Academic Regulations and Policies

Exam Regulations

The examinations are governed by the University of Waterloo Academic Regulations Related to Assignments, Tests, and Final Exams.

The regulations presented here address situations that are specific to the Department of Chemical Engineering and are meant to clarify and elaborate the Department's position regarding how examinations are conducted. A candidate giving assistance to or receiving assistance from, or communicating in any manner with any person other than the Presiding Officer or assistants, or copying, or having at the examination unauthorized aids of any kind, is liable to academic discipline.

Academic Integrity (AI) is taken very seriously and it is your responsibility as a student to know, understand, and follow the University of Waterloo policies.

1.  Books, Notes, and Bags

  • Only those items authorized for use in the examination may be taken to the candidates' seats.
  • All books, notes, handbags, purses, backpacks and other personal paraphernalia must be left at the front or side of the examination room during the period of examination.

2.  Calculators and Other Electronic Devices

  • If permitted, only standard non-programmable calculators displaying nothing but numerical information, that cannot store text and with no long-term memory, may be used, unless otherwise specified by the instructor.
  • No laptop, notebook or netbook computers, tablets, or any electronic devices that can store text or images may be used.
  • No smart phones, cellular phones, or any wireless or electronic communication devices may be used.
  • Recording or playback devices are not permitted during the writing of examinations.
  • All electronic devices, other than approved calculators as defined above, shall be turned off and placed at the front or side of the examination room during the period of the examination.

3.  Examination Booklets

  • Examination booklets or papers are brought to the examination room by the Presiding Officer.
  • Candidates should complete the outside covers of the examination booklets before beginning to answer the examination questions. If more than one book is used, Dept. Examination Regulations and Procedures Page 2 of 3 they should be numbered as 1 of n, 2 of n, etc., and submitted with the other booklets inserted inside the first booklet.
  • No papers may be detached from the examination booklets. Staples of the examination booklets or papers are not to be removed. A candidate may not take an examination booklet or any part of an exam paper from the examination room.

4.  Posting of Student Grades (Policy #19)

  • Provided the identity of individual students is protected, an instructor may convey information about student academic performance (e.g., grades on assignments, mid-term or final examinations) by posting results in a public place such as an office door, bulletin board or course website. Final examination and final course grades shall not be posted before the final examination period ends.

Exam Procedures

1. Presiding Officer and Exam Proctors

The Presiding Officer shall be in charge of the examination and will normally be the instructor of the course being examined. If the instructor is not going to be present, arrangements must be made for another faculty member to take his/her place at the examination. Teaching Assistants for the course being examined may be asked to assist the Presiding Officer in supervising the examination as proctors. Each examination room shall have at least two proctors (at least one male and one female). Additional proctors will be arranged by the Administrative Coordinator for Undergraduate Studies at the Course Instructor’s request.

2. Late Arrivals

There shall be no extension of time for candidates who arrive late. The Presiding officer shall write the time of arrival on the candidate’s examination booklet. Candidates who arrive more than one hour late for an examination may be barred from writing the examination if students have already completed the examination and left the examination room.

3. Early Departures

After the examination has commenced, all candidates must remain for the first hour and must hand in a signed examination book, even if there are no answers in it, before leaving the examination room.

4. Attendance Sheets

The Presiding Officer or the proctors shall, after the first half hour but before the end of the first hour, have each candidate sign their name on an Attendance Sheet. The proctors should make a seating plan, or fill in the attendance sheet systematically so that the seating plan can be reconstructed.

5. Seating

There must be at least one empty seat between students. Appropriate examination room sizes will be scheduled to accommodate this.

6. Failure to Write

Candidates who fail to write the examination at the scheduled time are not to be given a deferred examination without the prior knowledge and approval of the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, who shall also inform the Examination and Promotion Officer.

7. Leaving the Examination Room

A candidate may, with the permission of the instructor or proctor, leave the examination room briefly only if accompanied by an assigned proctor. A candidate may not remove any examination material from the examination room, nor may the candidate take any electronic device, including their smart phone or wireless communication device with them when they leave the room. 

8. Academic Discipline

The main duty of the Presiding Officer and proctors is to ensure that students are not cheating by using unauthorized aids (crib sheets, notes, textbooks, etc.) during the exam, or communicating from one person to another. If there are reasonable grounds for believing an infraction is occurring or has occurred, the Presiding Officer or proctor is to politely but firmly and without disrupting students who are not involved:

  • advise the student that the aid or communication is not permitted and confiscate the aid;
  • confirm the name of the student, write a brief note on the front page of the student's exam booklet stating the time of the infraction, and allow the student to continue writing the exam.
  • The Presiding Officer or proctor has the authority to require the student to move to a seat where the student can be more easily monitored.
  • If a student’s behaviour is disrupting other students, the Presiding Officer has the authority to take appropriate measures, for example to require the student to move to a seat away from the other students (where possible), or to require the student to cease writing the exam and leave the examination room.

At the conclusion of the examination period, the Presiding Officer or proctor must make a note of any details not previously noted on the student’s exam booklet (e.g., refusal to cooperate); identify the paper and set it aside and inform the course instructor of the circumstances. The Presiding Officer or course instructor will ask to speak to the student in confidence at the end of the exam to explain to the alleged offender that the status of her/his paper is in question. The student will be asked to explain his/her actions. The Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies must be informed immediately.

