Only students who are graduates of approved universities and colleges* are eligible for admission to Graduate Studies. Application for admission should be made as early as possible using our online application for admission. Please check with your chosen department/school for application deadlines and additional application requirements. A non-refundable application fee of $125.00 must be paid with each application.

The department/school of the University of Waterloo in which the applicant intends to pursue graduate study must approve the application and the applicant's proposed program. In addition, applicants must be recommended for admission by the Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) of the appropriate Faculty. At the discretion of the committee, an applicant may be required to write a set of qualifying examinations.

Official admission to any program of graduate studies is in the form of an "Offer of Admission" issued only by Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA).

For further information, prospective graduate students should contact the department/school to which they seek admission.

* Information on approved universities and colleges is available in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA).

Master's admission

A 75% overall standing in the last two years, or equivalent, in a four-year Honours Bachelor's degree or equivalent is the minimum requirement for admission to a Master's program. Departments and Faculties may set higher admission requirements.

A minimum of two letters of reference are required for admission to a Master's program. Academic references are required unless a professional reference is specified (see program admission requirements). Departments or Faculties may set higher requirements.

Doctoral admission

A 75% overall standing, or equivalent, in the previous degree is the minimum requirement for admission to a PhD program. In addition, candidates must demonstrate other superior qualifications, such as advanced research ability. It should be noted that many departments have standards higher than the minimum. Some departments admit exceptional applicants directly into the PhD from an Honours undergraduate program; most admit from the Master's into the PhD; and in certain instances a candidate who has successfully completed one PhD may be admitted into a second PhD in a complementary area.

A minimum of three letters of reference are required for admission to a PhD program. Academic references are required unless a professional reference is specified (see program admission requirements).

Non-degree admission

Applicants who have already earned a degree and who wish to enrol in a graduate level course to upgrade or add to their skills might consider applying to become non-degree students.

Admission of students from outside Canada

If international applicants intend to undertake full-time studies on entry to Canada, they must apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, in their home country, for a Study Permit. Admitted students should not leave for Canada until they have in their possession a Letter of Acceptance issued by Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) and a Study Permit (IMM 1442) valid for study at the University of Waterloo, issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Without these two documents, applicants cannot enrol at the University. Applicants should consult the appropriate Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office abroad for instructions to apply for a Study Permit.

An official academic transcript from each post-secondary institution must be submitted if an applicant is offered admission. Transcripts must show all courses, marks and the awarding of degrees. A transcript is considered official only if it is received in a signed and sealed university envelope (signed on the flap by the official in the university office issuing the transcript). A certified English translation must also be included if the official transcripts are written in a language other than English. All transcripts will be verified by the University of Waterloo for authenticity.


The University reserves the right to refuse admission to any candidate and to refuse re-admission if, in the opinion of the Faculty Graduate Committee, the student's previous progress has not been satisfactory. Students who reapply to a program and are approved for readmission will be required to register for a minimum of one full term, without tuition refund, to complete their program.