Professional pathways

Following your undergraduate studies or perhaps later in your career, you may decide to continue your learning and development. This may be for personal growth, future career opportunities and/or general interest.

You can enhance your skills, knowledge and abilities through a professional designation or graduate studies.

Professional designations

To help boost your career, you may choose to become a certified professional by pursuing a recognized designation - used to prove your qualification in performing a job or task. The courses that you'll take through the Computing and Financial Management (CFM) program will help to prepare you for a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation but there are many other professional certifications that you may decide to pursue.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

CFA Institute logo

A CFA designation is a professional credential that is recognized worldwide and is administrated by the CFA Institute. It is the highest distinction available to a professional working in the field of investment management.

CFM is a member of the CFA University Affiliation Program, which means that its curriculum is endorsed by the Institute in helping to prepare you to write the CFA designation exams (known as CFA Level 1, 2 and 3). The CFA designation is a self-study, graduate-level program, but many of your required upper year courses from your CFM studies will help to prepare you for the CFA Level 1 Exam, including:

It is through these courses that you'll be able to write your first CFA exam right out of university. Students who are not part of a CFA University Affiliation Program typically require additional studying and classroom hours to challenge the exams successfully.

There are no university programs that offer exemptions for writing the CFA exams and co-op hours cannot be counted toward the designation. You must be in at least the final year of your Bachelor's degree to participate. Find out how to become a CFA.

Other professional designations

There are a variety of other professional programs available to you upon graduation that are offered all over the world. If you are interested in earning a professional designation, you should research options in your field of interest. 

Graduate studies

Develop an even deeper mastery of computer science, finance, or business through continued studies at the graduate level.


There are a variety of different programs offered at the University of Waterloo and around the world that you can choose from to direct your studies.

A few options at UWaterloo are the:

When choosing a program, think about how you want to learn and how many years you want to study. Many programs will offer a coursework option or a research option (and may include co-op).

  • Coursework option - This program is designed to be a lot like your undergraduate studies. You will be required to take courses and write exams or assignments. It will likely take you 12-16 months to complete your full-time studies (taking three courses per term). This option is a good choice if you're looking to advance your career in the industry.
  • Research option - This program is designed to teach you how to become a researcher. You will take a variety of courses, work with a professor on meaningful research, and write a thesis. It will likely take you 1-2 years to complete your full-time studies (taking three courses per term). This option is a good choice if you're looking to advance your career in the industry or are considering a research or academic teaching position. The research option is the pathway you'll want to follow to pursue a PhD.

Preparing your application

Admissions for most graduate studies programs will depend on the merits of your academics but may also involve research knowledge, extra-curricular activities, work experience and references. Make sure to review the admission requirements and deadlines for each program that you choose to apply.

Completion of specific courses may also be required for consideration. Plan out your studies early and use your electives effectively to satisfy these requirements.

Growing your research experience

Try your hand at research before you graduate by working alongside a University professor through the Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) program. To participate, connect with a professor and ask if they are looking for support with their research. You can work as a URA part-time during your studies or for four months on co-op.

Ask about graduate studies

The Co-Directors and the Program Manager are available to answer your questions about grad studies and to assist you in making course selections that are appropriate for your post-graduation plans.