The following definitions are applicable to prospective students and to students currently enrolled in graduate studies at the University of Waterloo.

Regular full-time graduate students

Students who have been accepted by the University to study on a full-time basis for a higher degree must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be engaged in studies requiring an Honours undergraduate degree or its equivalent as a prerequisite for admission.
  2. Be making substantial demands upon the resources of the University.
  3. Be pursuing his or her studies as a full-time occupation.
  4. Identify himself or herself as a full-time graduate student.
  5. Be designated by the University as a full-time graduate student*.
  6. Be geographically available and visit the campus regularly. Without forfeiting full-time status, a graduate student, while still under supervision, may be absent from the University (e.g., visiting libraries, doing field work, attending a graduate course at another institution, etc.) provided that, if any such period of absence exceeds four weeks in any one term, written evidence shall be available in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) to the effect that the absence (in the form of full-time off-campus registration status) has the approval of the Supervisor, Department Graduate Officer, and the Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.
  7. Be considered to be a full-time graduate student* by his or her supervisor.
  8. Not be employed by the University for more than an average of ten hours per week for any term during which they are enrolled as full-time graduate students. If a student is employed as a teaching assistant or demonstrator, the ten hours per week should represent the total time spent by the student in connection with the appointment - including preparation, marking examinations, etc.

*Full-time graduate students are expected to pursue their graduate degree on a full-time basis and make satisfactory progress toward timely completion of all program requirements. It is not possible, or desirable, for the University to monitor and enforce the employment activities of its graduate students outside the University. However, it is both possible and desirable for the University to ensure that it does not itself create a structural situation that jeopardizes the ability of the graduate student to make full-time progress towards the completion of graduate program requirements. Accordingly, Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (OCGS) is committed to the principle that full-time graduate students are employed no more than an average of 10 hours per week on campus.

Full-time off-campus

A student who is undertaking an internship, or other degree requirement where the activity requires the student to be away from campus for more than four weeks in an academic term shall enrol as full-time off-campus.

The student's supervisor/graduate officer/associate dean must advise her/him regarding intellectual property commitments, e.g., signing an agreement which may restrict a student's ability to publish their thesis or other program-related work.

Students requesting full-time off-campus status must complete a Change of enrolment status form.