International Baccalaureate (IB) transfer credits

Effective for students starting at Waterloo in September 2019


The University of Waterloo recognizes International Baccalaureate (IB) courses as excellent academic preparation for success at the university level and will consider awarding transfer credits for individual Higher Level IB courses in which normally a minimum final grade of 5 is attained.

Official final IB results must be sent from the International Baccalaureate Office (IBO) directly to the Admissions Office at Waterloo before transfer credit can be considered. Our university code is 000108. Final IB results must be received by August 3.

Transfer credit will be considered for the completion of the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and the Extended Essay with a minimum grade of B (Good) in both. Waterloo equivalent transfer credit is PHIL 1XX (1.0 units, equivalent to 2 courses at Waterloo).

You have the option to decline your transfer credits. Further details will be emailed to you in August, once your transfer credits have been assessed.

Maximum number of transfer credits and additional notes

Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

  • The Recreation and Leisure Studies degree program will consider up to a maximum of 4.0 units (equivalent to eight term courses).
  • The Health Studies, Kinesiology, and Public Health programs will consider up to a maximum of 3.0 units (equivalent to six term courses).

Faculty of Arts

  • If the full IB Diploma has been completed, transfer credits will be considered up to a maximum of 4.0 (equivalent to eight term courses), except the Global Business and Digital Arts and Accounting and Financial Management programs. 
    • Global Business and Digital Arts will consider up to a maximum of 2.5 units (equivalent to five term courses).
    • Accounting and Financial Management will consider up to a maximum of 2.0 units (equivalent to four term courses).
  • For individual IB certificate courses, up to a maximum of 2.0 units (equivalent to four term courses) will be considered.

Faculty of Engineering, including Software Engineering and Architecture

  • Architecture
    • Transfer credit will be considered for an elective credit up to a maximum of 0.5 units (equivalent to one term course).
  • All other Engineering programs, including Software Engineering
    • We consider IB courses to be a good challenge and good preparation for our programs. You may find that you have covered some of the material in our first term courses but, in most cases, not enough for you to be exempted from the entire course without potentially running into academic difficulties later. The depth and level of problem-solving is very different in our Engineering programs than in IB courses. As a result, we don't grant first-year course exemptions for IB courses.

Faculty of Environment

  • Planning
    • Transfer credits will be considered up to a maximum of 1.0 units (equivalent to two term courses) for the full IB Diploma or certificate courses.
  • For all programs except Planning
    • Transfer credits will be considered up to a maximum of 4.0 (equivalent to eight term courses) if the full IB Diploma has been completed. For individual IB certificate courses, up to a maximum of 2.0 units (equivalent to four term courses) will be considered.

    Faculty of Mathematics, including Computing and Financial Management

    Faculty of Science

    • Transfer credit for 0.5 units (equivalent to one term course) will be allowed for IB Higher Level Mathematics with a minimum grade of 6.
    • Transfer credits will be considered up to a maximum of 3.0 units (equivalent to six term courses).

    Course equivalencies

    "1XX" means that you'll receive first-year credit for an elective in that subject. For example, AFM 1XX means that you'll receive a general first-year credit in Accounting and Financial Management.

    Most courses at Waterloo are 0.5 units.

    Higher Level course Waterloo course equivalent (1.0 units unless otherwise specified)
    Arabic LANG 1XX
    Biology BIOL 239 & BIOL 130 Lab (0.75 units)
    Business & Management BUS 1XX
    Chemistry CHEM 120 & 120 Lab
    CHEM 123 & CHEM 123 Lab (1.5 units)
    Cantonese LANG 1XX
    Chinese CHINA 1XX
    Classical Greek GRK 1XX
    Classical Latin LAT 1XX
    Computer Science

    Students in the Faculty of Mathematics, including Computing and Financial Management: No transfer credit

    All other students: CS 1XX

    Design Technology SCI 1XX
    Dutch DUTCH 1XX
    Economics ECON 1XX
    English A ENGL 1XX
    Environmental Systems ENVS 1XX or SCI 1XX
    Film FINE 2XX
    French FR 1XX
    Geography GEOG 101 & GEOG 102
    German GER 1XX
    Global Politics PSCI 150
    Hebrew LANG 1XX
    Hindi LANG 1XX
    History HIST 1XX
    Information Technology in a Global Society

    Students in the Faculty of Mathematics, including Computing and Financial Management: No transfer credit

    All other students: CS 1XX

    Islamic History RS 1XX
    Italian ITAL 1XX
    Japanese JAPAN 1XX
    Korean KOREA 1XX
    Mandarin CHINA 1XX
    Mathematics or Further Mathematics MATH 1XX (0.5 units) A minimum grade of 6 must be attained for Math and Science programs.
    Music MUSIC 1XX
    Philosophy PHIL 1XX
    Physics PHYS 111 & 111L (0.75 units)
    Psychology PSYCH 1XX
    Social & Cultural Anthropology ANTH 1XX
    Spanish SPAN 1XX
    Sports, Exercise and Health Science KIN 1XX (0.5 units)
    Theatre THPERF 1XX
    Visual Art FINE 1XX

    Notes: 

    1. For the Business Administration (Laurier) and Computer Science (Waterloo) Double Degree, and Business Administration (Laurier) and Mathematics (Waterloo) Double Degree programs, please refer to the program-specific chart.
    2. If you have taken a Higher Level IB language course that is not listed, please submit the grade from IBO as it may qualify for a first-year language transfer credit, e.g., LANG 1XX.