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Future students reference guide

We know that researching and applying to graduate studies can seem overwhelming. Every institution presents information differently, uses different terminology, and employs a different process for contacting staff and faculty and applying to a graduate program.

We have a wealth of information and resources available to you and want to help you find everything you need. Below is a quick reference guide, with an overview of the graduate studies organizational structure, websites and online support, and the best ways to get in touch!

What is GSPA

The University of Waterloo has six faculties (Arts, Engineering, Environment, Health, Math, Science), which are in turn made up of departments and schools. We also have several affiliated institutions and satellite campuses, some of which are home to graduate programs. Our graduate programs are offered by the department, school, or affiliated institution; you apply to the program of your choice and an admission decision is made by the appropriate academic unit.

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) is a campus support unit responsible for assisting students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty and staff who are engaged in graduate work at the University. We work with faculties, departments, and schools to administer graduate programs, which includes admission and enrolment, academic policy and procedures, awards and funding, records, communication, and student experience.

GSPA manages the application system and the distribution of offers; you may receive emails from our office confirming receipt of your application, informing you of an admission decision, and detailing next steps, prior to the start of term.

Exploring our website

During your research on graduate studies, you will likely visit a few different websites. You will find relevant information on faculty, department/school/affiliated institution, and academic support unit websites.


The GSPA website includes information applicable to all prospective or current graduate students. This may include topics such as applying to graduate studies, awards and funding, graduate research competitions and professional development opportunities.

GSPA also has a full list of graduate programs, which allows you to search for programs or view “at a glance” information for programs of interest.

The Graduate Studies Academic Calendar (GSAC) is a website maintained by GSPA that provides additional details on graduate programs, as well as graduate policies and procedures. The GSAC serves as the main contractual document between a student and the University.

Other campus support units

Other campus support units of interest may include Housing, Finance (Student Financial Services), Student Success Office (International student resources). For a comprehensive list of all support units and services, please visit our Campus resources and services webpage.


Faculty websites include information applicable to all prospective or current graduate students within the faculty. This may include information on awards and funding, student experience or professional development opportunities, and graduate student profiles.

Departments, schools, and affiliated institutions

Department, school, and affiliated institution websites include information applicable to prospective or current graduate students of a particular academic unit. This may include information on graduate programs, awards and funding, admission, courses, policies and procedures, student life, and student experience or professional development opportunities. You will also find information on faculty members and their areas of research.

Our people

We work with our graduate colleagues across the University to support our prospective and current graduate students.

If you have questions for a member of GSPA, we encourage you to use our contact us form.

If you have questions that are specific to your academic unit or program, we suggest contacting your Graduate Co-ordinator or Graduate Officer.

The Graduate Co-ordinator is the lead staff member for graduate studies and usually the first point of contact for prospective or current graduate students.

The Graduate Officer/Associate Chair, Graduate Studies is a faculty member who has been appointed as the administrative lead for all issues related to graduate studies in their Department/School.