On this page:
- Spring 2021 term information
- Winter 2021 term information
- Online resources
- Co-op program information
- International student supports
- Taking courses at other institutions
- AccessAbility Services
- Accommodations due to COVID-19
The recent surge in COVID cases in Ontario makes it clear that the virus and our collective efforts to stop the spread need our continued attention posing ongoing difficulties in planning for in-person learning.
With this in mind, our plans for the spring term will be in keeping with our current approach. This means that instruction will continue primarily online and in-person in limited situations as the regulations allow.
Spring term will start one week later than planned
We recognize that instructors and students need more time to transition between terms than the current academic calendar allows. To create more time between terms, the Senate has agreed that spring term dates will be revised as follows:
- Spring term will now start a week later on Monday, May 10
- Classes will end on Thursday, August 5
- Exams will begin on Saturday, August 7 and end by Monday, August 16 (the original last day of exams).
More details on the revised academic dates for the term are available below:
Please be assured that we are continuing to revise our plans for a safe and staged return to in-person activities as soon as the conditions allow.
Your health and wellbeing is our priority. Please remember to take care of yourselves and each other. Information about supports for students and employees can be found on the COVID-19 Information home page.
Waterloo is preparing winter term for you! As recently announced, winter term delivery will be primarily online to continue to protect public health, and we have begun preparing the course selection process.
Below is a summary of course delivery details in your faculty for the winter 2021 term. Any course components that are delivered in-person will be done following the guidance of public health officials as required.
For courses delivered online, some may have real-time activities like online meetings and lectures. If these elements are part of your course, we have asked our instructors to make sure that no students in the class are disadvantaged if they are unable to participate synchronously.
After consulting with student leaders and other campus groups, we have decided to make some updates to the winter 2021 term schedule:
- January 11: Classes begin
We will be delaying the start of winter term classes until January 11. All other winter term activities (such as co-op work terms) will begin as usual on January 4.
- February 13 to 22: Reading Week
No change. Reading week will continue as planned.
- March 15 to 16: Scheduled pauses
Classes will be cancelled on Monday, March 15 and Tuesday, March 16 to create a four-day weekend from March 13 to 16.
- April 14: Classes end
The last day of classes will follow a Friday schedule.
- April 15 to 16: Pre-exam study days
- April 17 to 26: Final exam period
Accessing your online classes
- Reliable internet access will be required.
- Tools such as a webcam may be used in your course.
- LEARN (the web-based learning management system):
- If your instructor is using LEARN:
- Before classes start, check your technology to ensure you can successfully participate in online classes - see LEARN's system, software, and internet requirements.
- Find technical support on the LEARN help website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- On January 11, log in to LEARN to see what courses will be using this platform.
- If instructors are using other platforms, you can expect:
- An email from your instructor, no later than Wednesday, January 13, to your @uwaterloo.ca email address.
- After January 13, if you still haven't heard from your instructor, reach out to them via email.
- If your instructor is using LEARN:
Information by faculty
Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
We will deliver all courses including lectures, labs and tutorials online for winter 2021.
You might be able to take a reduced course load. If this interests you, please contact your academic advisor.
Faculty of Arts (Includes School of Accounting and Finance, Global Business and Digital Arts, and University Colleges)
All courses, tutorials, and labs will be delivered online for winter 2021. This includes Accounting and Financial Management, Computing and Financial Management, Global Business and Digital Arts, Honours Arts, Honours Arts and Business, Social Development Studies, and all arts courses offered through the University Colleges (Renison University College, St. Jerome’s University, and Conrad Grebel University College).
- Some online courses will have real-time (synchronous) activities such as online meetings and lectures. If these elements are part of your course, instructors will make sure that no students in the class are disadvantaged if they are unable to participate synchronously.
- Students who are beginning their University of Waterloo careers in Honours Arts in winter 2021 can choose to take a reduced course load in the winter term.
- All Bridge to Academic Success in English (BASE) courses will be delivered online for winter 2021.
If you have questions in the coming weeks, we invite you to ask us anything about Arts.
Faculty of Engineering (includes Software Engineering)
We will deliver all undergraduate courses only online in winter 2021, with the following exceptions:
- Architectural Engineering 2A students (updated Dec 8 2020): The core course AE200 (Building Enclosure Studio) will be run entirely online. However, the instructors are investigating the possibility of holding an optional one-day in-person outdoor lab activity for local students, subject to capacity limits.
- Biomedical Engineering 4B students: The elective BME488 Topic 2 (Mechanics of Biomaterials and Tissues) will be offered in-person only. Enrollment is limited and requires department consent.
