Exchange to Waterloo

Welcome to Waterloo!

photo of engineering exchange students september 2017

Step 1: How to apply

Once you have been approved by your home institution to participate, go to the application procedures for full details and instructions.

You will be admitted as a "non-degree engineering undergraduate exchange student". 

However, if you have completed a minimum of 4 years (8 semesters) of studies at your home university, you will then be admitted as a "non-degree engineering graduate exchange student".

Your application will be received by the Global Learning Team in the Student Success Office and forwarded to the Faculty Exchange Office for final processing/approval.

Step 2: Choosing your courses

Language of instruction at Waterloo: English

Be sure to follow the information/instructions available at the Student Success Office site.  The following information is specifically for engineering exchange students.

We do our best to accommodate exchange students, but enrolment is not guaranteed.

But most importantly, exchange students are not permitted to self-enrol in courses in Quest so please make sure to contact the advisor in the Faculty Exchange Office for assistance.

Course Load

You must take a minimum of 1.5 credits each term (at least 3 courses) in order to maintain your "full-time" status.

Normally, exchange students take more than the minimum (often 4 or 5 courses) but are generally not permitted to enroll in 6 or more courses per term.

Because exchange students often take courses from different departments, faculties, and levels, timetable clashes inevitably occur.

When explorinig course options, be sure to refer to the Undergraduate Calendar for brief courses descriptions and terms of offering. As at many other institutions, not every course is offered in every term. If a course you need/want isn't offered in the term(s) you'll be at Waterloo, you may check UW Flow for potential alternate courses (within engineering or without) which may be available in the appropriate term.

It is your responsibility to check for timetable clashes so be sure to check the Schedule of Classes for lectures times as well as for labs and tutorials.  Be sure to contact the Faculty Exchange Office for advice.

It is also your responsibility to ensure that pre-requisite requirements for each course are met. Refer to the Waterloo Undergraduate Calendar for brief course descriptions (where pre-requisites are indicated), and also make arrangements to meet with the instructors when you arrive on campus and introduce yourself.

Course changes (known as 'dropping' and 'adding') are also permitted during the early weeks of every term:  first 2 weeks for 'adding', first 3 weeks for 'dropping'.

When your exchange application is received at Waterloo, your choice of courses will be reviewed and, if appropriate, approved and returned to the UW Global Learning Team for the final stages of processing.

However, if you request courses from another faculty, permission will be sought on your behalf with the necessary departments/schools.

Course Restrictions

Exchange students are NOT permitted to take any of the courses listed here (no exceptions) nor are exchange students permitted to take courses offered at Wilfrid Laurier University, even though they may appear on the Waterloo Schedule of Classes.

Academic Integrity at Waterloo

Every student at uWaterloo, graduate or undergraduate, domestic or international, are reminded of the need for academic integrity and ethical behaviour so make sure to review our policies before starting your semester. 

Step 3: International Student Guide

Take a look at our International Student Guide for more information about Waterloo! Be sure to join the facebook group for students who are currently on exchange in engineering at Waterloo!

Step 4: On campus contacts

In addition to the information available at Student Success Office, be sure to visit the Faculty Exchange Office to introduce yourself and let us know you arrived safely. Also, the advisor in the Faculty Exchange Office is the primary contact for all issues with courses and enrolment.

Once you arrive on campus and find your residence, be sure to visit these offices as soon as possible:

  • International Studies Office (about health insurance)
  • Faculty Exchange Office (about courses and general academic questions)
  • Exchange Program Coordinator (to introduce yourself)
  • Student Accounts Office (to pay health insurance)
  • Student Life Center (For Watcard, turnkey desk, and other valuable services)

Other resources you may need to visit during your exchange:

  • Registrar's Office
  • International Programs Office

And remember, in case of emergency, you may contact or visit:

Learning Agreements/Study Confirmation Forms

If you need to have your exchange term at uWaterloo confirmed for your home university or for scholarship purposes (Learning Agreement or Study Confirmation form), please contact the Global Learning Team for help.

Step 5: What to do when your exchange is ending

Along with the things you need to do as outlined at the Student Success Office, be sure to:

  • advise the Faculty Exchange Office when you will be leaving campus
  • change your mailing address on Quest
  • Advise your EPC and the FEO when you will be leaving campus.
  • Pay any outstanding money owing to UW (eg. phone bills, library fines, lab fees). Otherwise, your transcripts will not be released

Visit the frequently asked questions page for more information.