Certificate in University Teaching

The Certificate in University Teaching (CUT) is a program for PhD students interested in pursuing an academic career. The overall goal of the CUT program is for participants to be self-aware, critically-reflective teachers who have gained both theoretical knowledge and skills that contribute to success in an academic career.

This free program is open to PhD students in all Faculties. Over 300 uWaterloo students from different Faculties have completed the program since its launch in the fall of 1998.

By the end of the program, participants will:

  1. Begin to apply theoretical knowledge about teaching and learning in higher education
  2. Adopt a reflective approach to teaching through collecting feedback and continually modifying instructional approaches
  3. Develop and implement active-learning teaching methods
  4. Prepare a teaching dossier that articulates their approach to undergraduate teaching and documents their teaching effectiveness
  5. Locate, summarize and use research on teaching and learning as it applies to their field
  6. Feel more confident and knowledgeable as an instructor in higher education

The CUT program comprises three courses in Graduate Studies (GS): GS 901, GS 902, and GS 903 - which provide a comprehensive teacher-development experience. Each individual course must be completed within three consecutive terms.

The prerequisite for participation in the CUT program is completion of the Fundamentals of University Teaching program.

To apply for the CUT program, applicants must submit an application form by that term’s application deadline, explaining why they want to pursue the Certificate in University Teaching. Applications are reviewed based on participants’ interest in applying teaching strategies to their own practice, their understanding of Fundamentals program concepts, and the feasibility of their CUT program completion based on time to graduation and teaching observation opportunities.

Enrolment in the CUT program is limited to between 15 and 20 new participants per term. 

If you would like to apply for admission to the CUT program for an upcoming term, please contact Jessica Jordao at cte-cut@uwaterloo.ca to indicate your interest so she can email you when applications are open for the upcoming term.

Overview of the Certificate in University Teaching program

GS 901 Preparing for university teaching GS 902 Preparing for an academic career GS 903 Teaching practicum

4 workshops & 4 response papers

Required workshops:

  • Understanding the Learner
  • Interactive Teaching
  • Assessing Student Learning
  • Course Design

Short response papers are required for all workshops.

Research project &
Teaching dossier

Required workshops:

  • Research Projects
  • Teaching Dossiers

Plus: A consultation session for each workshop.

Completion of a research project on a teaching/learning issue, and a teaching dossier.

2 teaching observations & 2 response papers

Each observation includes:

  • Pre-observation meeting
  • Teaching observation
  • Post-observation meeting
  • Short response paper

One observation must be in a large class.

Program components in detail


  • The CUT program must be completed by end of graduate studies.
  • CUT courses are included on official transcript.
  • Each course must be completed within three consecutive terms.
  • GS 901 and GS 903 may be taken at the same time, but GS 901 is a prerequisite for GS 902.
  • Only doctoral students officially registered at the University of Waterloo can be accepted into the CUT program. Students in joint programs are not eligible to participate in the CUT.
  • On average it takes 6-7 terms to complete the CUT program. Participants must have a minimum of four terms left in their PhD studies to be eligible for the CUT.

Fast fact: 
To date, 404 graduate students have completed CTE's Certificate in University Teaching program.