Applying to Waterloo
How and when can I apply?
Applications to Waterloo and all other Ontario universities are processed by the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC).
- Ontario high school students will receive instructions from their schools about using the 101 application.
- For all other students, the 105 application is available by early October each year.
Be sure to apply by the application deadline. Accounting and Financial Management, Engineering, and Mathematics have earlier timelines than other programs.
How do I apply for early admission?
Waterloo does not have an 'early admissions' process. Admission decisions are made from December to May depending on the program you have applied to. Since our admissions committees require at least mid-term grades for all required courses before decisions can be made, most of our admission decisions are made in May.
How many Waterloo programs can I apply to?
You can apply up to 3 programs at Waterloo and you will receive an admission decision (offer or refusal) for each program. The exception is for Engineering programs where you can apply to only one program on your OUAC application and specify an alternate Engineering program choice on your Admission Information Form.
Does it matter how I number my program choices on my OUAC application?
It does not matter where you rank Waterloo programs on your application. You will receive a decision for each program you apply to, regardless of whether you select it as your first, second, or third choice.
How do I apply to co-op?
You need to select the co-op option on your OUAC application to be considered for admission to a co-op program. Where a program is offered through co-op and the regular systems of study, if you apply to co-op and are not admitted, you are usually considered for the regular version of that program.
Can I repeat a course or take a course outside of my day school?
This could affect your application depending on the program or faculty you apply to. Review Waterloo’s policy on repeated and non-day school courses for details.
Once you've applied
How do I get my Waterloo student number?
After we receive your application from the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC), you’ll receive your Waterloo ID number usually within 5-10 business days in an email confirming your application (subject line: "Thank you for applying to Waterloo").
I applied a while ago. Why haven’t I received my Waterloo ID number/ acknowledgement email?
Once we receive your application from the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC), we will email your Waterloo ID number and next steps to you within 5-10 business days. The email subject line is "Thank you for applying to Waterloo."
If you don't see the email, be sure to check all of your email folders, including junk, spam, and promotions folders. Also make sure that you're checking the email address you used on your OUAC application.
If you still have not received the email, you can request it to be re-sent. Email email@example.com and include your OUAC reference number, first and last name, and date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY) and we will re-send your acknowledgement email.
What is Quest? How do I log in?
Quest is the University of Waterloo’s student information system. Learn about creating your Quest account so that you can complete your Admission Information Form, submit any necessary documents, and view your admission status.
What documents do I need to provide and when are they due?
The documents you may be required to provide vary depending on whether you're a high school student and which province/country you are studying in or have studied in. The Admission Information Form is required for many programs.
Deadlines to submit documentation depend on the program and whether you’re an Ontario high school student.
What if I have questions about the Admission Information Form (AIF)?
Do I need to submit a reference letter or essay?
Only the Optometry, Conditional Admission to Pharmacy (CAP), Pharmacy, and Social Work programs require letters of reference.
Waterloo's Admission Information Form (AIF) allows you to tell the admissions committees about your activities outside of the classroom or reasons why your grades aren't as high as you would have liked.
Do I need to send SAT and/or ACT scores and what are the minimum scores?
If you are a high school student from the United States applying to an Engineering program, you’re required to submit results of either the SAT or ACT test. All other applicants from the American system are encouraged to submit these results, as admission to our Engineering programs is extremely competitive. The SAT essay portion is optional for admission to Waterloo.
There are no minimum scores required for SAT and/or ACT tests; however, strong scores may strengthen your application to our competitive programs.
Programs other than Engineering
SAT and/or ACT scores are not required.
Can my parent or someone else inquire about my application on my behalf?
Due to privacy legislation we are only able to discuss details about your application directly with you. We cannot discuss applications with parents, other family members, teachers, or counsellors. Please email us if you require more information.
I won’t have final grades before the application or document deadlines. How will you make a decision on my application(s)?
The admissions committees can make a conditional offer of admission based on grades received for completed courses and in-progress/midterm/predicted grades. Your offer of admission would then list the conditions you need to meet, i.e., the final grades you’ll need to keep that offer of admission.
Do my documents need to be translated/notarized?
Some documents may need to be notarized. Learn more about sending your documents.
English language requirements
Do I have to provide an English language test score, e.g., TOEFL?
You are required to provide an English proficiency test score if:
- Your first language is not English and
- Your 4 most recent years of full-time education have not been in an English-language school system.
Learn more about Waterloo's English language requirements. The University of Waterloo reserves the right to request an English language test result from any applicant.
How do I send my English language test score to waterloo?
For TOEFL, Waterloo’s institution code is 0996 and our department code is 00.
For IELTS, Waterloo’s e-Transfer Institution for electronic results is University of Waterloo - Admissions. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we cannot individually review scores on the IELTS website. However, we download results on a regular basis for students who have requested that their results to be sent to us electronically.
How will I know Waterloo has received my English language test results?
When we receive official test results from an English language testing centre, we will record them in Quest, Waterloo's online student information system. Unofficial test results will not appear in Quest.
You can see your test scores in your Quest account by clicking on the Admissions tab and looking under the Test Summary section. Due to the volume of test scores we received, it can take up to 10 business days for your English language test scores to appear on Quest after the official documents have been received from the testing centre.
What if my English language test scores don't meet Waterloo's requirements?
Can I apply directly to Bridge to Academic Success in English (BASE) or English Language for Academic Studies (ELAS)?
You do not apply directly to Bridge to Academic Success in English or to English Language for Academic Studies. If you meet the academic qualifications for the program you’ve applied to, but your TOEFL, IELTS, or other English language test score does not quite meet Waterloo's requirements, you may receive a conditional offer of admission to BASE or ELAS.
Offers of admission
When will I receive an admission decision?
Admission decisions are made between December and May depending on the program and whether you’re an Ontario high school student or not. The majority of decisions at Waterloo are made in May, once we’ve received mid-term marks from Ontario high schools.
How do I view my offer of admission?
Log into Quest, click on the program name and click View Letter. Be sure to turn off pop-up blockers and use either Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari as your web browser.
When will I receive my offer of admission in the mail?
We do not send offers of admission by mail. If you are admitted to Waterloo, you’ll be able to see your offer of admission in your Quest account within 24-48 hours of the decision being made.
How do I view any conditions on my offer?
Your conditional offer of admission letter, available on your Quest account, lists any conditions you need to meet, usually a specified minimum final average and/or a minimum mark in required courses.
How do I accept my offer of admission?
You need to accept your offer through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC). Review the deadline date to accept your offer, important conditions and instructions on accepting your offer in your offer of admission letter.
If you plan to live in residence, you also need to pay your residence deposit by the deadline in order to reserve your spot. If you miss the deadline, we cannot guarantee a spot in residence.
Can I defer my offer?
If you wish to take time before university to work, travel, or return to high school, you can request to defer your offer of admission for up to a year. Many programs consider a deferral for the fall term only.
Normally, a deferral will be granted only if you have not undertaken full-time academic studies during the deferral period unless those studies are deemed to enrich your education and will not negatively affect your admissibility.
Can international (visa) students apply for co-op?
International students are eligible for all co-op programs except Biotechnology/Chartered Professional Accountancy.
Do I need a study permit?
If you're not a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident, you must have a Study Permit to attend university in Canada.