The well-being of our graduate community is key. There are resources to support you in making choices that enhance your wellness as you engage with your graduate studies at Waterloo. Below, we list a number of units and services on campus, provided under the themes of mental and emotional wellness, social wellness, and physical wellness. 

As well, please note that your academic community is eager to support you during your graduate training at the University of Waterloo. Information about the specific roles and responsibilities of all partners in graduate education can be found within the Guide for Graduate Research and Supervision.

If you find yourself in a challenging situation, we encourage you to connect with those individuals who can support you.  These suggested pathways are intended to connect you with the support and resources you need.    

For graduate students in research-based programs:  supervisor -> Departmental or Program Graduate Officer/Chair -> Associate Dean, Graduate Studies -> Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA);

For graduate students in course-based programs: Program Director -> Graduate Officer/Chair -> Associate Dean, Graduate Studies -> GSPA.

While those nearest to your academics – your supervisor, program director or graduate officer – are often best prepared to understand your unique circumstances in relation to your academic programming, if you are uncomfortable with discussing your situation with them, you may choose to contact your Associate Dean or GSPA.


Mental & emotional wellness

A number of resources on campus support the mental and emotional wellness of students, including those students in graduate studies (e.g., counselling, workshops, spaces).

Social wellness

Connect with others while you are at UW for your graduate training. There are a number of resources that facilitate the creation of inclusive graduate student communities.

Physical wellness

Campus resources are available to support you in maintaining/enhancing your physical health & wellness, such as medical clinics & information related to exercise & nutrition.

 

Additional wellness resources

There are important resources that span across different types of wellness, including those related to graduate student representation, accommodations, inclusion and financial support.

Supporting wellness

A number of opportunities and resources exist for graduate students to support wellness on campus and accrue training in supporting the well-being of others.              
 

Urgent help

There are immediate resources available if you are in crisis, feeling unsafe, or worried that you might hurt yourself or others. The Campus Wellness website contains both on-campus & after-hours contacts.

 

Mental and emotional wellness

A number of resources on campus support the mental and emotional wellness of students, including those students in graduate studies (e.g., counselling, workshops, spaces).

Resources to support mental and emotional wellness
Name of unit or service

Brief description

Counselling Services

Counselling Services is a team of professionals that provides programming and services to help you lead a healthy and balanced life. Counselling Services strives to provide a secure, supportive environment for students of all orientations and backgrounds. Services include individual appointments, seminars (including pre-recorded sessions), workshops, group therapy, and online resources.

Students in urgent need should refer to the Campus Wellness page: Get mental health and support when you need it.

Empower Me

Empower Me is a mental health and wellness service that connects students with counsellors, consultants, and life coaches. Students can access this service 24/7 by calling 1-833-628-5589 from Canada/US (see Empower Me website for contact from other locations).

Grad Students Community & Conversation Circle Hosted weekly through Counselling Services, this group offers a safe, confidential space for all graduate students to talk about the stressors in graduate school and life, emotions (including problems with anxiety and depression), and relationships. This group can be attended on a drop-in basis, attendance at each session is not required.

Campus Wellness

Campus wellness provides information on a variety of mental and emotional wellness matters relevant for graduate students, including self-care, dealing with imposter syndrome, and resilience: Mental Health topics.

Faith and spirituality

Chaplains: The UWaterloo chaplains represent eleven different faith traditions, and strives to be a dynamic presence on campus, providing support to students, faculty, staff and the community.

Multi-faith spaces: The university provides a listing of multi-faith spaces on campus that can be used by students for prayer, reflection and other faith-based activities. 

Places and spaces

There are plenty of quiet study spaces across campus as well as spaces that have natural lighting, outlets or other amenities to boost your productivity and wellbeing while working. Both the Writing and Communication Centre and the Library have listings of favourite study spaces. 

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Social wellness

Connect with others while you are at UW for your graduate training. There are a number of resources that facilitate the creation of inclusive graduate student communities.

Resources to support social wellness
Name of unit or service Brief description

Graduate Student Association

The Graduate Student Association (GSA-UW) is a student-run not-for-profit and the official representation of graduate students at UW. The GSA-UW hosts a number of social events for graduate students. 

Departmental Graduate Student Associations  

Recognized by the Graduate Student Association, Departmental GSA’s often organize and promote social events for graduate students within individual departments.

Graduate House

Operated by the Graduate Student Association, the Graduate House is a hub for graduate students and their guests in a relaxed social space. Graduate students may also reserve space for social events, and events are often hosted here by the Graduate Student Association.

Writing Communities

Social distancing and writing-from-home make it more important than ever to build structure into your day and maintain ties to social writing communities. To help you stay connected and motivated, the Writing and Communication Centre offers the following writing communities:

  • Virtual Writing Café: Weekly sessions where graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty can write together
  • #WaterlooWrites: Virtual “show up and write” communities for graduate students, facilitated and hosted by grad student volunteers

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) events

GSPA hosts programming and events that bring our graduate community together to showcase the amazing research of our graduate students and support graduate student professional skills development. Regularly offered programming includes GRADflix, GRADtalks, and the GRADventure Professional Skills Conference.

W3+ : Waterloo Womxn + Nonbinary Wednesdays

W3+ is a community of womxn and nonbinary grad students, postdocs, staff and faculty. The purpose of W3+ is to foster a social and support network among womxn and nonbinary members of the UW community. The group offers a safe space to discuss ideas, present research, and raise awareness about gender and sexuality at the university.

