University of Waterloo HeForShe IMPACT Scholarship


As part of our commitment to the HeForShe IMPACT initiative, the University of Waterloo will provide six scholarships, valued at up to $12,000 each over four years, to outstanding female students admitted to Year One of an undergraduate science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree program in which females are currently underrepresented.  Recipients will receive $1,500 per academic term for up to eight terms.  Continuance of the scholarship beyond Year One is dependent on the student maintaining an 80% overall average and continued enrolment in an eligible STEM program. Selection will be based on academic achievement combined with any other Faculty-specific entrance scholarship criteria. All female applicants to the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Mathematics and eligible programs in the Faculty of Science are considered and a separate application form is not required. 

The involvement of young girls in STEM is critical to building a pipeline of women to pursue degrees and careers in the area, including academia. That is, the efforts we put into recruiting young girls into STEM directly impacts the numbers of female undergraduates who pursue STEM degrees, which then influences the numbers of women who pursue STEM graduate degrees. Increasing the numbers of women with graduate degrees in STEM ensures there are more females to hire into faculty (tenure-track) positions and longer term, senior academic positions. In short, targeted efforts to recruit young girls into STEM has a long-term ripple effect on the numbers of women in undergraduate, graduate, faculty, and senior university positions. To ensure future greater gender parity in STEM experiences and careers, the University of Waterloo will play a leadership role in this space, taking responsibility for issues around diversity in STEM. As one part of this process, we are creating six STEM focused scholarships to recruit and retain more females into STEM disciplines.

Number & Value of Scholarships

Six renewable scholarships valued at up to $12,000 each (paid over four years) to be offered annually for four years (2015-2018) for a total of 24 scholarships ($288,000 commitment). Renewal payments will continue until 2022/23 for last set of scholarship winners.

Allocation of Scholarships

The six annual scholarships will be divided as follows:

  • 2 for the Faculty of Engineering
  • 2 for the Faculty of Mathematics
  • 2 for eligible programs in the Faculty of Science

Eligibility & Selection

  • The scholarships will be offered to outstanding female students entering first year of a STEM program at the University of Waterloo in which females are underrepresented, i.e., where female enrolment is significantly less than males, relative to overall enrolment by females at university in general. Currently, these include (based on current Student Data reports provided by IAP and input from Faculty Deans):
    • Engineering – limited to the most underrepresented plans (lower than 25% female enrolment): Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, Mechatronics, and Software.
    • Mathematics – all programs/plans qualify, but selection will likely be focused on the most underrepresented programs (Computer Science in 2015).
    • Science – Aviation, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Materials & Nanoscience, Mathematical Physics, and Physics/Astronomy programs. Note: not all of these programs are known at the point of Admissions. SAFA will use the student’s self-reported “subject of major interest” information from the OUAC application to help determine eligible candidates.
  • Candidates must have a minimum admission average of 80% and must meet any other standard entrance scholarship criteria as set out by each Faculty. Currently, additional Faculty criteria includes:
    • Engineering: extracurricular and leadership involvement assessed through the Admission Information Form
    • Mathematics: extracurricular and leadership involvement assessed through the Admission Information Form plus results of the Euclid Math Contest
    • Science: extracurricular and leadership involvement assessed through the Admission Information Form
  • The recipients will be selected each May by Faculty admission/scholarship representatives in consultation with SAFA.
  • SAFA will provide candidate reports to assist in the selection process, where required.
  • Recipients will remain eligible for any automatic University scholarships (e.g. President’s Scholarship).

Award Payments

  • Recipients will receive instalments of $1,500 per full-time academic term for up to eight terms (1A-4B) for a total of $12,000.
  • Payments after Year One are contingent upon achieving a minimum overall average of 80% after each term, and continued full-time enrolment in an eligible STEM program.
  • Award payments will be disbursed through the Quest student account. 
Project members: 
Program Lead
Manager Undergraduate Awards
Project time line: 
September, 2015 to September, 2020
Last updated: November 15, 2019