- Chemical Engineering 1B students: Some lab experiments in the core course CHE101 (Chemical Engineering Concepts 2) can optionally be done in person, subject to capacity limits. The course can alternatively be completed entirely online. Lectures and tutorial components are available only online.
- Chemical Engineering 2A students: Some lab experiments in the core course CHE290 (Chemical Engineering Lab 1) can optionally be done in person, subject to capacity limits. The course can alternatively be completed entirely online.
- Chemical Engineering 3A students: Some lab experiments in the core course CHE390 (Chemical Engineering Lab 3) can optionally be done in person, subject to capacity limits. The course can alternatively be completed entirely online.
- Chemical Engineering 4B students (updated November 26, 2020): Students can optionally attend in-person lectures in the elective CHE500 (Special Topics, Process Flowsheet Analysis, CHE520). The course can alternatively be completed entirely online. Also, the elective CHE524 (Process Control Laboratory) involves labs completed in groups; the labs can optionally be done in person (subject to capacity limits, with only one group member present in person for each experiment). The course can alternatively be completed entirely online.
- Electrical and Computer Engineering 4B students: The core course ECE498B (Engineering Design Project) will be offered online. However, in-person access to lab facilities in E2-3353 will be given for design groups that absolutely need it; where possible, equipment can be loaned out to groups; students will also have in-person access to the machine shop and 3D printing facilities in E5. Also, the elective course ECE464 (High Voltage Engineering) will be run online, but students who are available on campus can take part in an optional lab tour to view the equipment and safety procedures in person.
- Environmental Engineering 3B students: The core course ENVE330 (Lab Analysis and Field Sampling Techniques), which was swapped with ENVE383, will be run completely online, but the instructor is investigating the possibility of holding optional in-person field sessions for students who are on campus.
- Geological Engineering 3B students: Contact your academic advisor for information about the core course EARTH438 (Engineering Geology), which will have in-person activity. Also, contact your academic advisor regarding the core course EARTH390 (Methods in Geological Mapping).
- Geological Engineering 4B students: Contact your academic advisor for information about the two electives EARTH332 (Metamorphic Petrology) and EARTH471 (Mineral Deposits), which will have in-person activity. Also, contact your academic advisor regarding completion of the 3B course EARTH390 (Methods in Geological Mapping).
- Mechanical Engineering 3A students (updated November 17, 2020): Labs in the core course ME340 (Manufacturing Processes) can optionally be done in person; the course can alternatively be completed entirely online.
- Mechanical Engineering 4B students: Some of the labs in the elective ME538 (Welding Design, Fabrication, and Quality Control) can optionally be done in person at Conestoga College; the course can alternatively be completed entirely online. Labs in the elective ME562 (Experimental Methods in Fluids) can optionally be done in person; the course can alternatively be completed entirely online.
- Nanotechnology Engineering 4B students: The four lab courses NE455A (Nano-electronics Lab 2), NE455B (Nano-instrumentation Lab 2), NE455C (Nanobiosystems Lab 2), and NE455D (Nanostructured Materials Lab 2) will be run in person only. The labs are specialized and do not have an online equivalent. Students who cannot be present in person for the whole term will be accommodated either with some condensed option during the term or at the end of term or in a future post-4B term.
If you have questions, please contact your academic advisor.
Faculty of Environment
We will deliver all undergraduate courses online for winter 2021.
Some online courses will have real-time (synchronous) activities such as online meetings and lectures. If these elements are part of your course, instructors will make sure that no students in the class are disadvantaged if they are unable to participate synchronously.
Please contact your academic advisor if you have any questions about the coming term, including the option of taking a reduced course load.
Faculty of Mathematics (includes Computer Science)
- We will offer all undergraduate courses online for winter 2021 with the following exceptions:
- MATH 136 and MATH 138 will be available both on-campus and online
- AMATH 474 (cross-listed with PHYS 484 and held with AMATH 674) will only be available on campus
- CO 463 (held with CO 663) will be online but students will be able to attend an optional tutorial component on campus.
- All ELAS courses will be delivered online.
- To meet first-year progression requirements, both BMATH/BBA and BCS/BBA Double Degree as well as Math/CPA students are required to take a full load in their 1A. For students to progress through their CFM studies in a timely manner and so that they’re not at a disadvantage for the timing of their future AFM courses starting in second year, they should be taking a full course load in 1A. All other students can choose to take a reduced course load.
Students starting in winter 2021 should visit the New Math Students website for more information about preparing for the winter term.
Faculty of Science
- All first-year courses including lectures, labs and tutorials will be delivered only online for winter 2021, with the exception of OPTOM 158 and OPTOM 152L which will be in-person only (all participants will follow mandatory PPE and infection control measures).