BIPOC Graduate Student Collective

The Graduate Student Association run BIPOC Graduate Student Collective is a new virtual space that aims to centre the academic and social experiences and needs of Black, Indigenous, People of Colour Graduate students.

Open Pianos in University Spaces 

Open Pianos in University Spaces (OPUS): First introduced in 2018 by graduate student Max Salman, OPUS has brought a total of four pianos to open spaces on campus. The purpose is to encourage a sense of community on campus and allow students with an outlet for their mental health. The pianos are on campus during the summer and early fall months and available for anyone on campus to use.

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Physical wellness

Campus resources are available to support you in maintaining/enhancing your physical health and wellness, such as medical clinics and information related to exercise and nutrition.

Resources to support physical wellness
Name of unit or service

Brief description

COVID-19 Information

Updates regarding COVID-19 are provided to the university community through the COVID-19 Information page. Information regarding health and safety, including for a COVID hotline and on-campus COVID testing centres are found on the COVID Health and Safety webpage.

Health Resources on Campus

Health Services provides a number of clinics on campus:

  • Student Medical Clinic: Offers health care visits with both male and female doctors and nurses. Both urgent walk-in care and booked appointments are available.
  • Family Health Clinic: Available to dependents (spouse/children), parents and visiting family and support people of graduate students.
  • Nutrition Services: Provides online resources for all students, and individual appointments with a referral from a Health Services physician.
  • Travel Clinic: Offers pre- and post-travel consultations to ensure a safe trip and problem-free return.

There are many other health and wellness resources on campus, including:

StudentCare (Health and Dental Plan)

Graduate students registered in full-time or part-time "regular" classified programs are automatically included in the Health and Dental Plans through the Graduate Student Association.

Athletics and Recreation

Warrior Athletics offers many ways for students to stay active, including shoe-tag classes, instructional classes, intramurals, clubs, and the Healthy Warriors at Home program.

Move your Mind

Move Your Mind aims to help students experience the physical, emotional, mental, and cognitive benefits of physical activity by helping to break down any barriers that might be in their way of participating.

Waterloo Optometry Clinics

The Clinics offer comprehensive vision care for patients aged 6 months and up. Services include eye exams, glasses and contact lens fitting and dispensing, treatment of ocular disease, vision rehabilitation, low vision services and more. Clinics are located on the Waterloo and Health Sciences (Kitchener) campuses.

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Additional wellness resources

There are important resources that span across different types of wellness, including those related to graduate student representation, accommodations, inclusion and financial support.

Additional wellness resources
Name of unit or service Brief description

Graduate Student Association

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is a student-run not-for-profit and the official representation of graduate students at UW. They provide graduate students with academic support, a social community, mental and physical health supports, legal aid, as well as advocacy and representation.

AccessAbility Services

For students how have a known or unknown disability, illness, or condition, AccessAbility Services (AAS) can help develop individualized academic accommodation plans for all components of an academic career. This includes services for those students who may need accommodations at the graduate level.

Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion

Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion has several intersecting portfolios, with each providing resources for the campus community:

Indigenous Initiatives is a central hub for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis researchers, faculty, and staff along with allies within the Waterloo campus community.

Equity Office works with students, faculty, and staff across campus to advance equity through evidence-based policies, practices and programs. This support includes assisting students from underrepresented groups navigate solutions to equity-related barriers.

Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) supports all members of the University of Waterloo campus community who have experienced, or been impacted, by sexual violence.

Conflict Management & Human Rights Office provides services for working through and managing conflict and are customized to meet the needs of the parties. These services include: group facilitation, meeting facilitation, mediation, coaching and more. During an initial meeting, staff will listen to your concerns and provide information on possible options and resources.

Funding Graduate School

There are a number of opportunities to help support graduate students in funding their graduate studies through awards and scholarships, in addition to minimum funding, where applicable.

There are also bursaries available to support students who have children or demonstrate financial need:

Campus Wellness | Wellness Topics and Information

Through their Wellness Topics and Information, Campus Wellness provides information on a variety of wellness matters relevant for graduate students, including stress management, physical health and activity, sleep tips, social and spiritual health, and more!

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Supporting wellness on campus

A number of opportunities and resources exist for graduate students to support wellness on campus and accrue training in supporting the well-being of others. 

Opportunities to support wellness on campus
Name of unit or service

Brief description

Mental health training opportunities

Counselling Services offers a broad range of suicide intervention and mental health training programs open to faculty, staff and students. The goals of the training is to raise campus mental health awareness, reduce mental health stigma, and support early intervention for those in need within our Waterloo campus community.

HREI education and training

Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (HREI) supports, educates, and brings members of the UW campus community together to facilitate understanding, address discrimination and harm, influence, and advance systemic changes toward making UW and equitable and safe(r) place where everyone can thrive. HREI training and workshops aim to create space and opportunity for conversation, learning and exchange.

Wellness Collaborative

The Wellness Collaborative is committed to continual improvement upon health and wellness at UW. The Wellness Collaborative wants to ensure that everyone in the university community understands and feels welcome to engage with their initiative. There are several ways for graduate students to get involved in the Wellness Collaborative.   

Move your mind

Student volunteers are needed to accompany these referred students to their on-campus recreation activity. Activities can include Intramurals, Shoe Tag classes, Instructional classes, Strength and Conditioning, open recreation, and clubs. Volunteers will help a peer: feel comfortable trying a new activity, be motivated to continue, and help them reach their goals.

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