Exchange students

We are delighted that you have chosen to study at the University of Waterloo on exchange and look forward to hosting you.

As an Exchange student, you will experience Canada’s diversity as well as the outstanding academic programs offered by the University of Waterloo. As one of Canada’s leading universities, you will learn from the country’s top scholars, and meet its best students!

Am I eligible?

You must be enrolled at one of our Exchange Partner institutions (Waterloo International website) in order to come to Waterloo as an exchange student. Your home university will determine your eligibility for an exchange program, so contact the office at your university that is responsible for student exchanges first. They will let you know about their eligibility requirements, as well as their application procedures. Please contact your International Office for information on the application process and selection requirements.

If your university does not appear on the list of Exchange Partner institutions (Waterloo International website), you may wish to consider applying to the University of Waterloo as a Non-degree student, as an International Visiting Graduate Student, or a full degree student.

*Please note that Non-degree exchange students and Non-degree students are not eligible to apply and enrol in some graduate/professional programs/courses.  For example, the following programs are restricted:  Accounting, Clinical Psychology, Social Work and Master of Engineering courses.

For other programs, in particular, programs that charge higher tuition fees, please contact the department Graduate Co-ordinator prior to applying.

What are the application steps?

Admission requirements

Ensure you meet Waterloo's English Language Requirements (Graduate Studies Academic Calendar).

Apply online

  • Once your university has formally nominated you for exchange, you will need to complete the Waterloo graduate application by the appropriate program deadline (Discover Graduate Studies website).
  • Once you have completed the online application, a letter from your university confirming that you have been nominated for this exchange will be required. (Applications received without a nomination letter from the partner university will not be considered.)
  • On the online application, under Select Programs, choose the department, choose Non-degree and select the exchange agreement to have the fee waived.
  • Exchange students from the Universities of Mannheim and Bamberg must choose German, Master of Arts, then select the exchange agreement.

*Please note that Non-degree and Exchange students are not eligible to apply and enrol in some graduate/professional programs/courses.  For example, the following programs are restricted:  Accounting, Clinical Psychology, Social Work and Master of Engineering courses.

For other programs, in particular, programs that charge higher tuition fees, please contact the department Graduate Co-ordinator prior to applying.

Upload your documents

We will email you within a few days of submitting your online application with instructions on how to upload your documents, in Quest, our student information system.

Nomination Letter

Email a PDF copy of the nomination letter from your home university to Study Abroad.

Letter of Acceptance

The decision on your application may take several weeks to months after the department application deadline. Once your complete application has been reviewed by the department of choice and if admissible, an offer of admission and a Letter of Acceptance from Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs will be uploaded to your Quest account.

Do I need a study permit?

A Study Permit is the document issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (Government of Canada website) that gives you permission to study in Canada.
You do not need a Study Permit if you are planning to take a course or program in Canada with a duration of six months or less. You must complete the course or program within the period authorized for your stay in Canada. However, there are benefits to having a Study Permit, even if you do not require one. If you have a valid Study Permit, you can: work part-time on campus at the college or university at which you are registered as a full-time student; and apply to renew your Study Permit from within Canada, if you decide to continue studying in Canada.

Where will I live?

Please refer to the exchange student housing website for information on accommodations. Apply early!

Will I have access to health insurance?

The University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) (Finance website) was created to provide affordable insurance to pay the cost of the hospital and medical services that students and their families might need to maintain their health while in Canada.

You will be not be assessed tuition fees, but you will be required to make fee arrangements to pay for incidental fees including UHIP and the Supplementary Student Health Insurance Plan (Finance website) (covers most prescription drugs).

The Finance Office will post your fees on your Quest (Quest website) account approximately one month prior to the beginning of term.