Graduate Diploma programs

Type 2

A type 2 Graduate Diploma (GDip) is intended to demonstrate mastery of a topic area that is usually complementary to, but not embedded within, a graduate student’s primary area of study. The goal of the GDip is to encourage breadth at the graduate level, often through interdisciplinary studies. A student who completes a degree program and a GDip should have achieved different learning outcomes than a student who has completed only the normal degree requirements.

GDips at the University of Waterloo are achieved by successfully completing the academic requirements of the student’s program and additional academic requirements – a combination of courses and/or academic milestones  – specific to the GDip that total to the equivalent of 1.0 (academic) units.  

Normally, obtaining a GDip will require at least:

  • two 0.5 unit courses in addition to the program’s normal requirements; or
  • one additional 0.5 unit course and one or more milestones the academic requirements of which are equivalent to a 0.5 unit course; or
  • a set of milestones the academic equivalent of which are two 0.5 unit courses.   

The Department offering the GDip may also require specific courses that replace electives in the student’s core program.


  • require Quality Council approval;
  • should normally contain course or milestone options that promote interdisciplinarity; and
  • are recognized on the student’s transcript and on the diploma.

Type 3

A type 3 Graduate Diploma (GDip) is awarded by the University upon completion of an approved GDip program with a minimum of four graduate-level courses.

For direct entry GDip programs, the minimum admission requirements are the same as for a master's program, a four-year honours bachelor's degree or equivalent, with an overall 75% average in the last two years. A regular graduate studies application for admission is required.

A collaborative or interdisciplinary GDip program may be proposed by one or more departments for collaborative or interdisciplinary type diploma program which is offered in conjunction with a master's or doctoral program. Entry is approved by the Graduate Officer or Director of the Graduate Diploma program and the student’s home Department Graduate Officer and Faculty Associate Dean.

All GDips programs require Department, Faculty, Senate Graduate and Research Council (SGRC) and Senate approval, followed by review and approval from the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance (Quality Council). The approval process is described in the University's Institutional Quality Assurance Process. A GDip program and qualification is recorded on the official student academic record, and conferred at convocation. Diploma types are defined by the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance.

Graduate Certificate of Participation/Completion

A Graduate Certificate of Participation or Completion is prepared and awarded by the Department/Faculty to acknowledge participation or completion of one or more courses, seminars or workshops. Awarding of a Graduate Certificate of Participation or Completion is not recorded on the official University record and academic transcript.

Proposals for Graduate Certificates of Participation/Completion require Department and Faculty approval and are normally completed in conjunction with a master’s or doctoral program, or non-degree graduate enrolment. All Certificates of Participation/Completion approved by a Department and Faculty must be reported to SGRC for information.