Options after failing 1A

This information is applicable to students who have failed 1A and have one of the following academic decisions after their first attempt at 1A:

  • Failed Repeat Term (Term average between 50% and 60% or term average greater than 60% with three or more failed courses.)
  • Failed Required to Withdraw (Term average less than 50%.)

Students with an academic decision of Failed Repeat Term, are eligible to repeat 1A during the following fall term. Refer to the promotion rules for repeating a term in the Undergraduate Academic Calendar. You must notify an academic advisor in the First Year Engineering Office of your intention to repeat 1A by email no later than August 1.

Students with an academic decision of Failed Required to Withdraw, who want to return to Engineering at the University of Waterloo will have to petition for a second attempt, or wait and apply for readmission after 4 terms off of academic studies to return for a future fall term.

Stream-4 students

Students who have secured a co-op job are required to complete the winter work term, unless their placement requires a promotion from the 1A term (applicable to some on-campus work programs). Students without a co-op job are encouraged to work with their co-op advisor to find employment in the winter term and to look outside of WaterlooWorks for employment opportunities.

Students who are on a co-op work term are required to complete (Professional Development) PD 19 during the winter term. Failure to earn the PD 19 credit will appear as a failed course on your transcript.

Students are not permitted to enrol in a non-degree term until after their work term is completed. In February, students can request a non-degree strengthening term for the spring term, by contacting an academic advisor.

Stream-8 students

Students are encouraged to find their own employment in the winter term. This employment will not be a co-op credited work term but will be a good experience. In February, students can request a non-degree strengthening term for the spring term, by contacting an academic advisor. Students are not permitted to enrol in a non-degree term for the winter term since the deadline was in early December.

The next eight months

In our experience, the break from UWaterloo is very beneficial because it gives students time to rest, reflect, grow, plan and act so that they can be successful on their repeat term. Students are encouraged to attend career counselling workshops offered by the Centre for Career Action to determine if they are on the right career path.

Some activities that students undertake during the eight months prior to repeating 1A may include:

  • full or part-time employment
  • volunteering
  • research on learning styles and university study skills
  • taking UWaterloo pre-university courses to refresh their high school background
  • self-review of high school and 1A courses
  • developing independent living skills (cooking, cleaning, healthy grocery shopping, etc.)
  • pursuing a drivers licence
  • reading technical literature in their field of interest
  • developing a healthy exercise program
  • enhancing English and/or second language skills

Voluntary strengthening in the spring term

Students who wish to take courses during the spring term, prior to repeating 1A, may request an engineering non-degree term to strengthen their academic background and to make changes in their study habits. A strengthening term prior to repeating 1A must have the following:

  1. Maximum of three 0.5 weight courses
  2. Students must select two or three courses from the following list of strengthening courses, depending on their engineering discipline:

Taking the above courses will not excuse students from retaking CHE 102, ECE 105, ECE 150, MATH 115, MATH 116, MATH 117 or PHYS 115 during a repeat term.

  • Students can take one additional non-engineering course of interest, for a total of three courses. This course may or may not be a complementary studies course.
  • Students may attend workshops offered by counselling services, meet with a personal engineering counsellor, or attend study skills workshops offered by the Student Success Office.
  • Students must score 50% or greater in each course. A course mark below 50% will disqualify a student from QPR, if applicable. This mark requirement highlights the seriousness of the strengthening term, and the necessity of seeking academic support during the term.
  • Students are permitted to voluntarily withdraw from the strengthening term without penalty prior to the end of the drop penalty 1 period. See the Important Dates for more information.

General information and options

Mark verification

Students who feel there has been a gross error in a course mark should contact their instructor in early January to request their mark break-down and an informal review of their exam. Engineering is a professional program and this is not an opportunity to plead for more marks, but rather a process to correct marking and administrative errors. More information on mark verification can be found on the First Year Engineering web site.


Students who experienced significant extenuating circumstances during the term, should investigate a "Petition for Exception to Academic Regulations" and also contact an academic advisor in the First Year Engineering Office. Successful petitions require verifiable and significant circumstances that are deemed to be largely responsible for the failed term. Petitions are prepared, submitted and reviewed over a two month period after the fall term is completed.

Leaving UWaterloo Engineering

Students wanting to leave Engineering but continue to pursue studies at the University of Waterloo can explore their transfer options by contacting the academic advisor in the program of interest. Typically, students will need to take courses during a non-degree term to facilitate a transfer to another UWaterloo faculty.

After seeking approval for course selection from the program of interest, students can request an engineering non-degree term in February for the spring term by contacting an academic advisor in the First Year Engineering Office. A non-degree term to transfer faculties is not available in the winter term since the deadline for requests was in early December.