Informal Resolution

The persons involved (i.e., instructor, teaching assistant, student, etc.) attempt to come to a resolution of the matter among themselves. Such a resolution must be agreed to by the parties involved and submitted in writing, signed by all parties, to the Associate Dean within five working days. If the Associate Dean agrees with the terms of the resolution, the matter is considered closed; otherwise, the matter will be resolved formally. However informal resolutions cannot result in the expunging of grades, the revoking of degrees, suspension, or expulsion. Instructors are encouraged to consult with the Associate Chairs regarding suitable penalties.

Formal Resolution

If the attempt at an informal resolution fails, or is deemed by the Associate Dean to be inappropriate, the matter is referred to the Associate Dean for resolution.

The complete policy regarding academic discipline is contained in Policy 71: Student Discipline.

The policy regarding appeal is contained in Policy 70: Student Petitions and Grievances.

Academic or Personal Difficulties

If you have any difficulties, academic or personal, during the term, do not hesitate to contact your academic advisor for help. Note that it is essential that you immediately notify the advisor and any course instructor involved if you are unable to write a mid-term or final exam due to illness or personal emergency. If a student fails to write examinations without notification, the student may be "Required to Withdraw From Engineering" (Examinations & Promotions Rule 9 in the Undergraduate Studies Academic Calendar).

Documented evidence of the reason for missing the exam, e.g., a doctor's note, indicating the reason for illness, dates of illness, etc., will be required as soon as possible.

Adding and Dropping Courses

Students make course changes by logging on to Quest. For course add and drop deadlines, please see Important dates.


Some professors do not allow programmable calculators in examinations. For this reason, the department recommends that each student purchase an inexpensive, non-programmable, scientific calculator for use in such examinations.

Exams and Make-up Lectures


For first year students only, core course lectures will be cancelled during midterm week. Make-up lectures will be reflected on your schedule in Quest.

For all other years, midterm exam dates will be included on your course outlines.

Final Exams

Do not make plans (e.g. travel arrangements) until after the last day of the final exam period because in the event that the University is closed during final examinations, the examinations will be rescheduled on the next available day, including Sunday, on which examinations have not been scheduled. Specific make-up dates will be announced on the University of Waterloo homepage Note also: that no special allowances will be made for students who miss exams without a good reason (e.g. slept in or misread the schedule). Student travel plans are not considered acceptable grounds for granting an alternative examination time.

Accommodation due to Illness

Accommodations due to an illness that has been documented with a Verification of Illness form are described in the Accommodations web page. Note that the Department of Chemical Engineering policy on deferred final exams missed due to illness is to require the deferred exam to be written as soon as possible after the student is able to return to normal academic duties. This policy is described in greater detail here. COVID-19 related information.

Stress, Study Habits and Time Management

Some students have difficulty coping with the workload and stress of the engineering program. Counselling Services are available to help. See the receptionist in the First Year Engineering office or your Advisor for more information about this service. Study skills and other workshops tend to fill up fast so early registration, for those interested, is suggested.

Faculty of Engineering Course Responsiblities

Courses offered in the Faculty of Engineering place responsibilities on the Faculty of Engineering, the instructor and teaching team and all students. Many of these responsibilities are described at the first lecture or are captured in the policies of the university at University of Waterloo Secretariat Office and the Faculty of Engineering Course Responsibilities on the web at Engineering UG Studies- Course Responsibilities. There are two responsibilities that have been specified by the Senate of the University of Waterloo as requiring special mention. One relating to the responsibility of students with respect to plagiarism and academic discipline and one relating to the teaching team with respect to students with disabilities. These two responsibilities have been expressed in specific wording by the Senate and are listed below. All courses offered by the Faculty of Engineering subscribe to these specifications except as may be noted on the course syllabus's or during the first lecture.

Avoidance of Academic Offences

Students are expected to know what constitutes academic integrity, to avoid committing academic offences, and to take responsibility for their actions. Students who are unsure whether an action constitutes an offence, or who need help in learning how to avoid offences (eg., plagiarism, cheating) or about “rules” for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course professor, TA, academic advisor, or the Undergraduate Associate Dean. For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy #71, Student Academic Discipline . Students who believe that they have been wrongfully or unjustly penalized have the right to grieve; refer to Policy #70, Student Grievance . University Policy #71 defines academic offences to include plagiarism, copying and cheating as follows:

  • Plagiarism is defined as taking "intellectual property," such as words, drawings, photos, or artwork, etc., written or created by others, and passing it off as your own. When you submit a report or assignment with your name on it, it is assumed that you are the author of everything in the assignment except for those materials which are specifically identified as coming from other sources. Therefore, if you include sentences, photos, drawings or figures from other sources in a work report or lab report, the complete reference must be cited. This applies in particular to any material cut and pasted from the internet or any other electronic source.
  • Cheating includes "copying from another student's work or allowing another student to copy from one's own work, submitting another person's work as one's own, fabrication of data, consultation with any unauthorized person during an examination or test, and use of unauthorized aids."
  • Collaboration is encouraged among students. Discussion, debate and the collegial exchange of information is encouraged and is always helpful in the education process. Just make sure you avoid plagiarism and cheating.

Students Requiring Special Help or Accommodations

AccessAbility Services in Needles Hall, Room 1132, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations, please register with AccessAbilty Services at the beginning of each academic term.