Frequently Asked Questions - And Answers!

Can I just take a single course from the Fire Safety program?

Yes, you can take any single course from the mandatory or elective courses in any term that it is offered.

How many courses do I need to obtain a Certificate in Fire Safety?

You need to take ANY four (4) courses, from the three (3) core courses (mandatory) and technical electives. See here for the courses and descriptions. 

What’s the difference between a Certificate in Fire Safety Science and a Graduate Diploma in Fire Safety?

The Certificate in Fire Safety Science is a four course certificate designed for fire industry professionals and students who want to upgrade their knowledge, or to meet industry requirements. The Graduate Diploma in Fire Safety is a specialization and is only for students enrolled in the course based master’s (MEng) program in the department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering.  We also offer MASc and PhD programs in Fire Safety.

How can I register for course? 

Complete the online course registration   

I am a busy professional, how flexible is the learning format?

Really flexible! The University of Waterloo Fire Safety program is designed especially for working professionals who need a flexible schedule.  Each course begins with an intensive one-week (35-40 hours) lecture-based session. There are no exams.  All the assignments, case studies, and research projects are assigned over the next term, which gives you ample time to complete them. All projects, assignments, case studies are submitted to your professor electronically, which means you do not need to come to campus.

I can’t attend in person for the week long lecture at the University of Waterloo campus, can I participate remotely?

Yes, we have many students who remotely participate in the Fire Safety program via our state-of-the-art interactive instruction facility called the Live-Link. This remote learning environment is enabled through the use of smart boards and multi-point interactive video conferencing.

The Live-Link technology provides an immersive, real-time experience where students seamlessly participate with the instructor and others in the class as if they were in the same location.  Read about the technical requirements to join the Live-Link system here.

I am signed up for a course, but I will have to miss a class because of meetings/work/travel. How can I make up for the missed class?

If you miss a class, you will have the opportunity to watch a recorded session of the class and email questions to the instructor.

Since I am doing my course work after the lectures, is there help available or can I review the lectures?

Yes. Once you take the course, you are given full access to all of the recorded lectures so that you can watch a recorded session of the class at any time and email questions to the instructor. You are also encouraged to network with the other students who you meet during the lecture week.

Can I audit the courses?

No, we do not allow for auditing. Students who pay the full fee for course(s) but do not want to do the course work/projects after the one week lecture session can obtain a certificate of attendance (as long as they meet the attendance requirements).

How many assignments can I expect after the lecture week?

Each instructor assigns their own course work so it can vary from three to five assignments, plus projects and case studies, depending on the course.

My employer is paying for this course, how am I invoiced?

Invoices are either e-mailed or sent through the mail, as a hard copy, to clients. Methods of payment include: VISA (online option) and cheques. All invoicing requests can be sent to firesafetyprogram@uwaterloo.ca by e-mail. 

The online registration form will ask for the complete information.

Information required:

  • Full name

  • e-mail address

  • mailing address

  • contact phone number

  • which course you will be attending

** If your company is paying for your course fees please provide the company contact information. E-mail addresses provided should be for an accounts payable or finance department contact and not a personal e-mail address. This e-mail will be the University contact for all invoices to your company related to the course.

What types of topics are involved in projects and case studies?

Students are encouraged to tailor their course work towards their own interests and the long term fire safety needs in their industry. Some recent topics have focussed on fire safety in timber buildings under construction, fire safety assessment in ships, manufacturing and petrochemical industries, fire risk assessment in the nuclear industry, fire fighter training, forensic analysis, and fire simulations for evaluation of alternative fire safety designs.

It says I can begin the Certificate in Fire Safety Science in either January, May or September, but is there a course I should take first in order to better understand the other three courses?

For those wishing to take the complete Certificate in Fire Safety Science, but without basic fire dynamics knowledge, we encourage you to take this course first: ME 671 - Fire Dynamics.  ME 671 introduces the fundamentals of fire behaviour and practical issues in fire safety, fire control and hazard assessment.  Theory and practical examples relating to fuels and flammability, flame spread, ignition, heat transfer and fluid dynamics in fires and fire plumes are examined.  (A very similar course is also taught in 4th year Mechanical Engineering.)

What are the fees for the courses?

Fees for single and multiple courses are listed here

I am enrolled in the MEng program at University of Waterloo and I want to take the Graduate Diploma in Fire Safety, but the course I want to take begins before Quest (the online student information portal) allows me to sign up. What do I do?

Because we have a rolling admission for these courses, but we are on term system, this will happen. Please contact us to let us know you want to attend the course BEFORE the start date of the lectures. We work with you to ensure you follow the proper enrolment process.The important part is you get to start your Fire Safety course!

I am enrolled as an MEng student in another University of Waterloo Engineering department– can I get a Graduate Diploma in Fire Safety?

No, the Graduate Diploma in Fire Safety is for Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering MEng students only. Instead, you can take four courses and obtain a Fire Safety Science Certificate.

I want to enrol in the graduate studies program at the University of Waterloo, and take the Graduate Diploma in Fire Safety. How do I apply?

The Graduate Studies Application for Admission is now available on-line. The University of Waterloo Graduate Office no longer supplies paper-based application packages. Please follow the instructions on the website.

The following documents are required from an applicant:

  • An honours Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in an acceptable discipline, from a university of recognized standing, with at least a B (75%) standing,

  • Two letters of reference, from professors (they must be academic),

  • Proof of competency in English (if applicable). A score of at least 550 is required in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), along with a minimum score of 4.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE). (See Graduate Admissions Application ProceduresAdmissions from other CountriesEnglish Language Requirements).

What is the quality of the instructors in the Fire Safety program?

The Fire Safety program at the University of Waterloo is one of the top fire safety programs in the world. Our courses are taught by leading international fire safety experts who are professors or adjunct professors at the University of Waterloo, Faculty of Engineering. The instructors undertake significant fire safety research at leading institutions around the world in order to advance technical knowledge of fire and fire safety. They help to set global fire safety standards and work closely with industry to train highly qualified personnel, advance research and development and bring innovation to the fire safety industry. The Faculty of Engineering is Canada’s largest engineering school and is globally ranked for its excellence.