Graduate student wellness

There are many units and services on campus that support student wellness. Below you will find a listing of some of the more commonly used offices and services for graduate students within the following themes: 

*Several resources are specific to graduate students.

**Many campus partners offer graduate student specific resources, in addition to general services

Mental and emotional wellness

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

Brief description

Conflict Management & Human Rights Office

Various services are available 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.

Counselling Services

Counselling Services is a team of professionals that provides programming and services to help you lead a healthy and balanced life. We strive to provide a secure, supportive environment for students of all orientations and backgrounds. Services include, individual appointments, seminars, workshops, group therapy, and online resources.

Faith and spirituality

Chaplains: The UWaterloo chaplains represent eleven different faith traditions, and we strive 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. 

Getting connected – Graduate student communities*

Departmental Graduate Student Associations (GSA’s): Recognized by the Graduate Student Association, Departmental GSA’s often organize and promote social events for graduate students within the department.

Grad Writing Café: Offered by the Writing and Communication Centre on Tuesday and Friday mornings, these loosely-structured sessions are designed to help grad students connect to a larger writing community, stay focused, and to keep making writing progress.

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.

Graduate Student Association: The Graduate Student Association administers several services for graduate students, including social events.

#WaterlooWrites: #WaterlooWrites offer "show up and write" spaces for graduate students facilitated and hosted by graduate students. These groups provide spaces to write with peers, discuss the challenges and successes of writing about your research, and learn new writing tips each week.

Graduate Student Medical Leave Award*

Research-based master’s and doctoral students who must go inactive for medical reasons (e.g., physical or mental health) may be eligible to receive a Graduate Student Medical Leave Award, valued at a maximum of $5,000.

Grad Students Community & Conversation Circle*

Hosted weekly, this group offers a safe, confidential space in which 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.

MATES (Mentor Assistance Through Education and Support)

MATES (Mentor Assistance Through Education and Support) is a one-to-one student peer support program offered by the Federation of Students in consultation with Campus Wellness. MATES provides support to both graduate and undergraduate students who are hoping to build social skills, or are experiencing personal or academic concerns or low-level mental health and wellness difficulties.

Open Pianos in University Spaces

First introduced in 2018 by graduate student Max Salman, Open Pianos in University Spaces (OPUS) has brought a total of four pianos to open spaces on campus. The pianos are on campus during the summer and early fall months and available for anyone on campus to use. For summer 2019 the pianos are located in the following spaces: 

  1. architectural engineering Maker Space in Carl A. Pollock Hall (indoor),
  2. south commons near the Dana Porter library (outdoor),
  3. underneath the bridge between the Mathematics and Computer and Davis Centre buildings (outdoor), and
  4. the engineering quad near Carl A. Pollock Hall (outdoor).
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. 

Physical health and wellness

Resources to support physical health and wellness
Name of unit or service

Brief description

Athletics and Recreation

Warrior Athletics offers many ways for students to stay active, including shoe-tag classes, instructional classes, intramurals and clubs.

Graduate Student Medical Leave Award*

Research-based master’s and doctoral students who must go inactive for medical reasons (e.g., physical or mental health) may be eligible to receive a Graduate Student Medical Leave Award, valued at a maximum of $5,000.

Health care resources on campus

There are many health and wellness resources on campus for added convenience, including:

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.

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.

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.

Opportunities to support wellness on campus

Opportunities to support wellness on campus
Name of unit or service

Brief description

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 him/her reach their goals.

MATES (Mentor Assistance Through Education and Support)

MATES volunteers go through an intensive selection process and receive extensive training in mentorship by Clinical Psychologists from UW Counselling Services. Volunteers are trained in academic issues, social and relationship difficulties, coping skill development, transitional challenges to university life, and challenges in adapting to culture.

*Grad students are welcome to seek out volunteer opportunities within MATES as long as they pay the Feds social membership fee to become a member.

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.