Enrolment Procedure

For a student who is already an Electrical or Computer Engineering student, the process of enrolment into the next Academic Term involves a number of steps:

  1. All ECE Undergraduate students who are on sequence for taking an Academic Term are automatically enrolled into their Core Courses by the Undergraduate Advisor/Co-ordinator.
  2. If a student is scheduled to take an elective, the student can select a course during the Course Selection Period for returning Waterloo students.  This indicates the student's preference to the Registrar's Office, which will then run a scheduling algorithm that attempts to optimise the course schedules so that the majority of students get enrolled in the courses they have selected.
  3. If a student misses the Course Selection Period or is for some reason not enrolled in the chosen electives (due to scheduling conflicts or other issues such as having outstanding fees, etc.), the student can add electives when the Drop/add Period for returning Waterloo students begins.

You can view the exact dates for these periods at the Registrar's Office page of Important Dates.

Each Academic Term, you are required to take a minimum number of courses, a Term Requirement. This is usually five courses but occasionally six courses, depending on which Academic Term you are in.

In the Academic Terms of 1A, 1B and 2A, the number of Core Courses equals the number of required courses; consequently, there is nothing you need to do during the Course Selection Period unless you want to take an extra course.

In subsequent Academic Terms, students will be required to select one or more elective courses. The total number of electives equals the number of required CSEs, TEs, and NSEs. If you take the required number of each of the types of electives, you will meet the requirements to graduate. In these Academic Terms, you may first select your elective during the pre-enrolment period, which occurs Calendar Terms prior to the Academic Term in question.

Adding Courses to Your Schedule

You may add a course on Quest to your schedule up until the last day of the  Enrolment Period. This is usually during the first week of the Term for Distance-Education courses and late in the second week for On-Campus courses. See Important Dates for the exact dates.

Under certain circumstances, you may be required to submit a Course Override Form. If there is a problem with the Course Override Form, the Undergraduate Advisor/Co-ordinator, will contact you. Otherwise, once the form is processed, the course will be automatically added to your Schedule. You do not have to do anything else other than to check Quest, after an appropriate processing time, and make sure the course correctly appears on your schedule.

Note: Quest will sometimes allow you to add extra courses above the Term Requirement, however, if you do not meet the required averages (see below), you will receive an e-mail from the department and these extra courses will be dropped by the Department on the last day of the Drop (No Penalty) Period.

Taking a Course During a Co-op Work Term

If you want to take a course during a Co-op Work Term, you must submit a Course Override Form adding the course — you cannot add the course on Quest. You may submit the Course Override Form to the Undergraduate Advisor/Co-ordinator at any point after Open Enrolment begins up to the last Add Date. You may hand the form in prior to the start of Open Enrolment, however, the form will not be processed until the start of the Open Enrolment period. (Note that the last day to add a distance-education course is earlier than the last day to add a regular course.)

Deferred Academic Decision

In most cases, if a non-numeric grade such as DNW or INC appears on your transcript, your Academic Decision for the Term will be designated as deferred. Consequently, you will not be automatically enrolled into the next Academic Term. You will not be allowed to enrol until you have cleared all courses marked as DNW or INC, either by writing the appropriate examination or by completing the unfinished course work. Under special circumstances, if the Academic Decision is still deferred after the Final Examination period of the previous Term, a student may be enrolled into the next Academic Term at the discretion of the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies. We must be convinced that you will pass the Academic Term for which the decision has been deferred, otherwise, you may be put in the awkward position of having to repeat an Academic Term even though you have cleared a subsequent Academic Term.

Unable to Enrol

If you find you are unable to enrol on Quest during the Course Selection Period, there may be one of two problems:

  • You are not scheduled for an Academic Term, or
  • You have a Service Indicator on your Quest Account.

If the first example occurs, the ECE Department does not have you recorded as being in an Academic Term in the upcoming Term. (Perhaps you submitted a Sequence Change Form at some point in the past.) Contact the Undergraduate Advisor/Co-ordinator for assistance in this matter.

Alternatively, you may have a Service Indicator on your account on Quest (your Quest account will be flagged with a Service Indicator icon). You should click on the icon to determine the reason for the service indicator. It may be an outstanding fine or it may be that you require Academic Counselling. In the latter case, talk to your Academic Advisor. In some cases, due to a bug in Quest, you may have a Service Indicator on a fine for $0.00. Please talk to the Undergraduate Advisor/Co-ordinator for assistance in removing such a Service Indicator.

