prerequisites. For example, if you received a transfer credit for ECON 101, you would be able to take ECON 201.
  • Year-level requirements: Both specified and unspecified transfer credits can help you satisfy year-level enrolment requirements for courses. For example, if you were given enough transfer credits to reach level 2A, you would be able to take CLAS 231, which requires students to be in level 2A or above.

Step 2: Find the courses you want to take

Not every course is offered each term. Check the courses listed on the Schedule of Classes. Note: Class times and days will not be determined until mid-July. You'll need to request your courses before the schedule is known. Request classes based on interest. You'll have an opportunity to review and adjust your schedule beginning July 18, 2019.

  • All incoming Arts students take ARTS 130, Inquiry and Communication, and ARTS 140, Information and Analysis.

    • Each section of ARTS 130 and 140 covers a different topic, grouped among four different themes. Course descriptions can be found on the Arts First website.
    • Students can take ARTS 130 or 140 in the Fall term; the counterpart course is completed in the Winter term. You will add a specific topic/section in mid-July (see Step 5 below).
  • Found an interesting course? You'll find the course description in the Undergraduate Calendar, including details on whether the course has any pre-requisites make a list of courses you're interested in taking and make sure you meet any prerequisites for the course.
  • Declaring your major? Use our recommended major courses chart to help guide your course selections.
  • Is the course scheduled for Fall term? The Fall term Schedule of Classes is posted online so you can confirm this.
    Note: Class times and days will not be determined until mid-July. You'll need to request your courses before the schedule is known, then you'll have an opportunity to review and adjust your schedule if needed beginning July 18, 2019.

Step 3: Get course choices approved

After you've decided which courses you want to take, you need to submit your course requests to your academic advisor who will review and approve your course requests. Do this as soon as possible after accepting your Offer of Admission. Please include your Waterloo student ID number, found on your offer of admission, in all email communication. 

Campus of registration Instructions for requesting your classes
Main Campus

Submit your Course Approval Form (opens June 5) to Sarah Robertson, Academic Advisor.

  • Due no later than June 28

Note: Upper-year Arts and Business transfer students contact Kayla Lorentz, Academic Advisor.

St. Jerome's Email Joe Varamo, Academic Advisor.

Honours Arts and Liberal Studies students email Maria Vermeer Registrar.

Social Development Studies students refer to the Renison transfer student course selection webpage.

Step 4: Fall course selection (July 2-8, 2019)

You should only complete the Quest course selection process at this time if your advisor has approved your course requests.

  • Log in to Quest and request your courses.
  • If you haven't received course approval from your advisor by July 5, contact the Arts Undergraduate Office.

Step 5: Review/adjust your fall schedule (July 18-21, 2019)

Once you've requested your fall classes in Quest, you can see the courses you got into. Please view your class schedule in Quest beginning July 18.

  • See all of the classes you requested?
    1. The only step left is to enrol in your preferred section of Arts 130 or 140. Course descriptions are posted on our Arts First website. You have access to add courses in Quest starting on July 18.
    2. Add the ARTS 130 or 140 Topic section that fits with your schedule. Information is posted on the Schedule of Classes (select 1199 term from drop down menu)
  • Don’t see all of the classes you requested?
    1. You must add additional classes (maximum of 5 classes in total, including ARTS 130 or ARTS 140)
    2. ALERT! ALL students at Waterloo have access to Quest to add courses as of JULY 24. This means available spots in classes will fill immediately.
  • If you need to make changes to your schedule, we recommend you do so between July 18 and 21. Visit our Arts 101: Incoming Student Resource to watch helpful videos.
  • If you're still unsure of your course choices please contact your Academic Advisor.

Step 6: Winter 2020 course requests (late September)

Frequently asked questions

What courses should I take?

If you want to declare a major, follow the advice on our recommended major courses chart. You should fill your electives with courses that will help you complete the Bachelor of Arts Breadth Requirements. After you have taken two courses in your major subject, and as long as you have the grades you need in those courses, you can declare your major.

If you don't want to declare a major, choose a variety of courses that will help you complete the Bachelor of Arts Breadth Requirements. After two terms in Honours Arts, you will move into Liberal Studies.  

Why was I admitted to Honours Arts instead of my major?

You cannot be admitted to a major until you have completed 10 courses, with two of those courses being in your major.

Students can use transfer credits to fulfil the first requirement — 10 courses total — but usually need to take at least two Waterloo courses in their major subject before they are eligible to declare their major. You need to establish an average in your major subject, and transfer credits do not include your grades or an average.

My transfer credits haven't been finalized yet. What do I do?

Check that your final official transcript has been received by the University. Final official transcripts are usually available about three weeks after term ends. We strongly recommend you send your final grades to our admissions team as soon as possible.

If your final transcript has been received, along with the descriptions of the courses you took, they are likely being assessed for transfer credit by the department that teaches relevant courses at Waterloo. If you have any questions, email our admissions team.

Why do some of my transfer credits end with "XX" instead of numbers?

Transfer credits are labelled “XX” when there is no direct equivalent course at Waterloo. These courses count towards your degree total and can be used to fulfil unspecified electives and your Breadth Requirements.

For example, you would receive a transfer credit for PSYCH 101 if the Department of Psychology reviewed your introduction to psychology course and determined that the content was equivalent to what we teach in PSYCH 101 at Waterloo.

You would receive a transfer credit for PSYCH 1XX if the Department of Psychology determined that the course was similar in terms of workload and learning objectives to what we teach in PSYCH 101, but did not match enough of the specific course content.

How do my transfer credits fit into my degree requirements?

Your transfer credits count towards your degree total and can be used to fulfil unspecified electives and your Breadth Requirements.

Transfer credits can also help you satisfy some prerequisites, but will not replace specific prerequisites. For example, if you receive a transfer credit for PSYCH 1XX, you still need to take PSYCH 101 at Waterloo in order to enrol in any upper-year PSYCH courses.

Can my transfer credit help me complete my major or minor requirements?

Yes, to a certain extent. If you have unspecified electives in your major or minor requirements, transfer credits will count towards those.

For example, the English minor requires one ENGL course at the 200-level or above. If you receive a transfer credit for ENGL 2XX, that transfer credit will fulfil that requirement. However, an ENGL 2XX transfer credit would NOT count for specific courses like ENGL 200A, which is another required course for the English minor.

You can only complete up to half of your major or minor requirements through transfer credit. The other half must be made up of courses taken at Waterloo.

What year/level do my transfer credits make me?

You progress through academic years and levels based on how many courses you pass. Transfer credits count as passed courses, so they will increase your academic level. You can see your year and level in Quest once your transfer credits have been applied. The highest level you can attain solely through transfer credits is 3A.

Year/levels are sometimes prerequisites for courses. This indicates that although the course does not have a specific prerequisite, students need to be at the required level to succeed in the course.

Can I graduate with a BA without a major?

Yes, this academic plan is known as Liberal Studies.

How long will it take me to finish my degree?

This depends on how many courses you plan to take each term, how many terms you want to take each year, and how often the required courses for your major are offered. Meeting with the major advisor to talk about your plans and availability of courses is a good idea.

What should I do over the summer to prepare?

Make sure to read the Next Steps for Admitted Transfer Students and attend orientation events designed specifically for transfer students.