Admitted exchange student resources

Congratulations on your admission to the University of Waterloo's international exchange program. To help you prepare for your time at Waterloo, here are a few steps you can take now to start getting ready! 

Apply for your immigration documents 

As of October 20, 2020, the Government of Canada updated the travel restriction requirements so that international students, including exchange students, can only enter Canada if they meet the below two requirements:

  1. You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit.
  2. You must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory. 

valid study permit is required during COVID-19 travel restrictions to study for any length of time in Canada. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you'll also need either a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada depending on your country of citizenship.

As an exchange student, you can work on campus (no limitations on hours per week) or up to 20 hours per week off campus if you have a post-secondary study permit with work eligibility stated on it and you’re registered in a full-time course load. If you're going to study at Waterloo for only one term, you still need to apply for a study permit. In your study permit application, it's important that you include a letter of explanation to clarify why you are applying for a study permit for one term of study. If you receive approval for a study permit, and wish to work on and/or off campus during your studies, we strongly encourage you to verify that the study permit states eligibility to work on and off campus when it is issued to you at the airport.

Please review the travel FAQs on Waterloo's COVID-19 Information website to ensure you're eligible to enter Canada based on the most up-to-date travel restrictions and check out the immigration documents webpage for additional resources. Contact one of University of Waterloo's immigration consultants for free if you have questions.

Arrange housing

Now that you’ve been admitted, you can start making arrangements for housing during your exchange term if you're travelling to Canada. You can choose to live on or off campus.

  • Off campus: There are lots of options available through the Off-Campus Housing listing service and through the Waterloo Co-operative Residence Inc. (WCRI), which is conveniently located just across the street from campus. 
  • On campus: If you choose to live in Campus Housing, you'll be minutes away from class. It's also a great way to meet new people and it's all-inclusive so your furniture, utilities, high-speed internet and a weekly grocery shuttle will be provided. To be notified when the applications open, add your name to the winter 2022 interest list. Please note that space is extremely limited and exchange students are placed on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  • Architecture students: The School of Architecture is located in the city of Cambridge, about 30 minutes away from the Waterloo main campus. Exchange students studying there are advised to search for accommodation in Cambridge using the Off-Campus Housing listing service. The commute by public transportation would not be feasible to/from the Waterloo campus. 

Set up your email

Set up and regularly check your email. All official communication, including news and updates, course selection, fee deadline reminders, and messages from Campus Housing, your faculty and professors, will be sent to this account.

Review your courses

The following information explains Waterloo's course registration process and how you can request changes to your class schedule.

Course registration

Registration (Drop/Add Period) for undergraduates for the winter 2022 term is November 18. Graduate students may be required to meet earlier/later deadlines and should check with the Departmental Graduate Coordinator. 

Waterloo advisors believe you have the pre-requisite knowledge to take the courses that you have been approved for; this does not mean you are/will be enroled in those courses. Our Registrar’s Office will attempt to add the approved courses to your schedule once the Drop/Add Period begins. Please view your class schedule on Quest after November 18 to confirm which courses have been successfully added to your schedule.
You may not see all of your approved courses on your schedule. This can happen because of:

  • scheduling conflicts (schedule of classes updated with times, rooms, and instructors will be available on November 4)
  • you may have selected too many courses
  • the class may be at capacity, not offered this term, or restricted to exchange students

Course changes

To request course changes and/or to add new courses after this date, please follow these 3 steps:

  1. Review the Schedule of Classes for undergraduate students or graduate students.
    • Look for courses offered during the winter 2022 term (code 1221).
    • Ensure there are no scheduling/timetable conflicts with existing course enrolments and that the course is not already full.
    • Some courses may include supplementary tutorials (TUT) or labs (LAB) in addition to the lectures (LEC). When reviewing the Schedule of Classes and evaluating time conflicts, please consider these items as well.
  2. Check the undergraduate course restrictions list.
  3. As an exchange student, you're not able to self-enrol in courses, even though the “course add/drop” option will appear on your Quest account. To request course changes, you'll need to contact the appropriate representative for the Faculty/School you have been admitted in to.
Faculty/School Name Email
Faculty of Health Julie-Anne Desrochers
Faculty of Arts Arts Exchange Office
Faculty of Engineering Engineering Exchange Office
School of Architecture Architecture Exchange Liaison
Faculty of Environment Jaime Fohkens
Faculty of Mathematics Sara O'Donnell
Faculty of Science Zhi (Janessa) Zheng
Graduate students Departmental Graduate 

You should stay in contact with advisors at your home university throughout this process to ensure that the courses you're adding/dropping will meet the academic requirements for your program of study and you’ll get the transfer credits you want.

Pay your incidental fees

While tuition fees for the majority of exchange programs are paid to your home university, you'll be assessed incidental fees per term at Waterloo for health insurance and student services. Some of the fees are compulsory, some are voluntary, and others are optional. Applicable fees will be posted on Quest approximately one month prior to the beginning of your term. All fees are approximate in Canadian funds and are subject to change. Check the important dates calendar for the Tuition and Fees Due Date: December 14, 2021. You can choose to opt out of the optional fees charged to your student account until the due date for the term. If you do not meet the deadline, late fees will be applied. 

Attend Orientation

Exchange Orientation is an opportunity for new students to experience a balanced introduction to the academic, social, and community aspects of life at Waterloo with the guidance and support of upper-year students. Program details and dates will be sent to you closer to the start of the term.

Note important dates

For the full list of important dates, please see Quest.

Milestone Fall 2021 Dates Winter 2022 Dates
Orientation program First week of September First week of January
Classes begin September 8, 2021 January 5, 2022
Holidays Reading Week - October 9-17, 2021 Reading Week - February 21-25, 2022; Good Friday - April 15, 2022
Classes end December 7, 2021 April 5, 2022
Examination period December 9-23, 2021 April 8 - 26, 2022
Official transcript Transcripts will be issued to your home university by the end of February 2022 Transcripts will be issued to your home university by the end of June 2022

Contact us

Contact your Global Learning Coordinator, Tara Dosman, with any questions you have leading up to your exchange term.