Guiding principles for Accelerated Master’s Programs

The University of Waterloo endorses the concept and recognizes Accelerated Master’s Programs at the undergraduate level. Such programs are offered in response to a variety of needs, such as:  

  • students wishing to pursue careers in research and academia and to initiate the process at the undergraduate level;
  • recognition of exceptional undergraduate students and provision of an enhanced and accelerated course of study for them;
  • presentation of the option of graduate studies to deserving students who otherwise might not have considered it;
  • relatively seamless transition to graduate-level work; and
  • facilitation of timely and possibly early completion of the Master’s degree.

Part A:

The general principles that underlie all of the University of Waterloo’s Accelerated Master’s Programs are as follows:

  1. Accelerated Master’s Programs are open to undergraduate students who have demonstrated academic excellence and/or research potential. Admission criteria are to be determined by the department (or school, centre or institute) and Faculty offering the program (see Part B).
  2. Responsibility for Accelerated Master’s Programs resides with individual Faculties and departments.
  3. In recognition of discipline variances, flexibility is permitted in the construction of Accelerated Master’s Programs provided they adhere to the general principles stated here.
  4. Accelerated Master’s Programs will not impact or change the requirements for the regular bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
  5. For those students who will be engaged in an Accelerated Master’s Program, the bachelor’s degree will be awarded to them at the normal time (normally after 4B).
  6. Students are free to transfer from an Accelerated Master’s Program into the appropriate regular bachelor’s program. Note: A student who decides to complete only the bachelor portion will receive the bachelor’s degree. Similarly, students who are unsuccessful in master’s level-work, but remain otherwise qualified for the bachelor’s degree, will receive the latter degree.
  7. Requirements for an Accelerated Master’s Program must be carefully constructed so that they do not jeopardize students’ undergraduate academic progression.
  8. Continuation in an Accelerated Master’s Program is conditional on the students maintaining a satisfactory level of performance in their undergraduate courses.
  9. Admission to an Accelerated Master’s Program will normally take place at the 3A/3B level, with the approval of the department undergraduate and graduate officers.

Part B:

Principles to be considered by the department and Faculty when developing and implementing Accelerated Master’s Programs:

Accelerated Master’s Programs must have, as a minimum, the following:

  1. Admission processes that involve undergraduate and graduate officers.
  2. Explicit academic/research qualifications (e.g., academic grades, previous research experience in an industrial and/or academic environment, co-op experiences) deemed important for success in a course or thesis based master’s program.
  3. Admission processes that identify an advisor who will continue to serve as the graduate advisor, or provide assurance that students will have an advisor in the specific area of interest in a regular master’s thesis based program.
  4. Defined criteria regarding the selection of and maximum allowable courses, and a mechanism to document any other activities pertaining to an Accelerated Master’s Program.
  5. Identification of criteria that would constitute satisfactory performance in an Accelerated Master’s program.

The following Accelerated programs are currently available: