How do I maintain my enrolment status?

  • You become a graduate student at the start of the term in which you have been admitted or readmitted.
  • Your “continuing” student status is retained until graduation, unless you voluntarily withdraw, are required to withdraw or fail to make the appropriate fee arrangement by the tuition and fee arrangement deadline for the applicable academic term. 
  • As a graduate student working toward a degree you must maintain continuous registration. 

How do I change my enrolment status?

  • You may need to change your enrolment status due to such circumstances as medical leave, work commitments etc. 
  • To request a change, complete a Change of enrolment status form (Graduate Studies forms website) and submit it to your academic department for approval signatures.
  • If you are an international student seeking to change your enrolment status to gain work experience during your degree program, you can learn what documentation you need and the university processes you must follow to legally work in Canada on the Student Success Office website.

  • You are accountable for ensuring that your status change is received by the tuition and fee arrangement deadline of the academic term that the request is intended for. 
  • Confirm your status change, revised tuition assessment and financial aid (where applicable) by viewing in Quest (Quest website).  
  • Deadlines: Fall – October 15; Winter – January 15; Spring – June 15

Enrolment status categories

Full-time to Part-time or Part-time to Full-time

  • Tuition fees will be posted in Quest (Quest website).

  • A full-time student may be allowed to change to part-time status (either temporarily or permanently) if circumstance relating to personal health issues, family responsibilities, or employment exist.

  • Typically, full-time students (Graduate Studies Academic Calendar) are not employed by the University of Waterloo for more than an average of 10 hours per week  Students must follow Faculty processes for requesting additional hours of employment by the University that are beyond an average of 10 hours per week (to a maximum of 20 hours a week).

  • Part-time students may not be eligible for external/internal scholarships and most other types of Waterloo financial support.

  • A part-time student may be allowed to change to full-time status (either temporarily or permanently).

Full-time off campus 

If you are undertaking an internship or other degree requirements where you are going to be away from the campus for more than four consecutive weeks during an academic term you:

  • Must obtain approval from your academic department/Faculty for this status each term.
  • Will be assessed full-time tuition fees with reduced incidental fees (Finance website).
  • Must attend mandatory pre-departure training before departure, if travelling internationally offered through Waterloo International (Waterloo International website).


If you are participating in a formal study agreement outside of Canada, you:

  • Must obtain approval from your academic department/Faculty, prior to submitting your exchange/study abroad application to Waterloo International.
  • You must complete and submit a Change of enrolment status form (Graduate Studies forms website) to change your status to full-time off campus while you are away on exchange.
  • Will be assessed full-time tuition fees with reduced incidental fees (Finance website).
  • Must participate in a mandatory pre-departure training before departure offered through Waterloo International (Waterloo International website).

Co-operative work terms 

If you are enrolled in a graduate cooperative program going out on a co-op work term:

  • You must obtain approval from your academic department/Faculty.
  • Applicable tuition fees will be posted in Quest (Quest website).
  • If you will be holding employment out of province/country, ensure that you have made arrangements to maintain your supplementary student health and dental plans.  For more information contact:
  • Your approved academic load in Quest (Quest website) will appear as part-time. 
  • You are permitted to enrol for a maximum of one half (0.50) credit course (additional fees will apply) while on your work term with the permission of your academic department/supervisor.  


You may apply to your academic department/Faculty for up to two consecutive terms of inactive status (with the exception of maternity/parental leaves, which allows a maximum of five consecutive terms of inactive study). 

Reasons for applying for a leave of absence include medical, maternity or parental leave, limited research or work opportunity (that is not related to your graduate program) or temporary financial difficulties where the university cannot provide hardship funds.

  • A leave period is not included in the time limit for completion of your degree program
  • Leaves of absence are not permitted in your first term of registration
  • A leave of absence may be declined if a grade(s) of incomplete (INC) exists on your academic record
  • Leaves coincide with the start and end of an academic term (e.g. winter - Jan to April; spring - May to August; fall - September to December)
  • Tuition fees are not assessed, however, some incidental fees may apply (please consult the Finance-Student Financial Services website)
  • If you are requesting more than two consecutive terms of inactive status other than for maternity/parental leave, it is recommended that you voluntarily withdraw from your program until it is possible for you to resume your graduate program by applying for readmission
  • If you wish to receive continued coverage in the supplementary student health and dental plans during your leave, email the Graduate Student Association (GSA) to make arrangements.  If you are an international student, you are required to maintain UHIP coverage for the duration of the leave period
  • Throughout your leave, you will not be eligible for graduate awards/funding, and repayment of certain scholarships may be required (repayment amounts are calculated based on the tuition refund policy).  This may also have an effect on other types of funding that you may be receiving.  For medical leave or maternity/parental leaves consult the Graduate Studies Awards and Funding web page
  • Maternity/parental (birth or adoption) leave can be approved for up to five consecutive terms. Refer to the Enrolment and time limits section of the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar for more information
  • If you are requesting to go inactive for medical reasons, you will be required to complete and submit the Graduate Student Medical Leave Verification form available on the AccessAbility Services website

Students who have been granted inactive status are not permitted to study or conduct research during their leave of absence and thus should not expect access to their supervisor.  Students with inactive status will have limited access to the services of the university.