If you have a Service Indicator and you wait until your Enrolment Appointment to contact the Department to solve the problem, you will probably have to wait until the Open Enrolment Period begins to add any elective courses. It is up to you to check your status on Quest before your Enrolment Appointment begins, especially if you believe a problem exists. Failure on your part to check your status and correct any problems does not translate into an emergency for the Undergraduate Office (except, of course, if it is either an administrative error of the Undergraduate Office or some other University Department, e.g., the aforementioned bug). We will try to accommodate you, however, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to solve your problem in two or three days.

Other Conflicts

The Department will not approve lecture-lecture conflicts during an Academic Term. Under special circumstances, if there is, for example, a half-hour conflict once a week between two courses, we may consider allowing such a conflict on a case-by-case basis, though the student should have an Overall Engineering Average of no less than 75.

A tutorial or laboratory conflict requires the approval of the course instructor through the use of a Course Override Form. It is your responsibility to deal with any material missed because of a conflict. Please note that you can schedule your labs in the first week of the Academic Term around your electives, and therefore you should only end up with a Lecture-Laboratory conflict if you are adding an Elective after the first week of the Academic Term.

Taking Extra Courses

The number of required electives equals the number of Complementary Studies Electives (CSEs), Technical Electives (TEs), and Natural Science Electives (NSEs). Thus, under normal circumstances (not failing any courses or milestones) you are able to satisfy the requirements for your Degree without taking any extra courses.

If you want to take an extra course, either:

  • To clear a failure,
  • To take a required course for an option or minor,
  • To take a Graduate-Level course to count towards either a combined B.A.Sc.-M.A.Sc. program or a future degree, or
  • For interest,

one option is to take the course on top of your required courses during one of your Academic Terms. (The other option is to take the course either on-campus or through distance education either at the University of Waterloo or at another accredited university, such as Athabasca University while you are on a Co-op Work Term.)

Required Overall Average

To ensure your academic success, the Department requires that you have a certain average before you take extra courses in an Academic Term:

  • If you want to take one extra course, you must have a minimum Engineering Average of 75 in both your Overall Average and your last Academic Term Average.
  • If you want to take two extra courses, you must have a minimum Engineering Average of 80 in both your Overall Average and your last Academic Term Average.

While we understand that there is no additional charge for taking an extra course during an Academic Term, we require these averages for your sake: history has shown that students not achieving these averages have had their performance suffer greatly during those overloaded Academic Terms, sometimes resulting in unfavourable Academic Decisions, e.g., FLR or FL3. There may be financial benefits to taking courses during your Co-op Work Term at another university such as Distance Education through Athabasca University.

Designation of Extra Courses

If you satisfy the required Engineering Averages to take extra courses, the next step is to designate them appropriately.

Any extra elective will be classified as to whether the course is:

  • Required for your Degree or not, and
  • Counted towards your Term Average or not.

The default designation for a course is that it is a Degree Requirement and it is counted in the Term Average. The three other designations for courses are:

Degree Requirement and Not-in-Average
Term Requirement and In-Average
Non-degree Requirement and Not-in-Average

Each Academic Term, the number of courses counted towards the Term Average must equal the number of required courses for that Academic Term (five or six, as appropriate). Each Core Course has the default designation assigned to it. If you are taking an extra course, the following rules apply:

No electives in the Academic Term (1A, 1B, 2A, and 3BE)
All extra courses must be marked as either DRNA or NRNA.
One Required Elective in the the Academic Term
One non-Core Course must either have the default designation or the TRIA designation, all other extra courses must have either the DRNA or NRNA designations.
Multiple Required Electives (4A or 4B)
The required number of courses (five or six, respectively) must have either the default designation or TRIA while all other courses must be designated as DRNA or NRNA.

Remember, you cannot use a course towards a future degree (e.g., an M.A.Sc. or M.Eng.) unless it is designated as either NRNA or TRIA.

Which Courses Should be Counted In Your Average?

All Core Courses must be counted in your Term Average. If you are taking are taking courses which you intend to count towards your degree (either as an elective (CSE, TE, NSE) or as a course towards an Option or a Minor, those courses should be favoured in counting towards the Term Average over courses which are not required for your degree (extra courses taken for fun). After that, you are free to choose whatever courses should count towards your Term Average.

For example, if a 2A student was taking Quantum Mechanics 2 (required for the student's Physics Option) and an Complementary Studies Elective (CSE), logic would dictate that if the student expects to get a higher grade in the CSE that he or she would select Quantum Mechanics 2 to be designated DRNA while the CSE has the default designation.

Similarly, if a student had a choice between Quantum Mechanics 2 (again, towards a Physics Option) and a second language course (taken for fun — students are only allowed one techniques course to count as a CSE), assuming that the student would expect to get a higher grade in the language course, the student could designate the language course as a TRIA and the Quantum Mechanics 2 course as DRNA.