- All 200- and 300-level undergraduate and professional lecture courses will be delivered only online for winter 2021, except PHYS 391 (in-person only). Some fourth-year lecture courses with 30 or fewer students per course or section will be offered only in-person, and others only online.
- Depending on space availability and logistics, some 200-, 300- and 400-level lab courses will be only in-person or a combination of in-person and online; other lab courses will be only online for winter 2021. This includes:
- Biology: all 200-, 300- and 400-level labs will be only online, except BIOL 240L, BIOL 335L and BIOL 477L which will be only in-person, and BIOL 442 which will be a combination of in-person and online.
- Chemistry: all 200- and 300-level labs will be a combination of in-person and online, except CHEM 237L, CHEM 262L, and CHEM 267L which will be only online.
- Earth: all 200-, 300- and 400-level labs will be only online, except EARTH 390 which will be only in-person, and EARTH 332, EARTH 438 and EARTH 471 which will be a combination of in-person and online.
- Physics and Astronomy: all 200-, 300- and 400-level labs will be offered only online, except PHYS 260L, PHYS 360A/B, PHYS 391L, and PHYS 460A/B which will be only in-person.
- Optometry: all 200- and 300-level labs will be only in-person (all participants will follow mandatory PPE and infection control measures), except OPTOM 219 which will be only online.
- Pharmacy: PHARM 110, PHARM 124, and PHARM 329 will be only in-person.
- Optometry 300- and 400-level clinic and clerkship courses will occur only in-person, following rigorous safety protocols. OPTOM 412 will be only online.
- Fourth Year Honours Thesis Project courses will be offered. In-person activity will be dependent on the research project and continuation of on campus research activities.
- PHARM 400-level clinical rotations will occur only in-person, following rigorous safety protocols. PHARM 401 will be offered both in-person and online.
- Explore online learning resources to help you navigate studying and learning in an online environment.
- Learn about the Student IT Services available to you, how to use them, tips for remote learning, and how to get IT help/support.
- Bookmark the library home page for quick access to search the Omni catalogue, or use a research guide to find information to assist in your studies.
- Reconnect with your librarian for assistance using the Library or use the Ask us chat service.
Co-operative and Experiential Education is engaging with co-op students to help them search for jobs and navigate their work terms in light of COVID-19.
If you have a work term scheduled for Spring 2020, Fall 2020 or Winter 2021, please visit the webpages below to learn about changes to your work term and how co-op processes and requirements have been altered to help students meet their degree requirements.
If you have questions related to co-op, please reach out to your co-op advisor by sending a message through WaterlooWorks. Your advisor is there to support you as you search for work, make career decisions and make the most of your work term.
Students in other work placements can reach out to their academic supervisor if they have any concerns.
International students can access free and confidential online appointments with our experienced and dedicated team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) who are licensed with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).
The University’s International Student Experience provides a variety of supports, available online, for international students including:
- Waterloo Student Quarantine Package
- COVID-19 Travel and Quarantine Checklist
- International Student Travel Plans and Quarantine Form
- International Peer Community facebook group
- Virtual events
- Monthly International Student Connection email newsletter.
All University travel is currently suspended. For most up-to-date travel-related University of Waterloo instruction, visit the Health and travel guidance page.
Letter of Permission Applications
For winter 2021: Following the University's travel guidance, if you are wishing to study at a post-secondary institution on Letter of Permission (LOP) for winter 2021, you will only be able to do so if the courses are being offered online or, for in-person classes, if you are already in the city where the institution is located (i.e., no travel is required) and the institution is operating. This will allow you to continue your studies if you have returned home.
Although the doors of AccessAbility Services and the Exam Centre are temporary closed, our staff our still available and committed to students. AAS will continue to support students with assistive technology, learning strategy support, and accommodation consulting to ensure you are supported in the online space.
You can find details on normal academic regulations and accommodations on the University’s academic calendar.
You are reminded that our rules for accommodations for justified absence from class and/or from assessments are in place to support student success and to mitigate the effects of extenuating circumstances on their academic progress. These accommodations remain in place for alternative course delivery.
Find out how to self-declare an illness.
Accommodation for illnesses
We have made the University of Waterloo Verification of Illness form for students a self-declaration, which means students do not need a doctor’s note for accommodation if they become ill. Students can find the Illness self-declaration form in the Personal Information section of Quest.
Other accommodations due to COVID-19
When in-person courses resume, if you are delayed from returning to class because of the coronavirus outbreak – please communicate with your instructors and advisors as soon as possible about your absence.
If you believe you have extenuating circumstances or have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 which has affected your academic record, you may wish to discuss with your academic advisor whether to submit a petition for exception to academic regulations in line with Policy 70.