Woman throwing confetti in the air

Welcome to the community! University of Waterloo is located within walking distance of UpTown Waterloo. This safe, student-focused city is known for its innovation and forward thinking.

Before you get started, take a moment to read this welcome message from our Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

We have put together a list to help you navigate important information and tasks that will help you to prepare for your graduate studies after you’ve accepted your offer, once you’ve been matriculated (made active in your program), and when you arrive.  See selected highlights as well as full list below:

After you've accepted your offer

Things to consider after you've accepted your offer



    Find a place to live

    Apply to Waterloo Residences 

    Or, explore off-campus housing options

    • Off-Campus Housing (Off-Campus Housing website) is a free resource open to all University of Waterloo students
    • Find a place to live through their listing service or learn more about tenant rights, subletting and other off-campus issues

    Explore the Region of Waterloo                                              

    The Region of Waterloo is a mid-sized community offering the amenities of a large urban centre, while maintaining the charm and character of a smaller rural community. Explore all three cities in the Region:

    • Waterloo is a safe and vibrant city with a population of 125,000. For more information, visit the City of Waterloo website.
    • Kitchener is the Region’s largest city and is home to many start-ups and small businesses driving a culture of innovation. Visit the City of Kitchener website to learn more.
    • Cambridge has a rich cultural history and offers a live theatre, museums and Canada’s longest continually operating farmers’ market. Lear more the City of Cambridge website.
    Explore transportation and parking options

    Public transit:

    • As part of the Graduate Student Association services, all full-time graduate students taking on-campus courses in the Region of Waterloo receive a Grand River Transit (GRT) Universal bus pass. Visit the GRT website for routes and schedules.

    Active transportation:

    • University of Waterloo’s South Campus is located along the Laurel Trail, and is in a great location for many cycling and walking routes. The Bike Centre on campus also offers a “do-it-yourself” bike repair shop.


    • If you have a vehicle and are planning to drive to campus, you may wish to purchase a parking permit. Visit the Parking Services website for more information about purchasing a parking pass.

    Learn about studying in Canada and applying for a study permit (for international students)

    Explore the University of Waterloo resources for international students, including:

    Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs will contact you by email if you are required to submit a Study Permit.

    Register for Graduate Orientation

    Don't miss the opportunity to familiarize yourself with campus and meet new people! If you have not already done so, register for Graduate Orientation (Student Success Office website).

    Download the Portal App

    The UW Portal App is your one stop tool for campus related personalized information, including course and exam schedules, bus schedules, food locations and hours, crowd reporting, news, events, etc.  Download the app today!

    Keep up to date with GSPA

    There are many ways to stay connected with GSPA, including:

    Review the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar Familiarize yourself with general information and regulations for graduate students and your program requirements in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar.
    Review resources and services for students There are many services and resources on campus to support graduate students. Familiarize yourself with common services and resources before you arrive.

    After you're "matriculated" (made active in your program)

    Things to consider once you’re “matriculated” (made active in your program)



      Enrol for courses Enrol for courses through Quest during the class enrolment period. To find out when the course enrolment period begins, visit the Important Dates calendar.

      Pay your tuition and fees

      The Finance Office will post your tuition fees on Quest approximately one month prior to the beginning of your admit term (if you have been matriculated).

      • On Quest, go to 'Finances' to view your tuition account and your financial aid, scholarships, and awards. For the graduate tuition fee schedule, fee arrangements, payment options, and due dates see Student Financial Services.
      For more information, review the study and living costs on the Discover Graduate Studies website.
      Set-up your UWaterloo email address

      An email address and account are provided to all students for the receipt of official communications and your participation in an academic program at UWaterloo. You may set-up your email address once you have become matriculated. 

      If you were previously a UWaterloo undergraduate, you will need to activate your Connect account and forward emails from Office 365. For more information, visit Information Systems & Technology’s website.
      Add or update your emergency contact information It is important to keep your emergency contact information up to date. View and update your personal information, including your emergency contacts, in Quest.
      Register with AccessAbility

      Whether you have a known or unknown disability, illness, or condition, AccessAbility can help you develop your individualized academic accommodation plan for all components of your academic career.

      You can apply for academic accommodations (AccessAbiltiy Services website) once you have received your offer of admission, and you're a registered student with the University.
      Upload a photo for your WatCard (student card) If you want to save yourself the worry of taking a good photo during the excitement of orientation, you can upload your photo beforehand so you get the photo you want on your WatCard. Learn more about photo uploads on the WatCard website.

      When you arrive

      Things to consider when you arrive



      Explore campus Welcome to campus! If you’ve arrived before classes begin, consider taking some time to explore campus before the term begins.
      Check in with your department/supervisor Check-in with your program/department/school to let them know that you've arrived.  If you are in a research program, check in with your supervisor as well.

      Pick up your WatCard

      WatCard is your one card to access many facilities and services both on and off campus, including computer labs, libraries, food, photocopying, fitness facilities, and the Grand River Transit (GRT) system.

      • Visit the WatCard Office (located in Campus Tech, Student Life Centre, Lower Level) at the beginning of your academic term to pick up your student identification card.
      • You will need to show a valid piece of photo ID (i.e: Driver’s License, Passport, Canadian Citizenship Card, or another government issued document with your picture and name).

      Complete the Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Grad AIM)

      The Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Grad AIM) is an online course that all new graduate students are required to take through Waterloo LEARN. Students must read the information about academic integrity and then receive a mark of at least 75% on an online quiz. The quiz must be successfully completed within the first 8 weeks of the term.

      Update your address in Quest If you have moved to the Waterloo Region, remember to updated your address and contact information in Quest.